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Second Wind

Updated on August 5, 2016

Second Wind

From the starting line, I couldn't see the other runners because of the usual separating walls. The gun went off signaling the start of the race. I might as well have been the bullet fired by the way I flew from the starting line. I didn't even see the other runners. The wind flew through my hair, past my face, and deep into my lungs with every stride. Such a freeing sensation. Although, the voice within wasn't satisfied. The need for more was unbearable. So I ran, faster and faster, until the finish line was in my sights. Like a lion to his prey, I gained on my target with fierce intensity. I was nearly there when *pop* my right knee shattered like glass - I was airborne - my only comfort amidst my unimaginable pain was the finish line tape going across my face. I must have rolled, tumbled, and slid twenty feet. All the while flashing images of my life rushed through my head like a torrent.

My life wasn't one of complexity, in fact, it was very simple. I'm a runner and always have been. I was destined to be an athlete - not just an athlete - the best. Both my father and mother were runners, it's only fitting that I follow in their footsteps. I didn't know my parents; I was separated from them at a very early age. The only father I've known was Henry - my trainer. My home was a massive training facility that had everything my heart desired. Every imaginable piece of training equipment was made available to me. Besides Henry, I had coaches from around the world, and for good reason. I figured out pretty quickly that I wasn't any normal man - I was super human. I could run a mile in roughly one minute and thirty-six seconds. My trainers and coaches told me I'm the fastest they've ever seen or heard of.

At some point, though, I felt as if I was warring with myself. Another me, pushing me to win. Selfish-ambition seemed to fill me, prod me, and spur me on. I hated it yet - I was it. I hated myself. Deep down, I just loved the race. It's my purpose, my destiny. I felt inwardly, that if I let my purposeful desire become my primary motivation, I would win. The other me wasn't always there, though. I had brief moments of peace without its constant self-glorifying affirmations.

In recent training, I've mostly been running the track for best time. I was simply incredible. I wore a light uniform and a pair of glasses that focused my vision. Then the big day came - my first race. From my time trials, at my training facility back home, I was qualified to race against some of the best athletes in the world. The day was finally here and I was ready.

Now I lie here, just past the finish line, writhing in agony when stillness came over me. The voice, that infernal voice was gone! Joy and peace filled me during this moment of incredible suffering and the exhilaration of winning. I thought to myself, I am free!

During one of my pain spasms, my neck jerked back and I noticed a little man picking himself off the track. He was yelling something in my general direction. Then I realized he was yelling obscenities at me with every limping step. Further horror-struck when I recognized his voice - my voice - I mean my other voice that had been prodding me along this whole time. This horrific epiphany left my attention as the thunderous stampede of the other runners approached. Then I saw Henry, he was running over, such joy came over me, he saw my victory! Something was wrong, his face was grim, and he was carrying something in his hand. He stood over me shaking his head slowly, "You had such promise," he said. Joy turned to confusion, what did he mean by that?, I thought to myself. Further confusion set in when I noticed we were surrounded by horses. Where did the horses come from? Henry kneeled down and stuck something in my neck, fire filled my veins. The world blurs - fades to black.


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      Полина 7 years ago

      reminds life :)

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      Leah 8 years ago

      My attention was drawn in right from the start. I also really liked your style and creativity in this story.

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      Noelle E. 8 years ago

      The language of the story was brilliant and vivid- "I had brief moments of peace without its constant self-glorifying affirmations". I enjoyed the internal conflict that was present throughout the story. As I reread it I noticed tiny hints that the "I" is a horse- "my light uniform and a pair of glasses that gave me tunnel vision". Overall, I have to say that I've seen very few short stories that can effectively capture a lifetime's worth of memories and growth in just a few paragraphs- this was one of those few.