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No Way Out | #365 Prompts by Rebecca Makkai


It was unsafe to open my eyes. Could I be still enough to let the monster sleep and grow weaker with time? But with each flutter of my eyelids, my stomach roiled. My jaws ached. There was no way out. I knew it.

I sighed. It was a mistake. Just enough movement to send me staggering to the toilet, retching bitter bile. I wiped my mouth and wilted on the floor. There was nothing left. Nothing since last night when I flung myself on the couch, stupid and loose-limbed.

My dry mouth demanded water, but water was a risk. It could resurrect the nausea, bring back the spins. But it had to be done, so I pulled up to the sink, turned on the tap. It was cool and delicious right from the faucet. I took several gulps and sat down to wait.

Nothing happened. Was I safe? Had I beaten it? I shakily stood and stumbled to the fridge. The chilled air felt incredible, but the greasy smell of takeout ambushed me, sent me running to the bathroom. (How did I move so fast?) 

The precious water left my body. I was back to square one. 

I cried. It hurt so bad I cried. I was alone. No one to get me a ginger ale or even a stale cracker. No one with a cold washcloth, no one to care. No one here, just me and my regret. And I was choking on it. 

I curled up on the floor. I’d try again later. 

PROMPT: Write about the worst hangover of your life, without using the word hangover. 


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