Recently, I entered a flash fiction contest. Although I didn't win, I did make the top 40 league, which means I scored at least 40 points out of 45. I decided to share the story here for everyone to read. Enjoy!

The gist of the contest was to look at the picture and write the story based on it.

Parting Ways
by Michelle Hickman

Swirly red. Around me. Tasted so sweet. I drank it in. It left a burning heat in my belly and a grogginess to thoughts. I wanted to stay forever.

“Why do you want to stay, Patrick?” There’s so much more for you. Look.” A hand pointed at the yellow opening. “Why don’t you come in?”

“NO,” I snarled. I wrapped the mist tight about like a security blanket. I knew what was beyond that yellow opening. I heard the screams, the shattering of glass, and the ambulance sirens.

“You’re dying here, Patrick. Look at yourself.” The disembodied voice insisted. I glanced down. I was wasp-thin. My body shook in uncontrollable fits.

The voice was right. I was dying, drinking away my sorrows with my life left empty after the car accident.

I had eight shots of rum. Anna said I shouldn’t drive, but I snapped at her to get inside the car with the kids. I drove us right into a tree. I was the only one who had left that car without being wrapped in a black bag.

I sobbed. My tears parted the red mist. Intangible. Unfeeling.

“It’s all right,” the disembodied voice soothed. The hand reappeared. It led me to the opening, but I must take the last step. I hesitated before grabbing the yellow light.

Hands clapped as I opened my eyes. Twenty people sat in a circle with faces bright in the sunlight. The AA counselor’s hand gripped mine. He said, “You’re free now.”