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dVerse — prosery — Chuang Tzu’s Butterfly Nightmare

Sleep paralysis
Still from “Devil in the Room,” by Carla MacKinnon

“Argh…. unh….”

He groans as the corkscrews are twisted, their points aiming for his liver and kidneys. In a nightmare, it is the awareness of what is happening rather than the act itself that brings agony.

Paralyzed, nonetheless Mo is able to wake up – to pitch black. Was there a power outage?

Bathed in sweat, Mo feels for the bedside flashlight and places his hand on a cold slimy tongue.

His shadow says, “Dinner isn’t served just yet.”

Mo rolls away from the raspy voice and finds he’s not on his bed as he falls and clunks hard on what feels like wet, smooth stone. He begins to crawl away to his shadow’s laughter.

“Fear tenderizes the meat!”

He will die – or worse – here.


F*ck that, he decides. Bright light floods down.

His shadow shouts on a nightmare scream.

[144 words]

Bjorn Rudberg is today’s host of dVerse.  Bjorn says:
Your piece of prose can be fiction or autobiographic, but you are only allowed to use 144 words (which means that you need to add maximum137 words that are your own, using the following line from Ms. Maya Angelou’s poem, “Caged Bird:”

his shadow shouts on a nightmare scream

36 thoughts on “dVerse — prosery — Chuang Tzu’s Butterfly Nightmare

  1. A nightmarish story, Lisa, and so enjoyable! The corkscrew action was a terrifying opening, and the cold slimy tongue was a shock. The prompt line works well as the ending too.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Mo’s revenge of light, casting those nightmarish shadows aside. Not only was Mo to be eaten, but driven to intensive fear to tenderize his flesh, the nightmare had it all its own way. Great imagination as always, JadeLi.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I adore where we all went with this prompt, all Poe and Lovecraft time. Your nightmare scenario, creating a cannibalistic shadow monster, is very intriguing. But Mo awakes to light and shortness of breath–hurrah.

    Liked by 1 person

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