As She Ran

 

She ran.

She ran with elation, with fortitude.

The grasses licked her limbs as they parted, faster and faster as she ran.

She didn’t know quite what she was running from.  From everything.

Except everything was actually unfolding before her

As she ran.

The wind became her breath

As it traveled into her mouth, down her windpipe, filling her lungs.

Oxygenating her blood.

And whooshing back out.

Again and again and again.

Faster and faster.

As she ran.

Her dusty bare feet softly thudded the earth.

Heel first, then ball, toes last, pushing off.

Heel, ball, toes.  Heelballtoes.

Thud-thud-thud.

Whoosh-whoosh-whoosh.

Lick-lick-lick.

Her hair, blazing in the sunlight, trailed behind her, furiously trying to keep up.

Her dress did the same, only it tugged as it caught on the grasses.

Tears streamed across her face, blown back by indulgence.

A warm glow ignited deep in her belly and slowly radiated out

Down into her pumping thighs, calves, thudding feet

Up into her heaving lungs, biceps, hands, fingers

Spine, neck, brain

Sparkling eyes, flushed cheeks, parted lips.

A smile spread, automatically.

Laughter escaped, bubbling up and spilling out

Like a caged animal set free.

It could not be stopped

As she ran.

Where was she going?

She only knew where she’d been.

She just kept moving, afraid to succumb to inertia.

She was desperate to remember how it felt

As she ran.

 

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My Seventh Mission

It was my seventh mission.

Well, scratch that…it was my sixth mission gone wrong, which kinda morphed into a seventh unexpected mission.  The goal of this mission was simple: get back to Abel Township before they close the gates.  Oh yeah, and don’t get eaten by zombies.  But that goes without saying these days.

Let me back up.  (First of all, Spoiler Alert for Zombies, Run!)

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I’m the new Runner 5 for Abel Township, and I’m pretty lucky to be alive.  I was flown in from another camp because Abel was losing runners to the hoards of zoms moving through the area and they needed more.  Fresh meat, so to speak.  …too soon?

So I get the lovely task of running outside the lovely, thick, safe gates of Abel Township about once a week to do…whatever it is the people in charge need done, really.  Usually it’s some sort of supply run, or warning our neighboring camps that a hoard is headed their way.  Once, I ran out to bring an abandoned child back to Abel before the zoms got to her.  Most likely, her parent was bitten or killed while fighting off one or more zombies and then had to abandon the child before he/she turned.  Gruesome to think about, but it’s reality now.  And people are counting on me.

So, back to yesterday.  It was my seventh mission: get home!  I’m still not sure what went wrong on Mission 6.  Maybe I should confront Janine about that.  Buuut, if Janine actually did send me straight into an ambush, I’d better take it up with Sam.  Sam (or Mr. Yao if we’re following protocol) is usually my lookout while I’m out on missions.  He’s my eyes out there – warning me when the zoms are close, and if I’m still headed in the right direction.  And, well, yesterday…Sam was mysteriously out.  Janine took over.  She had me running over to New Canton, said they were letting us have some badly needed electrical equipment.

Now this was odd, because the people of New Canton have a history of…not sharing, shall we say.  They don’t play nice.  But Janine assured me she knew some good eggs on the inside.  So off I ran with her in my ear.

Well…let’s just say things didn’t go according to plan.  Once I approached my destination, I found myself surrounded by angry humans with guns…and zoms weren’t too far off either.  I didn’t think – I just RAN.

And then…everything went dark.  Meaning, the sun went down, but I also could no longer hear Abel (Janine or otherwise) in my ear.  Just static. Shit.  This wasn’t looking good, and I was getting tired.

There’s nothing more motivating me to run than the undead, I always say!  They never get tired.  I had to circle way around to steer clear of New Canton and then find my way back to Abel before they closed the gates for the night.  Buuuut, considering that it was already dark out, I figured I was screwed.

And then, I could hear him.  Faintly.  It was SAM!  He was still in his office, calling out to me!  I hissed as loud as I dared into my mic that I’m still alive, Mr. Yao!  And I can hear you!  GET ME HOME!  No response.  But bless him, he kept talking anyway.  The best part was that he told me, or my zombie self as far as he was concerned, that he’d convinced the higher ups to keep the gate open for another hour or so just in case I made it back!!  I had a chance, I just had to KEEP RUNNING!

There was only one time I came close to buying the undead farm as I blindly found my way back to Abel that night.  It’s hard for me to run entire missions without stopping to walk, and that’s okay since zombie hoards tend to move at a slow shuffle.  As long as I complete the mission and get back alive, right?  At this particular moment, I was close to Abel, I could smell it, and I was already running…when I smelled something else.  You guessed it.  To outrun them, I typically have to speed up by 10%.  But I was already running.  And I was damn tired.  I gave it all I had.  The air was cold and it started to make my heaving lungs burn, but I kept on.  The voice in my ear told me the zoms were 50 meters away…and then only 20.  By that time, I could hear their moans, and I swear I could feel their ragged breath on the back of my neck.  I didn’t turn around to look, I just ran.

