WEP Deja Vu or VoodooDeja Vu or Voodoo? is the prompt for this month’s WEP/IWSG flash fiction competition. It does seem to be a competition, not just an exercise in sharing our writing.  Well, WEP does stand for Write…Edit…Publish, so I suppose it makes sense.  It’s nice to be involved in a flash fiction meme with plenty of activity in it, anyway.

I confess I finally got the idea for today’s Deja Vu story after I’d written this month’s Fi50 (fiction in fifty words) which comes out next week.  If you write, and want to try your hand at the fifty-word version, nip over to the Ninja Librarian and pick up the prompts for the rest of the year. It’s fun, challenge, and quite quick!

This month’s story is just under 900 words.

Deja Vu

My pulse was racing, my mouth was dry. I screamed with the delicious agony of it all. I was…

… in my bed, the alarm sounding softly. 

I wiped my arm across my face. The sleeve came away soaked. Again. Third time this week. 

But it felt so real.

It took several minutes to compose myself to face the day. I had, after all, ended up in some dark bedchamber in an old house, struggling with the curtains surrounding the four-poster bed, trying to stab the evil monster within before she woke and cast a spell on me.

Same ending. Different start? 

I frowned. 

I vaguely remembered a fairground, and an adventure with some girl, but I had no idea how it had developed into the bedroom in the castle. Or old house. It was stone-built and turreted, so it could be a castle. Did that matter?

I swung myself out of bed and got ready to face the day.


“You’re looking tired,” one of the other women said to me as we both took a pause at the checkout.

“Lack of sleep,” I replied, and smiled at the next customer placing their shopping on the belt. Why didn’t they use the self-checkout?

“I remember when I used to do your job,” she said, smiling back at me. 

Yeah, like you ever did my job.

“Easier when it was busy, really, the time passes more quickly.”  A conversationalist. I prefer the silent ones.

Maybe she had done my job, once upon a time. Not for long, I bet. I nodded and smiled like the automaton I was becoming, and waited while she tapped in her pin. Maybe she’ll graduate to contactless soon.

Another slow patch.

“So, are you having those dreams again?” my neighbour asked.

“Yeah. Much the same. I’m tossing and turning, though. Given up on the screaming.”

“I don’t like to ask, but, are you on any tablets that might have started it? I got really bad dreams when I had something to help my teeth. That was before I got the gumshield I wear at night.”

I shot her a puzzled look. If she’d told me this before I hadn’t heard her.

“Grinding my teeth,” she explained.

“Ah, yes.” No, she hadn’t told me. Why would I want to know that?

“Have you ever dreamed of finding a dead body?” I asked in the next pause.

“I don’t think so. Is that yours?”

“Yeah. Too much CSI, maybe.”

“Or Cold Case?”

“That too,” I agreed.


I called in on my mum on the way home. It was Thursday, and that’s what I did Thursday. If I didn’t, there would be calls, tears, sobs, ‘you don’t love me’s and all the rest. It was easier to just drop in.

Then I had to make an excuse not to stay to dinner.

“I’m starting an evening class next week. I’ll drop in, but I’ll have to leave in time to get there.” That would be good for at least one term, if not the whole year. Better check the dates if I wanted to keep that up.

“But Thursday’s our evening!” she complained.

“It’s the second level course. Only on Thursday. Did the first one a couple of years ago, on Mondays. I have to fit it around the work shifts as well, Mum, don’t forget.”

“They treat you so badly there. You should get a better job. Or a man to keep you in splendour, like I did.”

“Yeah, right. I don’t think they exist any more Mum.” You killed the last one off, you old hag. My dad was a saint to put up with you.

I made a note on my phone that I had a course Thursday nights, just to make sure I kept my lies straight.


I contemplated the bed before I got into it. Was there something about my bed that gave me these dreams? It bore no resemblance to a four-poster. Mum’s didn’t either.

I sighed, got in, and put out the light.

It was a séance. No, it was a witch doctor. I had a doll and we were sticking pins in it.

