Dragon's Breath Magazine, September '91

One Sunday Morning
by Wanderlust

     The music expanded and contracted in Herman's head like an artificial heart. Its plastic arteries and chambers cut into his forehead from the inside with every horrific beat. It wasn't the noise itself that truly tortured him. It was the moments of silence between beats; anticipation of the clamor that would grind into his brain.
     Ice ice baby...
     Herman laid on his stomach with his face buried in a pillow. Drool trickled from his mouth and saturated a good portion of the pillow, reacting strangely with the synthetic material and creating an annoying odor. Herman lifted his head, feeling the muscles in his neck strain and throb. He flipped over the pillow and dropped his head down, swearing at the pillow and the music. "Fucking shit," he moaned, and gave up on the diatribe.
     Ice ice baby...
     The stereo was at least ten feet away and the remote control even farther. Whoever drove Herman home from the party left his bedroom with the stereo on, set to KRAP, the county's number one rap music station. Herman swore to hunt down that person and kill him when the dizziness stopped. For now, though, he would be tortured in his own bed. Four hours passed and Herman still hadn't fallen asleep. His head was under the pillow now, being pulled down tight with sweaty fists. He was speaking into the pillow. It didn't matter what he was saying; he just liked the way his voice vibrated in his head. The music continued.
     Ice ice baby...
     A beam of dull sunlight permeated through the curtains and gashed Herman's elbow. He moved his arm quickly, as if the sun could burn him if given enough time. The light made Herman desperate for sleep now. He punched the pillow and took a deep breath. And another. It seemed like he was hyperventilating. Fatigue had driven him insane, he thought. He was perfectly sober now but his body would not fall asleep. Herman pushed the pillow aside and sat up. His temples pounded