The Seven Five Nothing

The Seven Five Nothing are a collection of hyper-short stories, each written in a single sitting with no editting.


27. The Runner.

His feet hit the ground rhythmically. Beat after beat, after beat. He ran with his head set firm, but his arms punching forward with the pace. His heart beat against his ribs, beat after beat, after beat. His lungs inflated with the six AM cold air, tasting as good as water slipping down a dry throat.

He'd been awake just fifteen minutes, and had slipped his shoes on just five minutes after his eyes opened. The laces thronged across the tongue, taut across the bow. He scrunched his toes, subconsciously hoping to feel every step.

Before he woke up, he'd been dreaming. His eyes had flickered as his mind rocked back and forth, back and forth, and the bullets whistled through his imagination. The enemies, they have them surrounded. And through the brick dust and mortar smoke, he's killing himself, trying to breathe. Blinding himself trying to see. Deafening himself trying to hear.

The crack, crack, crack of gunfire and the inaudible shouts of the insurgents is frightening, but his heart pumps, pounding against the ribs, his breath is short, as he tries to fill it down a dry throat.

He stumbles around, his instincts kicking in, trying to rely on the training. The training, he thinks, what should I be doing. He almost steps on someone. On a hand. He falls against a wall so as not to let his momentum carry his boot onto this child's poor hand. He feels it well up inside him. The confusion, the anger, the rage, the loss. He looks at this kid, laying under rocks, and all he wants to do is run.

Before the dream, he was sat on the edge of the bed, desperate to sleep. He hadn't slept in so long.

And before he was sat on the bed, he'd been partying all night, with old friends. Only, he didn't really know them at all. How could he? He'd been gone for a long time now, becoming someone else, some place else, witnessing things he couldn't understand, uncertain of what he was even doing there. Having people tug at his shirt all night, trying to get them to show off the still-blotchy bullet scar on his shoulder was an awkward distraction. All he wanted to do was forget the moments, not wear them.

He'd tried to slip away, but nobody could understand why he didn't want to be there anymore. What started as goading, shifted to a tussle and ended with a fight. As his old friend kneeled on the ground, bloody-mouthed and pride hurt, he looked at him confused, ashamed. He took off through the crowds, trying to shake off the feelings of isolation, but he knew that they were his to own.

Before the night, he was a soldier coming home. He was glad, at first, but the world he came back to was none-changed from the one he had left behind. People didn't seem to acknowledge his world, or even understand what he'd seen. But of course, he surmised, how could they? They hadn't been there, hadn't seen or felt all of that. How could anyone ever get it, really?

Before he was on a plane and flying home, he was in a hospital bed, knee buckled and shoulder split open. He'd stopped to see if the child was okay, ignoring a fundamental of his training - never stop for a civilian. The bullet had ripped through him and his knee torn through the back by a second one. Nobody thought he'd make it, but he did.

As he ran through the morning, the day waking up, filling him up, he thought about it all. He realised that sooner rather than later, he'd need to make peace with his life. As his feet hit the ground, beat, beat, beat, he appreciated all that they had done to fix him so that he could be here now, living like this, running, running, running.

The runner thought about how far he could go. He knew he could probably run for miles and miles yet. He thought about where he should stop, but had no real idea where that would be. Maybe, he thought, he'd never stop. And on that, he knew it was okay. He could run, run, run for thousand miles if he wanted to. Because in his head, he realised, we're all made up of the moments before, but the moments that are yet to happen, well, we're still up for grabs. He ran, ran, ran.
Join MovellasFind out what all the buzz is about. Join now to start sharing your creativity and passion
Loading ...