I was climbing the steps leading up to the bedroom. Heart pumping, mouth dry, as always. She was screaming, ‘no, no,’ as always. Deja vu again. No, sometimes she was asleep. This time she was screaming, screaming. 

I woke to the sound of an ambulance siren screaming by. 5.30 am. Too late to go back to sleep, too early to get up. How long had these dreams been going on? A month? More?

Maybe I should take something to help me sleep, then I wouldn’t get them. I’ll check with pharmacy when I get in.

I went downstairs, kicking something that looked remarkably like a doll under the table in the hall as I turned the stair.

Coffee over, I had a long, unhurried shower, before sticking on my uniform and heading out of the door, only five minutes earlier than normal. Where did the time go? 


That night I took the herbal remedy the pharmacist suggested. I can recommend it highly.

I didn’t have any dreams at all. In fact I only came round when I had finished tidying the bedclothes and taken the knife out of my mother’s body.

I think I can plead temporary insanity and blame the pharmacist.

© J M Pett 2018

Make sure you go round to read the other excellent entries, listed here:


#WEP Flash Fiction | Deja Vu or Voodoo?
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43 thoughts on “#WEP Flash Fiction | Deja Vu or Voodoo?

  • 17 October, 2018 at 3:17 pm

    Whoa! That didn’t go quite where I expected 🙂 A cautionary tale for nagging moms?

  • 17 October, 2018 at 3:53 pm

    WOW! I have horrible nightmares frequently, usually the monster is after me. So if that changes… Well, I’ll be more cautious! 🙂 A much different end than expected. The mundane of life to the truly horrific. Unbeknownst to her she wanted change – she definitely got it! Great entry for the WEP Halloween Challenge!
    50 word flashes are such fun! I’ll check it out!
    Happy Halloween!

    • 17 October, 2018 at 4:20 pm

      Thanks, Yolanda. I’m pleased to say my mum is in no danger of being killed by me. But I did get awful dreams when I was prescribed something for teeth grinding a couple of years back…
      Thanks for visiting 🙂

  • 17 October, 2018 at 5:00 pm

    EEK! What a great ending – totally unexpected! 🙂

  • 17 October, 2018 at 5:19 pm

    Wow. The voice and easy flow of this story are both fantastic, and your surprise ending really caught me by… um,. surprise! Great job!

  • 17 October, 2018 at 6:57 pm

    I did expect this ending. And wonder what it says of me. Or if I had read it before. And how many times I had read it.
    This is a wonderful take on the deja vue (and the voodoo) prompt. I do wonder whether Mama had been trying to meld your protagonist with that doll she kicked under the table. If so I am glad that the ‘tables were turned’ on her.

    • 18 October, 2018 at 1:46 pm

      Ah, yes. Sometimes I write things thinking I’ve written them before…

  • 17 October, 2018 at 9:15 pm

    Nightmare turned reality? A scary possibility.

    • 18 October, 2018 at 1:46 pm

      Well, I hope not, with some of my dreams!

  • 18 October, 2018 at 12:18 am

    Never trust herbal remedies – Satan’s brew. The voice of your protagonist is excellent, and the story held me gripped to the final knife. You also caught that dream scene switch perfectly.

    • 18 October, 2018 at 1:49 pm

      Thanks Roland. I must have been dreaming recently and got the message at last!

  • 18 October, 2018 at 3:14 am

    I had a feeling this story was going to take a dark turn, and I loved the way you handled it. That ending was perfect. Great writing!

  • 18 October, 2018 at 3:36 am

    lol, finally got it right. The doll was a great touch. And, and ordinary, routine day can really feel like deja vu. A great entry.

    • 18 October, 2018 at 1:51 pm

      I wondered if I should have made more of the doll, I mean, why else put it in? Then again, people have interpreted in several ways, which I like 🙂

  • 18 October, 2018 at 12:27 pm

    I did not see that coming!

    Also, I think “you look tired” is one of the crappiest things you can say to a person.

