Monday, November 12, 2007

Entry #29

Sunrise Faith
by The Perfect Neurotic


5:25 AM. Twenty minutes until sunrise. I pull on my sneakers and head out. First, the five minute warm-up, preparing my legs for the run. Down past Main Street, the clock reads 5:37. If I keep pushing up this slope, I’ll see the mountains right before the sun begins to rise.

My husband never understands this need. All his lectures on safety. Last night, exasperated, I told him, “At 5:30, the only thing I ever see are deer.”

“And most of them are lying dead on the side of the road. Just be safe,” he scolded.

There is no way to show him the wonder of dawn. The dark cold surrendering to the warm rays of sunlight. Forests and fields of animals trading shifts for the new day.

Up this last steep incline, straight up, I’ve trained myself to look a foot ahead at the ground, concentrating on the steps and not the burning in my thighs. I begin my countdown from 30, exactly how long it’ll take before being greeted by the sun.

29, 28, 27 … the sounds of hooves clicking. ‘Eyes straight ahead,’ I remind myself.

26, 25. The driver on the other side sees the deer in her path.

22, 21. A scraping noise. My body is numb.

19, 18. My lungs gurgle. A woman is kneeling over me. I try to tell her politely she’s blocking the sunrise, but cough instead. Red paint splatters her shirt. I am so cold and confused. I’ve lost count.

26 comments:

wrath999 said...

Wow great little read!

The Quoibler said...

I love this! One of my favorites by far! :)

Angelique

Abhinav said...

Good work...Even I like to go skirt a lake near my house in the early dawn. Well managed, my perfect neurotic!!!

Dottie said...

I like this one as both a runner and a writer. You've caught the feel of hill work. It's hard to write well about running (let alone getting hit by a car) and you've done a lovely job.

Beth said...

Thanks, everyone. I love running, especially at the time I wrote about, but haven't done so for years. I was afraid this would be terribly confusing.

I am thoroughly enjoying reading all the submissions. I am humbled by the talent here.

Sarah Hina said...

Amazing, Beth. And you were right about the similarities between our stories. Just different perspectives.

As a runner who has climbed many hills, and marveled at my surroundings, this felt very authentic to me. I loved your animals "trading shifts" description, and your last line is perfect.

High marks, for sure!

Josh said...

I like the way the story started counting down, giving it tension, like tunnel vision.

SzélsőFa said...

That's just great, Beth.

Beth said...

Sarah, I'm glad you agree on the similarities and am really excited to see other runners in this contest.

Thank you, Josh, I really do the countdown so used it here.

Szelsofa, much appreciated.

Scott said...

Nice example of storytelling with that bit of foreshadow and gradual rise in tension.

The Anti-Wife said...

Very well done.

Kathleen said...

Nicely done, Beth. Definite foreshadowing.

Beth said...

Thanks, you three. I never foreshadow. I just wrote it and when my daughter read it she said, "Aha, nice foreshadowing, Mom." I said, "Oh yeah, yeah, I planned that." =/

Hoodie said...

This is really great Beth! I'm terribly impressed.

Beth said...

Hoodie, thank you. There are so many entries you summed up for me ... terribly impressed. I'm terribly humbled.

mr. schprock said...

Nice story! Great build-up. Well done.

And I thought running was supposed to be good for you.

desiderata said...

Beth:
Reading this reminds me that wlays, even as I put my best foot forward, I must take care whether running, jogging or just taking one step at a time!:)

Beth said...

I actually know a woman this same story happened to except she was hit from behind. It always made me extra careful after I met her.

She still runs even though the doctors told her she'd never even be able to walk again.

Missy said...

Made me want to run... at first. Great read and the countdown really pulls me in. I'm sad she's missing the sunrise.

raine said...

This was VERY well done, and put me right there on scene.
Well-written!

Beth said...

Missy, thanks for the chuckle and the praise.

Raine, thank you as well.

Isn't it amazing the different takes on the same picture?

Ello said...

I have to say I really loved this one. I thought it was really well written.

Dottie said...

Congratulations, Beth. I took a run at sunrise this morning and thought of your story as I was climbing a very large hill. Luckily I was on a trail in the middle of an Arizona desert, so I was at little risk for getting hit by a car.

Sarah Hina said...

Congratulations on your well deserved placing, Beth. You framed this story so well, and executed it beautifully. Great work!

Beth said...

Thanks, gals. I truly appreciate it and really love the reading in these contests.

jason evans said...

Great, great concept! And I like the skipped numbers. That was a nice touch. Strong, tight writing. Very good mix of back story too.

Congratulations on winning 2nd Place!!