Running down the street, her feet hitting the pavement with every painful jolt. Their feet and heavy breathing told her that they were close on her heels, pushing her on. So she ignored the razor pain running along her shins, the dull ache in her knees and each painful breath, that she dragged in trying to fuel her body with oxygen to keep going. She twisted round corners, dipping her head as she ran up the hills, digging in deep, pushing on through her thighs. Their pace never slackened, they matched her step for every painful step. She just couldn’t shake them.
The sun was now fully up and they were meeting more people. No-one stepped in to help. Instead, as she ran past, they threw themselves backwards, making themselves as small as possible against the wall, watching with wide-eyed stares. A young boy on a bicycle, his face distorted and scared, peddled hard up the hill, his eyes briefly meeting hers. Did her face look like that?
Her whole body was screaming in agony, she wasn’t sure how much further she could continue. Just under her ribs, the pain was knife sharp and growing with every breath. She held her side, trying to hold it in. Her skin was drenched in sweat as her body burned in effort.
Still they came. She couldn’t see them, just heard their breath and matching footsteps.
Finally she could take it no more.
Her body was spent.
There was nothing left to give.
She just didn’t care any more.
Coming to a halt, she put her hands up in surrender, bracing herself for the outstretched hands.
“Sorry guys, I’m all done in. One of you will have to be pace-maker now.”