Teeth crashed into ice, puncturing through the tongue. Meanwhile bone shattered piercing gums, breaking down the jawline. Madeline pulled her arm back. Frozen, like the uneaten ice still in the cup, she stood there as blood dripped out of Daniella’s mouth. Tears streamed from her eyes, as a gargled yell filled the room. Madeline blinked once, twice, four or five times. Daniella still stood there blood and tears covering her chest. She had actually done it. She had cracked her in the jaw. Neat and clean. Madeline bit back a chuckle as Daniella coughed spraying her desk with blood and a piece of tooth. After all this time, she had finally had enough. 

Madeline looked down at her hand. She felt strong. Making a fist she felt the skin pull over her knuckles. Already slightly swollen, Madeline’s hand began to ache. Daniella had still not moved. Blood and drool still dripping from her face. Tears and breathless sobs still escaping her face. 

A worm holed through her heart and wound throughout her stomach. T’was a fright to be stupid, Madeline heard her gran-dad. Extending her arm, Madeline wrapped it around Daniella’s shoulders, leading her to the bathroom. 

Daniella splashed water on her face at Madeline’s insistence. Without the out pour of blood, Daniella’s face didn’t look so bad. It was puffy and discolored. One of Daniella’s teeth had cracked. Her tongue was swollen. Punctuated by little marks. Her jaw was not shattered, not even broken. Madeline was relieved and disappointed at the same time. 

The worm wove around her organs. Hitting ones co-worker was less than ideal. But listening to them macerate ice with their teeth was another. Still it wasn’t Daniella’s fault that she was what Madeline’s gran-ma would have called a “half-wit.” Daniella hadn’t known enough to get the blood off her face. 

Once Madeline told her a bug had landed on her face, that was a game changer. Daniella washed her face again, this time with soap and water. The bug had done her in. Not only was all of the blood off her face, but she was actually explaining in great detail between bursts of water rinsing the soap away to Madeline how grateful she was that she got the bug off of her face. Madeline stared at her as the worm in wiggled through her throat danced with laughter. 

Daniella had a habit of talking too much, the verbal equivalent of “tl;dr.” From what Madeline had been able to understand and string together. Daniella thanked her for clocking her in the jaw. Because it killed a bug. Madeline headed into the stall. As Daniella pulled paper towel after paper towel out from the dispenser, Madeline herself began to laugh lightly under the sound of her pee hitting the water. 

The worm slid into Madeline’s brain. Wrapping itself around and through the complex organ. Her fingers began to twitch as Daniella’s voice ate away through the cartilage of Madeline’s ear. 

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