This story is by Toni Kief and was part of our 2018 Fall Writing Contest. You can find all the writing contest stories here.
I lay here quietly trying to keep my breathing shallow and silent. I need to steal a little more sleep before I face the day. I hear it lurking, creeping through my home, searching for nourishment. It craves any kind of fuel to empower a mythic strength.
Cerberus, the three-headed monster, has taken over my life. It is a very devious beast, selfish and exhausting. As long as there is a salty or sweet snack within reach of its lion-like claws, it won’t hurt me. I never know for sure, when it will raise its heads and demand I pay a toll.
I find this roaring beast most charming, often funny, but it lies for no reason. It won’t brush its teeth or wash and comb its serpentine mane. It has the ability to tear me to shreds in a moment, and it is fully aware of its power. Locking a door makes no difference. Even without a key, it crawls in through the cracks and fills my home with primal energy and desire. There are days of silence, often as long as a week before it invades and ignites my existence with its continual thirst for more.
When it is gone, I miss it. When it is here, I struggle. I run full speed trying to keep it fed and distracted with anything that is shiny. It has the appeal of a toothless Muppet and the demeanor of Medusa. It is a fantastic beast only calmed with three flavors of ice cream. I watch it energize in diverse directions. It fights with itself twisting in violence and malice. An instant later it is anxious to go, anywhere else.
Although at this moment, it has decided to be kind to me with ten minutes of quiet before the next feeding. I appreciate the act of generosity, but the anxiety of the unknown moves me to the side of the bed. I love a monster, and I will give it everything I own. Zeus, please bless my three amazing grandchildren.