FLASH FICTION:-- HORROR, SCI-FI, HUMOUR, CRIME, SLICE OF LIFE, ETC.

Friday, 28 March 2014

Breaking even


“We're not gonna make it, are we?

His voice was weak, his breath ragged. He was giving up.

“Shut up and keep running.” I snapped back.

We had managed to stay ahead of the pack, but they were close behind, I could almost feel them breathing down my neck.

Out of the corner of my eye I saw him stumble slightly, he was going to go down. I reached out and grabbed his hand, pulled him roughly along, forcing him to keep up.

I squeezed his hand tightly, grinding his knuckles inside my own, hoping the pain would give him that extra ounce of fire in his belly, that one more molecule of determination.

I was not leaving him behind, if he failed, we would fail together.

This was it, I gave a final burst, dragging him along with me.

I punched our clasped hands forward, using them to break through the tape.

A few yards further we both collapsed to the ground.

Less than a second later the rest of the pack followed, some falling to the ground as we had, some running on a little further before coming to a standstill, hands on knees, gasping for air.

I reached out and grabbed him to me. We clutched each other tightly as tears rolled down our faces. Exhaustion, relief and euphoria all adding to the moment.

We had competed against each other all our lives, as twins do.

Last year I had taken Silver in the marathon, and he the Bronze. The year before, the positions had been reversed. This was our last year, we were both retiring from competitive sport, and it felt good to be going out breaking even.


©2014 Stephen. J. Green.

20 comments:

  1. Oh nice story, for a moment you had me believing they were running away from something nasty, rather than running to victory. Good story as always Steve. ^_^

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    1. Thanks Helen, the lead-up was intentional misdirection on my behalf though. :-)

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  2. reminded me of those brothers (twins?) from Yorkshire who got Gold & Bronze in the triathalon in the Olympics. Man that must be some competitive household to grow up in!

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    1. I admit, It does sound a bit like the Brownlee brothers Marc, although I didn't have those in mind when I wrote it.

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  3. I thought, at first, that they were running from monsters but am so glad it turned out to be a more touching and triumphant finish for them. Great story Steve!

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    1. Thank you Deanna, I think if they had been running from monsters they would have broken that tape much sooner. LOL. :-)

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  4. Ha! I wonder how that'd feel, both of them looking up at the Gold. Allegedly the psychology of Silver and Bronze winners differs drastically, the latter figuring if they only did one thing different they wouldn't have to be on the podium at all, the former fantasizing about being at the top.

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    1. It must feel like a hell of an achievement getting that gold medal John, personally I think that anyone who makes the olympic team at all have good reason to feel proud of themselves.

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  5. Like some of the others, I was wondering if the "pack" represented something more ominous. Glad to know it wasn't. Also glad to see the competitive spirit only existed to help each other beat everyone else, not to beat each other. A good story, Steve.

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    1. Thanks Stephen, I was quite tempted to fill the lead-up out a bit more, reinforcing the feel of them running from something vicious, but decided I quite liked it in the short version that I already had. :-)

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  6. Great bit of misdirection at the beginning—like everyone else, I figured they were running for their lives. Great idea that they retire with a tie!

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    1. Thanks Larry, I did wonder if a tie finish like that would be officially legal though, because one of the twins actually helped the other across the line. I did like the idea behind it, and the feel-good factor though. :-)

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  7. Wonderful story! One could easily sense the warmth and the triumph they share, not rivals, but equals for the win. Nice mislead in the first half, Steve!

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    1. Thank you Cindy, it's nice to pen the occasional one with a good ending. :-)

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  8. Glad this one had a happy ending. I thought they were doomed!

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    1. Glad you liked it Richard, thank you. :-)

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  9. LOL I thought it was going to be more scary than it was!

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    1. Hi Sonia, I hope the ending didn't disappoint though. :-)

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  10. Am I horrible if the first I thought was, "uh oh, now the organisers will have to get a second gold medal, stat!"? I didn't clue in that it was a marathon at first -- I was thinking human prey being chased by mutant foxes in the annual hunt. Or something. Definitely the chase depiction was effective!

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    1. You may have a valid point about the medal stat Katherine, I'm not sure if an assisted finish like that would be allowed.
      And as for the mutant foxes chasing men? Hmmm.... #fridayflash material for another day perhaps? :-)

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