Run | Teen Ink


August 25, 2019
By Reagan0703 SILVER, Bakersfield, California
Reagan0703 SILVER, Bakersfield, California
7 articles 0 photos 1 comment

“How about a race from here to our neighborhood?” Maddox questioned. 

“You’re on, just don’t cry when you lose,” I smiled. 

Ready! Set! GO! I took off running on the right side of the cracked pavement making sure I was pacing myself so I could beat him. Cool autumn air filled my lungs as I greedily sucked in as much as I could, leaves crunched beneath my feet, and my hair swayed along with the tree branches. There was no way I was going to let him beat me, not a chance. I pushed myself a little harder just to be a bit ahead of him. We were already almost halfway there all I had to do was keep this up. 

But then there I was tripping and falling face forward onto the hard cement. It felt like it was happening in slow motion, my hands reaching out to catch me, my feet trying to find a way to touch the ground before my body hit it, and my eyes desperately wanting to find a way out of this situation. I hit the ground with a loud smack, my shoulder ached and all I wanted was to lay there and not move.  Until I saw it in the corner of my eye. Fear surged in me, I couldn’t move. It was like I was frozen in ice waiting for something or someone to come and save me, but I was too far gone. 

“Hey May, you ok?” Maddox asked concerned. 

“It’s the fi-e-l-d,” I stuttered. 

“Oh yeah, we used play run there. Don’t you remember that game?” he asked. 

I didn’t reply I was still shaking, I remembered alright, it’s a memory that I don’t want to remember but can’t forget.  In fourth grade, Maddox, Layla, Trey, and I went there to play a game we made up called Run. They played a prank on me where they left me there all alone, little did we know that there was a coyote. I remember it's grey fur shining bright in the moonlight, its mouth twisted into a snarl, and its eyes full of hunger. I can still see myself running away from it, fear was the only thing that made me want to keep running.

“Remember when we played that funny prank on you?” Maddox chuckled. 

“There was a coyote, I could have died!” I screamed. 

“Oh, I forgot about that part” he whispered. 

I elbowed him hard on his shoulder and gave him a stern glare. I love Run, it’s my favorite game, even though that incident practically ruined it for me. 

“How about we go to the field tonight, we could get Layla and Trey,” he stated. 

I couldn’t figure out what to do, Stay or Go? Stay alive or possibly get eaten by a coyote? Hmmm ... staying inside the safety of my house sounds nice but I do like the game Run. 

“Fine, but you have to promise not to ditch me again” I replied sternly. 

“I promise,” he responded. 

“Promise what,” I thundered. 

“I promise to not ditch you Maytaya.”

I knew he was telling the truth because he never used my full first name unless he was serious. We continued to jog to our neighborhood when he stopped urgently.  

“Empty your bag” he demanded. 

“Ok ok calm down your freaking me out,” I uttered. 

I opened my bag: two notebooks, a laptop, a few papers, and a letter for my eyes only. His eyes landed on the letter, his hand stretched out to get it, but before he could I swooped in and grabbed it. 

“Is that the letter we wrote about our game we made up?” he asked. 

“Maybe but I can’t tell you,” I smirked. 

This was not the letter he was talking about and he definitely couldn’t see it. This is for my eyes and only my eyes. 

“Please let me see it,” Maddox begged. 

“Not today, maybe some other time,” I babbled. 

“Fine, meet me outside at 6:30. Trey and I will already be out there can you get Layla?” He questioned.

“Yeah,” I answered. 

We continued to jog the rest of the way home. When I reached my house I ran through the door, swung my backpack off my shoulder and sat down on the couch. I texted Layla, my other best friend, to come over so we could go to the field. About ten minutes later I heard the doorbell ring. I ran to the door and flung it open. 

“MAY!” she exclaimed happily.   

“Layla, I haven’t seen you in forever!” I yelled. 

“You and Maddox should come to my school. I hardly get to see you guys,” she whined. 

“I know, Maddox would probably like it too since Trey goes there,” I smiled. 

Trey is Maddox’s other best friend, we’ve all know each other since kindergarten and have been best friends since. Layla and I talked forever until we heard a screeching noise. It was loud and high pitched, I grabbed a pillow as if it could protect me. Then we saw a light, a person, and then a flash. Something, no, someone, was here! Who? I did not know. I heard another high pitched noise and then I realized it was me and Layla screaming. The figure got closer and closer, I couldn’t move. Fear had paralyzed me just like when I saw the field. Two figures swung open the door and ran at us. 

“HA HA HA HA, we got you guys so good!” Trey chuckled. 

“Yep, you are such scaredy cats, especially you May! You should have seen your face!” Maddox laughed. 

“You better hope I don’t get my hands on you!” I thundered angrily.  

Both their faces went pale and they ran out the door without a second thought and Layla and I sprinted after them. Maddox was right though I have always been such a scaredy-cat. Before we knew it we were at the field, I felt a cold shiver come over me and a voice in my head screaming, stop-go back, but I shoved it away and continued on with a smile on my face. But it seemed to get louder the longer I ignored it, go back! May! What are you doing! Stop! I just pushed them back farther. 

“You’re ok,” I whispered to myself, “You’re fine.”

  The branches danced to the whistling of the trees, the leaves that were filled with so much color in the day looked black and dead in the darkness like a warning to get away before something would come.    

