Sprint for the Stars

By Brianne Barkley

Based off The Daily Post’s Daily Prompt: What a Twist

creative writing, flash fiction, short story, surprise, twist, run, jog, night, woman

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Her breath hung in the cool air, creating a dense fog in her empty world. As the world slept, she ran. Her feet pounded the pavement with furious intensity as her eyes drifted upwards to the black sky. The usual dense darkness was dotted with tiny stars, the moon smiling brightly at her.

A small smirk crept onto her lips at this sight. The universe watched her.

After several minutes, her lungs began to burn in protest. She sprinted on, savoring the sensation. The dewy atmosphere clung to her hair; cool droplets ran down her face and dripped off her chin and the end of her short nose. She gazed happily at her audience, her stadium of stars, and pushed herself to her final limit. Just for them.

A quiet hum reached her ears suddenly, and the girl frowned. The hum built to a sturdy tune, a familiar tune. She slowed her pace down, glaring around angrily for the interruption to her silence.

The melody continued to grow, louder and louder until the girl brought her feet to an abrupt halt. Her chest heaved and her hand clutched at her ribs, trying to massage the stitch that was blossoming. And still, the music grew louder. She suddenly envisioned herself surrounded by empty faces, sitting with legs crossed on a green leather couch, the music mounting to a deafening crescendo.

The girl’s eyes snapped open.

“John!” A woman’s voice cried, “John, she’s awake. I told you the music would work.”

“Alex, can you hear me?” A man’s voice, whispering close, and then more loudly, “Liz, turn that music down.”

The girl – Alex, was it? – turned blurry eyes towards the deep voice and watched as a familiar face gradually crept into view. The music was slowly fading away, the last dying note still ringing in her ears.

The girl opened her mouth to speak. “Wha-” her voice cracked and she dissolved into a fit of coughs.

“Alex, you’re in the hospital, do you remember anything?”

Silent tears ran down the girl’s face and dripped off her chin and the end of her short nose.

“Alex, you were in an accident, honey,” The woman’s voice was kind and familiar.

The girl tried to sit up but struggled against an unseen weight. She could not move her feet, her legs, her arms, her hands… She could not move.

Her eyes darted from one memorable face to the other, faces reminding her of movie nights, days at the park, walks in their neighborhood, of a childhood spent running.

“I can’t,” the girl coughed, eyes bulging wildly in the direction of her lifeless limbs.

The faces watching her seemed unable to answer; they were broken, lost. Tears ran down the woman’s face and a look of infuriating love crested the man’s brow.

The girl sobbed loudly and clenched her wet eyes shut. As she did so, she felt herself fall free. She ran on blackened streets, savoring the smell of the wet asphalt.

The moon smiled down at her, and the girl smiled back.

_____________________

Other people’s twisted endings:

17 thoughts on “Sprint for the Stars

  1. Wow. I don’t think I breathed through the last few lines. You are an amazing writer. To be honest, I’ve never been into fiction all that much except for a few choice novels. But your writing just draws me in. Usually when I come across fiction blogs I’ll just skip over them, but I’m always interested to see where your stories will lead – what twist you’ll introduce this time -, and you never disappoint. Good job! ~ Bill

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