Flash Fiction / Short Story – “Sweet Merciful Release”

Hello, good day to you and what can I tell you?

What’s that? You would like a story?

A quirky, humorous number that I hope will make you chortle, guffaw, snigger and wet yourself in equal proportion….well maybe not the last one, unless by wet yourself you mean you spilt a beverage over yourself in spluttering glee and not….never mind!

The prompt for this one was “Four in the Morning” and I have included the comments made on submission – this little baby got me in the top ten again, I’m up on the rise once more, I can feel it in my toes! (not the little one though, that has cramp)

Feel free to add your own comments/feedback and shower me in adulation or shoot me down in sarcataclysmic endeavour, whatever your prerogative/predilection is – all that I ask is that if you are going to take the latter route, I guess you are keen to meet a grisly end in one of my stories – hey whatever floats your boat pal!

And now onto the story.


Sweet Merciful Release (by David Ellis)

Clint had tried everything.

“How do you turn this damn thing off?”

He had tried counting sheep.

Drinking copious amounts of alcohol (that just gave him a searing headache).

Washing the dishes (he’d had to make them dirty again several times, as he only ever had a few items to wash up in the sparse flat that he dared to call his ‘abode’).

Counting the ceiling tiles (1217).

Listening to music – he had tried pop, jazz, funk, soul, classical, easy listening, Egyptian Death Metal – none of them helped send him on his journey with Mr Sandman into the land of nod.

Reading – this was the worst of all, he kept getting too far into the plot and wanting to read more. Why was the dragon hoarding all of the gold? How many dusky maidens were going to be sacrificed before the hero did anything? Why is there a bard skipping around the town in purple pajamas infecting everyone with his insidious song? “Argh! – This stupid novel is making my brain somersault into overdrive!” Clint lamented sorrowfully.

Writing – he’d managed his shopping list and the lyrics to some half formed song in his head but that kept getting broadsided by someone with a very big shouty voice thundering “Insomniomniomnia!”

He tried reading the dictionary and that didn’t make him tired, just deeply bored, frustrated and with an urgent need to smash something to smithereens.

Scented candles didn’t work either.

He’d tried buying one of those massive joss stick things that smelt like perfumed bacon to see if that would dull his twitching senses but this too had been ineffectual and given him sinus trouble.

He’d tried acupuncture, aromatherapy, homeopathy, psychotherapy, electric shock treatment, hypnotherapy and even staring at the wall in the past but he might as well be hitting the Eiffel tower with a teaspoon.

And yet every day at four in the morning, his head would sink into the pillow and his brain would temporarily switch off from the creative stimuli driving him on its juggernautesque journey every bleeding night for the past thirteen years.

“This is the price that you pay for creativity but I pay it gladly” He thought.

And with that, at exactly the stroke of midnight, he started his 52nd opera with a dutiful exuberance.

Comments on submission:- “Sweet Merciful Release -‘..he might as well be hitting the Eiffel tower with a teaspoon.’ Quirky, with a great sense of humour. Clint embraces his insomnia. Highly enjoyable. Top 10.”


9 thoughts on “Flash Fiction / Short Story – “Sweet Merciful Release”

    • Thank you Uzoma – kind of you to say so and very much appreciated, I did try to make it humorous – nice of you to take the time to read it and comment about it.

      Have a great day.


  1. Not sure I’m feeling this bit of flash. I’m somewhat confused. Is he sleeping or not? Sounds like he sleeps but very late. Nicely worded, but not to my taste. Sorry mate…

    Date: Mon, 12 Nov 2012 11:42:42 +0000 To: kmxopj2@live.co.uk

    • Kevin! You made it to the party! And for your crimes of treason against this blog, you’re going down!

      I played with a few ideas within the context of the theme on this one son.

      It is exploring the idea of someone who gets insomnia and tries various methods to rid himself of it.

      We then find out in the reveal at the end that the cause of his insomnia turns out to be his creativity, which he has to reluctantly embrace to allow him to continue to create.

      It is an allegory to how powerful creativity can be and that people who embrace it can suffer at its hands in their endeavour to create their art.

      If this is not to your taste my boy then you should try some of the other story flavours – you are bound to find one that you will like (more than one I sincerely hope!)

      Have a good one and chat to you soon.


  2. Insomnia has never been, for me, a prized affectation. It comes and goes like a lunar eclipse, and I am satisfied that the occasional alignment of anxiety and bad television does not occur with more frequency.

    • Thank you for reading my story and for commenting on my blog.

      I suffer from insomnia quite alot, which inspired me to write the story – I am glad that you do not suffer from it all the time!

      Mostly my problem is that if I know something exciting is coming up the next day then I find it difficult to sleep and since I started writing stories, along with interacting with people on my Blog, Twitter and my Writer’s Circle, life has become very exciting indeed!

      Your photography is candy for my eyes, there are a lot of beautiful images to savour and enjoy there, plus the combination with the Short Stories too is truly breathtaking.

      The name of your blog is inspiring and fun too – thank you for making it a part of my life, I look forward to enjoying your future posts.


  3. You have a great sense of humor….I enjoyed your “about” page and this story!
    Who has never experienced even a short bout of insomnia? We can all relate. The brain just doesn’t quit, making it harder to attain that blissful coma-like state.
    Creativity has come to those who lay awake, their brains whirling. I love the story. I’d love to see it extended!
    Thanks for the follow! I love your blog!

    • Wow – what a nice comment!

      Thank you Judy so much for stopping by my blog and your kind words too.

      I’m glad you like the humour of the story, I cannot help but to put it into everything I do, it’s infectious!

      I like the idea about extending the story, it is something that I will be considering for all of my stores in the future if the idea is strong enough/inspires me enough.

      I am in awe of your blog, not only is your photography achingly pretty but you also have recipes – my mouth is already watering at the thought of trying them out!

      Look forward to enjoying more of your content, have a great day.


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