“Ok here are the rules for Run! When the person who is it says, run and everyone scatters, then you find a hiding spot, you CAN’T hide up in the trees, try to get other players to be seen, or go out of the field. You can hide in the tree part of the field as long as you don’t climb up the trees and hide up there. The person who is it after yelling Run counts down from 30 once they get to zero the hunt is on. All players must either say I can’t run once the person who is it finds them or has to run and find a new hiding spot or if the person who is it tags them. If you say I can’t run you are practically saying that you are out. The game ends when the last person says I can’t run or gets tagged. The first person to say I can’t run is it for the next round.” Maddox states out of breath. 

“Is this clear?” I add. 

“Yup,” Trey smirks. 

“Yeah!” Layla cheers. 

“Ok one two three…” I reply. 

“Not it,” Trey yells. 

“Not it,” I beam. 

“Not it,” Layla chimes. 

“Guess I’m it,” Maddox responds warily, “Run.”  

I sprinted toward the right side of the field more towards the forest, I quickly notice a little ditch in between a small cluster of trees and sit there listening for even the smallest noises. I inhale the cold night air letting it consume me, the weather feels so algid. A bitter chill rushes over me, why did I come here? What was I thinking? Leaves rustle all around me as the wind sings a lonely haunting song. SNAP! I whip my head around and see Maddox creeping closer, I walk cautiously the other way. I walk quietly and watch my every step to make sure I don’t step on a branch.  Once I’m out of eyesight I take off, letting myself feel free. I turn around to another snap to see him catching up to me, I don’t know how saw me but he’s gaining speed fast. I sprint around the tall trees weaving in and out of them like a snake slithering around rocks. I jump over a high branch and turn my head back to see if I lost him. Good, he’s gone! I keep running just in case but then my world goes black. Like a night sky with no moon or stars just black and only black. I feel dizzy and lightheaded. Where am I? I see a vicious face running towards me, it’s sharp teeth threatening to bite me, and it’s cold glare reaching into my eyes. I can’t move, I can’t hear, I can’t breathe, my vision gets more and more blurry by the passing second. Help, I try to yell but nothing comes out. I try to pull myself together and run, all I could think about was running, but it was following me. My worst nightmare is chasing after me what can I do but run. I’m not fast enough soon it’s on my heels, the only thing I hear is its vicious growls. 

“Run,” I tell myself, “Just run!”  

I could hear someone yelling my name, it sounded so familiar but at the same time I couldn’t recognize it, I was too busy running. Running for my life, my cheeks flushed red either from the cold or from me running nonstop. But then the voice was back, MAY! MAY! MAY! WAKE UP! It was just repeating I grabbed my head and kept telling it to be quiet. I need my letter, where did I put my letter! I never told anyone about the letter I used to believe that what I wrote in there would keep the fear away, that it would lock it up and keep it sealed. I guess I still kind of think that way.  I had always been too embarrassed to tell anyone so I kept it a secret. I need it, I really really need it, it helps me cope with my fear. I went pale, my palms were sweaty, I bit my bottom lip I need it! No, I need to focus on running away from the coyote. Then I heard the voice louder, MAY! MAY! MAYTAYA! It’s Maddox, I think, where is he why can’t I see him? The coyote jumped forward barrelling right towards me, I didn’t have time to react. 

“AHHHHH! There’s a coyote! We need to RUN!” I screeched.    

“May, your ok. It’s us Layla, Trey, and Maddox. You're ok,” Layla whispered. 

My head was pounding, I didn’t even want to think. I gently touched my head where it hurt, a huge bump at formed on the left side of my forehead. I hissed in pain, why now? Why do I always get hurt? 

“Do you remember what happened?” Trey interrogated. 

“I was running...I think. I was running away from Maddox and then I turned around and….and….everything went black. Then there was a coyote.” I mumbled.     

“No wonder we found you under this branch, you probably looked back and ran straight into it You should be more cautious, what if we hadn’t found you then what?” Maddox asked. 

“Could you guys just stop talking and let me lay down for a second, everything's so blurry,” I whispered. 

It was silent either because I passed out again or everyone was being really quiet. I layed there just wondering how I was possibly going to get up. I didn’t even want to move, I was paralyzed either from fear or hitting my head or both. That’s when it hit me, all I ever do is run. I run from people, I run from problems, and I run from my fears. I only know how to run, I only ever run. I have to stop running, cause eventually whatever it is is going to catch up sooner or later. 

“Let's head back, May needs to get some rest,” Layla mutters. 

“Yeah,” Trey agrees. 

Layla helped me walk back to my house where I went straight to my bedroom to go to sleep. As I layed in my bed I thought about my letter and realized that it can’t stop the fear, maybe it will slow it but the fear will always come. I have to face it. But I don't have to face it alone, I have friends who will always stick by me. 

“No more,” I whispered to myself, “No more running away.”

The author's comments:

Run is based on the fact that in this day and age it can be hard to face your problems or talk to others about them either for the fear of judgment or just not feeling safe enough to open up out it. In "Run" May learns that she should face her problems instead of running away from them. While at the same time she learns she has friends that are there for her and who will support her and help her work through any fears or worries she might have. I used the letter in the story to symbolize it as keeping your fears or emotions bottled up or sealed. Keeping your emotions and worries inside can ultimately make you feel worse. And May learns this throughout that eventful night that takes place.  

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