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With Slayer blaring in his ears, Madison is in his own world scrolling through Twitter. His head is throbbing. He’s had a long week of school and work, not a lot of time for leisure. This is the first date Jordan and he have been on in weeks. He’s worried that he’s neglecting her. Trying to balance work, school, and a relationship has given him some recent headaches. He gets a text from Jordan:

On my way .”

The smiley face is reassuring.


The woman yells and waves at Madison, grabbing his attention. Perplexed, Madison pulls off his headphones

I think you’re bleeding.”

Dread washes over him. Madison pats his forehead, avoiding the brim of his hat. He looks at his damp fingers. Crimson covers the tips. He touches his temples, and his cheeks. Iron hits his nose. He needs to find a bathroom right away.

Oh, fuck me. Not now!” Madison whispers to himself.

He bolts inside the Mexican restaurant. Patrons fall in his path. Madison punches the door open, on the other side is some poor blonde fellow just about to leave. He runs into a stall and hunches over the toilet, his gaunt eyes staring at his reflection, his face glistening red.

Fuck man, out of all nights?! Seriously?”

It wasn’t the first time Madison endured this. He’s experienced this phenomenon during finals week, and once when his mother had surgery. Madison sinks his head, letting out a sigh. He lifts his knees and rips off his hat. Ounces of blood pour out. This running faucet would splash anyone within a foot. Blood covers the seat and drips down to the floor. Madison maintains his posture, patiently waiting.

After the final few drips, the only thing left was his exposed brain, pulsing to the rhythm of his heart. It’s a swollen pink that slowly begins to shrink. Like all the other times before, Madison feels a huge pressure relief. He slowly lifts himself up and walks out of the stall. The blonde fellow he rammed the door through earlier is frozen on the ground. Shocked to glimpse what transpired.

Can I help you?” Madison asks.

The victim runs out.

Madison walks to the sink to wash his face. He looks like he perspired blood after twenty minutes on a treadmill. His pocket vibrates, a text from Jordan.

I’m here! Where are you?”

Madison types in his response.

Sorry, had to use the bathroom.”

A wave of goosebumps reverberates over him. This was a relief he didn’t realize that he needed.

Did it happen again?”

Yeah, but I feel loads better! Meet me inside and we’ll grab a table.”

Madison puts his phone in his pocket. He grabs a paper towel to wipe his face. He hasn’t told anyone besides Jordan about his condition. She wouldn’t let him wear his hat in bed, and he could only hide the towels for so long. She is understanding however, and he’s lucky for that. He splashes his face with cold water one last time before heading out of the bathroom.


 I am a fiction writer, and film essayist that has specific interests in horror, the absurd, and societal statements. I obtained my B.A. in film production from Bowling Green State University back in 2014, and I am currently working in television while studying English at Ohio State University. A few things I love: coffee, my cat Iroh, and Night of the Living Dead.


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