by Roy Barton

He started to jog slowly. He could see the road ahead and it was completely deserted, just as he knew it would be. It stretched off to the horizon but he knew, also, that it carried on further than that. It had to.

He could feel his heart beating, he controlled it with rhythmic breathing, keeping the air circulating from his lungs , around his body, feeding his blood and his muscles, working them at the peak of their efficiency. He had waited for this day and it was finally time.


It was al so easy, so effortless, so perfect. He continued at this pace for a few more minutes. He felt the shock of impact as his legs hit the surface of the road, dissipating as it reached his upper body. He quickened his pace. The landing shock reduced as his feet carried him ever so slightly lighter over the ground. He altered the speed of his breathing to compensate for the extra energy needed but he still felt calm and completely in control of his mission.


His hair was beginning to flow in the draught he was creating, he was controlling the beat of his heart and it was barely any faster than walking pace. He settled into running for several more minutes. He barely noticed the surroundings, it was merely desert and a few mountains in the distance. He had seen them all before. He did not need to see them again. He could almost feel the blood pumping into and out of the muscles in his arms and legs as he continued. The preparation for today had been extensive, years of hard work and study were about to pay off. Years of jogging, then running, then sprinting had prepared him for today. There were no other days. This was the one. A unique moment in time. A time to achieve that which he once thought to be impossible. He focused on the road ahead, on the desert heat haze that changed the surface into a near-liquid barrier on the horizon and knew that it was indeed a barrier that he wished to break through. Once more he felt the time was right to inject a degree of extra pace into his movement.


His feet were just skipping over the road surface now. Again he changed his breathing to compensate and felt the extra oxygen distribute around his limbs. He kept his head clear of everything except his objective. Pure single-mindedness for the cause. There was nothing else, anymore. His eyes narrowed against the dust that blew around him and he felt the breeze around him, flapping at and swirling round him. Another obstacle he knew he could beat. He blocked it out of his mind, pushing on towards the haze that severed the landscape.

He had to push on faster now. He felt that the gear-change was very near. He needed to time it to perfection, any moment………….now!


His feet, which were skipping the surface before, were just brushing it now. His breathing was deeper and harder but he still kept his heart beating in a steady, rhythmic fashion. It was ever closer now, he could sense it. Hot desert dust was filling his nose but he erased any thought of the discomfort it coursed from his mind. To one side the sun had started to disappear behind the mountains and he felt the breeze become slightly cooler. It was perfect.

The whole thing was coming together as he had planned. He almost allowed himself a smile but stopped it from forming. He could not afford a smile or a grimace. Every bit of oxygenated blood was needed for essential muscles. None within his face could be used to distract from the maximum effort required to do this. He felt the pace of the sprint become a regular pattern, had grown used to it. Ignored any pain that such an enforced pace should normally have caused. He would not let it happen. As he settled into the sprint he decided to open up once more - to go faster than sprint ! To push towards something extraordinary. He pushed and he achieved.


Outside of what the normal human body would accept, faster than normal physics would allow. His eyes were streaming but he kept his breathing as regular as possible. His legs and feet, which were skimming the road, now looked more of a liquid flow across the surface. There was no perceptible foot-fall, nor was there any air-borne motion. Just a flow.

He could feel the blood coursing through his body. His heart was practically an open valve, just allowing it all to course through. The air supply didn’t just seem to come from his open mouth or his nose, it seemed to inject itself through his skin-pores, finding a more immediate route to the blood.

His surroundings were a brown, red, gold, yellow and blue blur. The air around him had almost formed into a shape, but still he needed to go faster.

Ever faster…and ever faster…and ever faster

He was almost there. Could almost touch that which he wished to achieve. All the colours around him blurred even more. The separate colours were now compacted into one continuous hue, of which there was no description in any spectrum. Real time had ceased to exist and the road surface had become only semi-solid, almost of the same consistency as the air around him. He had stopped breathing, as such, now. He had moved beyond the need for lungs as the pores in his body had adapted and opened ever larger to allow the atmosphere that surrounded him to enter his body. His legs had almost reached the same consistency as the road as they moved ever faster towards the goal, the event that he hoped would happen soon. As his legs had changed from their normal solid state, so too, was the rest of his body. He should have felt immense pain, instead he felt only immense exhilaration. The feelings that he had were almost beyond description, but so were is surroundings. There was no longer any desert, no longer any road. It was just a surreal blur, not solid, not liquid, the atmosphere wasn’t full of oxygen, or carbon dioxide, nor any other component that would make up the air that he would normally breathe. It was all very much the same substance that made up the very things that he was now surrounded by. One more push and he would do it, just one last big effort……


It suddenly changed. Although he had been unaware of it at the time there had been an almost deafening noise around him, a cacophony that seemed to match the strangeness of his surroundings at the moment before………..this.

The weird flowing uni-colour had vanished. The surface below his feet was gone. In fact his feet and legs were no longer there, nor for that matter the rest of his body, that he could see. He was sure, too, that he wasn’t using his eyes any more to witness his surroundings. It was very dark. Although it wasn’t black. He wasn’t running anymore, but he was travelling faster than he had been. A bolt of light that split the darkness around him. He had reached his goal, the event that he had striven for had been successful. Around him small points of light were coming into view and in front of him a deep pink, scarlet and blue gaseous expanse had appeared and he was heading directly for it. And suddenly he was inside and through it, out the other side. He was so relaxed now, so at ease and peaceful, this was it. His achievement. This was forever.

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