    • 18 October, 2018 at 1:53 pm

      lol, I agree. You look tired… You don’t look well… – guaranteed to make a tired/ill person worse, and a ‘feeling good’ person feel bad!

      • 18 October, 2018 at 6:58 pm

        As someone with a chronic disease, I find that people’s comments either way can trigger my problems. Many people don’t understand invisible illnesses.

  • 18 October, 2018 at 12:32 pm

    The ending crept up – unexpectedly – and I was left in shock! *eeeeek*
    Was it the herbal remedy? The doll under the table? Her own deranged mind? A combination…?
    I knew that it was edging towards something dark, BUT I didn’t see that coming. Great job!

    If you’re on facebook, please link your flash fiction to the WEP+IWSG badge that’s pinned to the top, over at the IWSG Facebook page, so that others can read your lovely work.
    Thank you!

    • 18 October, 2018 at 1:54 pm

      I’m only ‘sort of’ on Facebook, but I’ll try to tag it from the page, and see if that helps.

  • 18 October, 2018 at 4:05 pm

    I love the way you crafted this story from her sarcastic musings in the store to the detail of the doll under the table to her withdrawal of the knife.

  • 18 October, 2018 at 7:28 pm

    That was a surprising ending to well crafted entertaining story. I enjoyed the level of detail you put into the story overall. Well done.

  • 19 October, 2018 at 10:58 am

    Wow, that was quite a twist in the ending. Herbal remedies can be deadly – wonder what the pharmacist prescribed? Nice work!

  • 19 October, 2018 at 7:06 pm

    Hi Jemima – yes … that ending was probably due to happen .. but I loved the story and build up – just hope I never get nightmares like that … or need a pharmacist to get something to help me sleep. Not a good thought – cheers Hilary

  • 20 October, 2018 at 2:22 am

    Hi, Jemina,

    Very good build up. Nice twist at the end. Great flow to the writing.

  • 20 October, 2018 at 10:18 am

    Oh what a twist at the end. She seemed such an ordinary, nice person (apart from her dreams)!

  • 20 October, 2018 at 9:45 pm

    Whoa, I did not see that coming. You set it up beautifully, though; detailing the mundane traits of daily life mingled with nightmares and a lack of sleep. It all came together so perfectly.

    • 21 October, 2018 at 10:10 pm

      Couldn’t comment on yours, Toi, but was going to say:

      That was crazy! You sure ain’t lazy 🙂

  • 21 October, 2018 at 9:36 pm

    That was a great twist ending indeed. I guess she didn’t want to keep up the lie, or got nagged too much lol Thankfully I’ve never had super bad dreams, super weird ones though.

    • 21 October, 2018 at 10:11 pm

      Couldnt comment on yours Pat, but I enjoyed it, and was expecting something much darker form the start!

  • 22 October, 2018 at 2:29 am

    a knife a plot now
    someone’s dead
    so much worth running
    through her head

    no happy ending
    in this reply
    but someday they’ll be
    an eye for eye

  • 22 October, 2018 at 4:25 pm

    Was someone putting a voodoo spell on her? There was a mention of a doll she found on the stairs after the dream of sticking pins in a doll. Sleep deprivation and herbal sleeping pills pushed her over the edge and she sleep walked through her crime.

  • 23 October, 2018 at 12:23 am

    Enjoyed the knife twisting ending

  • 23 October, 2018 at 8:31 am

    Seems these pharmacists are becoming a bit weird, giving out RXs for dreams. An excellent story which surprised,me but this character seems very cynical and unfeeling. Perhaps she’s just using the prescription as a crutch to plead ‘temporary insanity? Perfect for the Halloween season.

  • 23 October, 2018 at 5:23 pm

    This had a nice flow in spite of the dream-reality switches. That doll under the table has be thinking.

  • 25 October, 2018 at 4:45 am

    I honestly didn’t see that ending coming. It was just going along, everything in place. And then WHAM!
    Crazy nice work there.

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