By Madison Randolph

Mike fumbled the keys in his pocket. He forced a key into the lock. It wouldn’t turn. His tongue flicked out across his dry and cracked lips. He tried another and it worked. The door slammed into the wall and he stumbled across the entryway. 

The living room was flooded in searing bright light from floor to ceiling windows. He held his arm in front of his face and lurched into the kitchen. The silver sink faucet stood before him like a godsend. 

His calloused fingers snatched the two handles and yanked them forward. He ducked his head into the sink and his thick tongue reached for the refreshing drops of water. Nothing. The tip of his tongue rubbed against the faucet mouth to taste dry metal. 

He straightened and slammed his hand against the counter. A scream scraped against his dry and hoarse throat. There wasn’t enough water in him for tears. 

The silver fridge caught his eye and he ran to it. Please! Please! He slammed his fist against the water button and stuck his face under the spout. Two drips of stale water dribbled into his parched and puffy mouth. His tongue lapped them up greedily. His throat convulsed. I need more.

He opened the fridge and grabbed the edge of the icebox. Blessed sloshing. He forced himself to slow down and remove the box with care. Not one drop could be wasted. He brought the corner up to his lips and poured the water into his mouth. 

The hot water filled his mouth and eased his dry tongue. He swallowed. He couldn’t get enough. The water hit the bottom of his empty stomach with a satisfying thunk. Water sloshed down his front as he poured too quickly.

The water ran out and he held the plastic box above his head, his mouth wide open to catch the last few drops. Like a cat he licked the interior. He sat the box on the counter and felt his wet shirt clinging to his sweaty skin.

He yanked his shirt to his mouth and sucked all the moisture he could out. He let his shirt go. Slowly, he took deep breaths and closed his eyes. His hand rested on his stomach. A smile stretched his cracked lips. He tasted the metallic flavor of blood as his skin split. His smile widened.  

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Madison Randolph is attending University of Texas Permian Basin to earn her Bachelor’s in English. Her works have appeared in Friday Flash Fiction, The Drabble, and Sandstorm Journal. She has also been published in 101 Words as Ryker Hayes. She can be found on Twitter @Madisonr1713 or Instagram madisonrandolph17

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