Finally, to keep from getting caught, I was forced to drop what few supplies I had collected along the way.  It distracted them juuust enough, and then, when I had nothing left in me:  Runner 5!!  OH MY GOD, RUNNER 5!  YOU’RE ALIVE!  I CAN SEE YOU!  OPEN THE GATE!!  OPEN IT NOW!

Never had I heard such sweet yelling into my ear.  Thanks, Sam, for keeping me company.  And for letting me back in.  I’ll live to run another day.

Mission 7: Completed.


NaBloPoMo Day 19

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Running from Zombies

I hate running.

I hate it with the fire of a thousand suns.

In high school, when we had to start running on the regular for gym class, I wondered what I had done wrong to deserve such punishment.  Surely they couldn’t make us do this?!  And then I looked around, and I found that some of my friends actually liked it. They were competitive.   They were fast.  They were nuts.

I will never understand those people.

Fast forward to now, where for the past 2-3 years, I have actually started working out with some regularity, not counting getting into yoga after my cancer surgery in 2003.  I started doing yoga a few weeks after surgery when it was a struggle to get up from a sitting position, and now I’d say I am at least at an intermediate level.  I’m pretty proud about some of the kickass poses I can do.

So, 2-3 years ago I added in some elliptical stuff.  Basically, I re-watch episodes of 30 Rock while I fake run on a very loud machine in my tiny apartment complex exercise room.  Now that my calves are pretty buff, I wanted to switch things up a little bit and try some…running.

Now, I’ve actually tried to run in the past, but it basically turns into what I like to call a walkjog.  I just don’t have the physical stamina for any sustained motion that propels me forward with any speed.  Also, being the true artist that I am, what’s my motivation for this torture?  It’s almost like I’d need something chasing me.

And with that, enter Brian, my husband-to-be, who is always motivating me to better myself and always has my well-being in mind (and only chases me in the romantic sense):

B: What are you going to do when the zombies get here?

Me: Well, if they are slow zombies, I’ll sprint past them and jam the close ones through the eye socket.

B: First, you can’t handle bodily fluids.  How will you manage to ‘jam the close ones’ accurately enough and with enough force?  Second, what if they are 28 Days Later zombies?

Me: First, you’re right.  Bloody noses make me gag, and forget about mucous.  I will use my samurai swords and just decapitate ’em like Michonne, because she’s badass and had the right idea from the start.  Second, fuuuuuuck.

B: Exactly.  Let’s start running.

——

But I can’t just run, and I certainly can’t just run with Brian.  We’ve tried this before, where he’s motivating me by saying all these sweet things as we’re running side by side, but all it does it make me giggle, and I have a bad habit of giggling when I run…and then I can’t stop giggling, which means I have to stop running.  That’s right ladies and gentlemen, I am a 5 year old.  And if I ever have children, I don’t know how I’ll be able to keep them alive (especially since kids bleed out so fast), but that’s another blog post altogether.

The answer was clear:  the app called Zombies, Run!

It sounded perfect.  You’re a runner, a gopher in this post-apocalyptic world where people with British accents tell you when to run to evade a zombie mob.  If you’re lucky enough to survive the mission, you pick up stuff along the way and bring it back to base.

This was it.  This was my motivation.  Plus, I could never disobey someone with a British accent.

Last Thursday, Brian and I gave this app a try.  We keyed up the first mission and started power walking down the street.  It was still a bit light out, but the sun would go down soon.  British man and lady were describing our surroundings and I was told I found and picked up some water.  And then – I could hear them.  The Brits could see the mob closing in on me and told me to run…I looked at Brian and he nodded to me as I felt an adrenaline surge and picked up the pace.  They were 50 meters away, their breathing heavy, low moaning.  Then 20 meters away.  Fuck, this was scary!  I swear I could feel their ragged breath on the back of my neck.  And then –

Zombie mob evaded.  Good job Runner 5!

Sweetness!  This was actually kinda fun!

B: Jesus, Lady!  I’ve never seen you take off like that!

Me: Well, they were going to GET ME!

And so on the mission went…we had to pass the old hospital, hoping to find supplies and rejoin Runner 7.  In real life, we had turned between two ag fields and were running between two rows of olive trees…it was much darker now.

Suddenly, the Brits could see Runner 7!  She was running to catch up with us…only she was different.  Oh shit, she’s a zombie and there’s more behind her, RUN!

So we do it again.  Remember when I said I lack stamina?  I was already pretty wiped at this point, but I gave it my all.  Seriously, I ran even after I didn’t think I could run anymore.  And this time, I was seriously freaked out because Brian had run ahead, I couldn’t see him anymore, and I could hear and feel these monsters getting closer and closer…

And I became Zombie Runner 7’s nighttime snack.  I was so pissed I nearly collapsed in the dirt.

—–

Fast forward to the day after, and I could barely walk.  Seriously, my legs would painfully cramp up if I transferred any weight to my toes.  Had this really been the zombie apocalypse, I would have died on Day 2.  Or Brian would have carried me, because that’s what husbands-to-be do in dystopias.

So I won’t give up; I plan to run more missions, because damn, it’s motivating!

Why don’t I ever see them stop to stretch on The Walking Dead?!