Two things about this short piece of fiction.

One: It’s late. The latest I think I’ve ever been with my weekly fiction post. I apologize. Friday was chaotic, followed by a packed weekend. That’s not an excuse, though. Writers are writers because we make the time to write. We make it a priority. I allowed it to get pushed to the side, and that’s my fault.

I’m not beating myself up over it, but I do acknowledge that I screwed up. Sorry about that.

Two: This story is homage, both to Stephen King and to the brave men and women who overcome their personal demons. King has written as least two stories I know of that deal with addiction (“Quitters, Inc.” and Misery)–probably more. It’s something he’s dealt with personally. I’ve seen the effects of addiction first hand, and it’s ugly. Not the addicts. The addicts are people who’ve made mistakes. They are not ugly, but the beast of addiction is.

Ugly and insistent and unrelenting. Oh, and sly.

This story doesn’t explore the issue with the same depth King’s work has, and I hesitate to tread further–not just because the word-count limit for this flash fiction piece was 100 words. I’ve seen addiction, but I haven’t been addicted. I think it would be hard, maybe even disrespectful, to try to encapsulate the totality of its allure without first-person experience. I doubt I could pull it off. However, the story below is a little of how I think addiction, itself, ‘speaks’ to its victims.

Not DSM-5 stuff. Just my ramblings based on what I’ve seen. And, as a personal note, if any of my readers happen to have first-hand experience with addiction, may you find peace and may you overcome.

The prompt for this story was published on The Prediction:

100 words maximum, excluding the title, of flash fiction or poetry using all of the three words above (‘chime’, ‘jug’ and ‘poison’) in the genres of horror, fantasy or science fiction.


He picks lint from his slacks before explaining.

“You’ll hear a chime,” he says. “When you do, you’ll drink.” He motions toward the ceramic jug labeled ‘POISON’.

“What is it?” she asks.

“You’re favorite,” he says, uncorking the bottle. She catches the scent.

“No,” she says. “I can’t. Four years.”

“An ounce and a half for each chime.”

She reels. “I can’t.”

“You will. Did you really think you could outpace me in a dozen steps?” He smirks and a chime sounds. It’s light and melodic, like a song bird. He pours the first glass.

“Drink,” he says. “You’re mine.”