This was my third entry in the creative writing forum’s flash fiction contest, and won first prize. There were only four other entries, but it’s nice to be considered the winner. Now that it’s won, I’ll post it here.
“Demons (247 words)
My kitchen is always cluttered, even after I clean it. Maybe it’s too small, or maybe I’m just overly negative about everything. Sure, there are some dirty dishes in the sink, but just a few coffee cups and glasses. The groceries are put away, the chairs pushed under the table. I don’t know, nothing looks right anymore. Not like this, anyway.
There’s a simple nightly routine now. Get in from work, fill the little ice bucket. In my pocket is a fresh bottle of bourbon. I leave it on the table with the ice while I look for a clean glass.
I spend evenings with my bottles now, laughing about past victories and defeats, wondering how things could be different. I’m alone, and it’s my fault. I drove them all away. Sometimes, I wonder where my friends are. Other times I just wish I had her back, and the kids would come home. Every night is a replay of the Life that Was. Eventually, everyone gets a turn, their memories playing in my head like video.
As the bottle empties I notice my reflection at its corner. I see my face, bloated and distorted, the edges of my head pulled away into horns as my image follows the curve of the bottle to the open cap. I turn my head slightly, and the horns blend back into my head, my reflection looking suddenly normal. But I saw them, and I know that the horns belong to me.”