The hill was as a mountain, with the heat of the sun flaming down on his bald head. The afternoon was as an army, letting loose fiery arrows of summer heat. he followed the well-worn path, his new runners pinching and blistering his feet. He wasn’t sure why he decided a heat wave was the best time to revisit his health.
He ran in staggered bursts, convincing himself that walking was as good as running. he would have been correct if the walking was a bit more enthusiastic. He stank, he hurt and he was quickly realizing that health meant death.
The path was quiet and the trees gave sporadic shade as he moved away from the clearing and in to the wooded hillside. He felt the temperature dip a bit and literally thank whatever gods were around. He wasn’t a religious man, but he did appreciate the thought of something being responsible for the insanity he was putting himself through.
The heel of his right shoe was rubbing. He felt the painful blister that was forming with every step. Why anyone would consider running a fun past time was beyond him. Nothing about the pain and sweat dripping into his eyes felt like fun. The way his shorts were sticking to him, the way they were riding up to fight with his asshole, the way his thighs burned like to dry sticks being rubbed together….fuck running.
He stopped half way up the hill. His hands on his hips he gasped for breath, feeling a stitch in his side and a pain in his gut. He was going to puke, he felt the bile coming from the depths of his stomach. He moved off the path and bent over retching up the two coffees and breakfast sandwich he had earlier. As he stared at the mess he considered how bad a move that had been.
The birds sang in the trees, but to him they sounded like evil monkeys making fun of him. The branches swayed in a slight breeze, but that sound was like a buzz saw wanting to cut off his feet. The sky was blue above the trees, but all that made him realize was how blue his face must be from the lack of oxygen. All in all running was death.
He heard movement coming from behind him and tried to fix his appearance as best he could. He was embarrassed by how out of shape he was. It had been years since he had run this path and back then he was fit and fast. Now he was middle-aged and completely out of his league. The two joggers seemed to pick up on that vibe.
“You okay?” the young man said in his tight Lycra running shorts and tank. He didn’t seem as uncomfortable as he did.
“Yeah mister, you don’t look so good,” the smiling face of his young girlfriend, with a look that said, hey old guy we think you are dying.
he took a raspy breath and felt an odd feeling in his chest. He sat down in the brush just missing his own puddle of puke. The world seemed a bit fuzzy as the joggers came to him.
“Oh jeez man, you are definitely not ok,” he bent close to the man.
“Davey, I think he needs help,” she said bending over him, touching his sweaty forehead like some bitch of a mom doting on some insolent child.
He moved quicker than he thought he could. The knife sliding out of his pocket and up into the soft under-jaw of the man. In a fluid motion he swung into the eye of his bitch. Both collapsed around him as he stood. He seemed a bit less pained and a lot less sweaty. The smile returning to face, along with the colour he remembered from his youth.
“Ah, that’s better. Running is death after all.”
He started up the path, with a bit more spring in his step. Running was much easier when he was running away.