the voices drone on in the background. Something about a spy caught by the secret police. The dominating one is the one that pierces through my thoughts. I'm trying hard to focus on what I want to think about, which is about my running.
The trail is soft from the recent rainfall. I can hear the gentle rush of water down the little stream. Rainfall seems to prompt the rush of water. My breathing is in rhythm with my steps and the chill in the air invigorates me.
And immediately, my eyes are prickled with the bitter sting of tears.
I run harder, my footfalls increasingly out of sync, and my breaths become ragged and forced. I feel as though the world is sucked dry of oxygen, and I stumble over my own hurried steps.
"You'll just die anyway."
"You know what will happen."
No. Shut up.
"No, shut up." I say out loud.
The laughter is cruel and taunting.
"Shut up," louder, this time, as if I could hope to fend it off with volume.
I am tearing a path through the crunchy golden leaves on the ground. The trees whisper above my head. My heart is bursting with the effort of my exertion and the effort of holding myself together. I've finally left the laughter behind me. The taunts fade as I gasp for air.
I reach the little wooden bridge that marks the end of the trail. I run across it in 4 strides and pound my way up the hill to emerge onto the main road. I look briefly behind me, shaking with coiled fear. The rushing blood in my ears are loud enough now to drown out that dominating voice.
But the imprint of the sentiment remains blackened in my head - You're dead.