Victoria Slotto at Live2Write2Day wrote on interesting piece on the word ‘spirit’ and its many definitions. She prompted us to write something with that as its theme. It has been buggin me…this is what came out.

Codd-neck bottle

Image via Wikipedia


It was time to start. He knew it, but also knew it was going to be hard. A week was long enough. Well, he thought, not really. But no amount of time ever would be

He knew there had been visitors during this last week, but everything was a blur. A fog of memory, tears and drink. He had been put to bed by a couple of friends, two others had been tasked with cleaning him up. There was always another bottle they had not been able to find.

That had always been the way of it. He had been hiding bottles since he was sixteen. Some times it was enough just to know the bottle was there, other times not….. She had been a Godsend. Those times when he needed the drink were less when she was there. Her tears when he fell were a memory he was haunted with daily. It made sobriety somewhat easier to bear.

Then she was gone; suddenly, no warning. A drunk driver would have been the utmost of irony, but it was just an accident. A wrong turn at the wrong time.

He survived the funeral, the most alone he had ever been. There might as well have not been anyone else there. But, he was sober. He could do that for her. He planned everything down to the flowers and picking out her clothes. He survived the reception and the cemetery, but just.

And after the last guest had gone…he drank. Not a ‘have a couple of drinks to forget’ kind of thing. No, he drank with a vengeance and a purpose. A daylight till pass out and start all over again kind of drunk. His intention was clear, and no one knew how to stop him, or even if they should try. Life without her was going to be like this a lot for him.

Last night something changed. He had only been up an hour after passing out around noon, he was finishing his third drink of the evening. As he started to get up he found he was unable. It was like there was a hand on his chest keeping him in place. Then a peace came over him in the rush of an intake of breath, and he slept.

He woke this morning with the clear thoughts of sobriety, and the purpose of will of the living. Not bothering with breakfast, he grabbed the trashcan and started through the house. There were tears on his face as he filled the can with bottles. More than once he almost broke, then he would hear her soft sobs of joy behind him…and he had the strength to carry on.



Filed under Creative writing, Flash Fiction, Short Story

10 responses to “Spirits

  1. Mark, powerful write with such an ironic twist. It seems there are so many lives destroyed by addictions that have been front and center lately (I’m thinking of Houston, for example.) Thanks so much for taking the prompt in this direction.

  2. i like your take on spirits. it’s good he had the strength to carry on.

  3. Aw, this was so sad…and yet, I love that you ended on a hopeful note! The “spirits” were strong, but his “spirit” was stronger. Excellent take on the prompt! 🙂

  4. Powerful story. Was it intentional irony that your accompanying photo was of codswallop bottles (ie soft drink bottles)?

  5. I loved this story. Sometimes we need someone else to focus on to live up to our best potential… If that’s what it takes….so be it.

  6. Powerful write, beautifully done!

  7. Shawna

    What a great response to the prompt! The bottle on the right looks like it’s swallowing a man’s head. The one on the left floats a boiled egg yolk or a man’s soul. I think this is a very appropriate image. Trapped inside a bottle, desperate to climb out.

  8. i am highlighting this post at my place tomorrow. what an exquisite write. well done! i’m so glad you linked.

Some of what I write is true, some is fiction; most is merely possibility.

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