Nothing Like A Midnight Run

At around 6:30 we headed out deep into the forest. The sun already set over the horizon and now the stars twinkled in the sky. There was a warm breeze coming in from the west.

Excited for the race, I hid my excitement until I was touched on the shoulder by Sam. Quietly, Alec and I listened patiently to what Sam had to say.

"Okay, here's how this race is going to work. I'm going to run out about a mile and you two, waiting for me to scream 'run', are going to wait here," Sam pointed at an imaginary line. "Alec, you stand there and Ella, you stand there."

Backing up a few steps, Sam turned around, and started running. Feeling a little nervous, I turned around and looked at Javin. "You can outrun him." He softly spoke. From this inspiring quote, I managed to crack a smile. Javin then turned around and ran to where his other two brothers were standing, waiting to watch us take off. I looked to my side to see Alec with his arms folded across his chest.

"May the faster supernatural win." Alec said, smiling lightly.

To stay focused, I prepared myself to run by staring straight down the path Sam directed us to go. Prepping my body to use the "running trick", I stretched my legs and cracked my knuckles.

*****

In my mind, I knew not telling anyone about my "running trick" was wrong but Alec deserved to get a taste of his own medicine. The "running trick" is when I disappear up into tree tops and run from above. It is just a little trick my father taught me to prepare for aerial attacks. He pointed out that it was useful for outrunning animals to trap them and feed. I really don't favor the technique for feeding but use it for running and hiding.

*****

And in what felt like seconds later, Sam yelled out to us.

"Run!" Pushing forward, I started running. With my hands behind my back, I clasped them together and placed them just above where my tail bone is. With Alec ahead of me by a few feet, I effortlessly pushed myself to run in front of him. In a leap of faith, I jumped up onto a tree, still running. Not bothering to look over my shoulder at Alec, who was struggling to run ahead of me, I enjoyed the some-what violent night wind through my hair.

Defining gravity, I leaped into the next treetop and pushed myself up into a jump. Going up at least a hundred feet up into the air, I flew across hundreds of trees. Landing on a maple top, I slammed my hand into a branch and leaped down. I can see Sam in the distance just waiting for Alec and I to arrive. Quickly, I turned around to see Alec about 8 acres away.

I could feel my blood rushing, pulsing through my thin veins, filtering through my heart, and sweat trickling down the contours of my neck and the side of my face. My ribs and spine crackle from the zumba-style movement of my body. Not having any time to waste, I started running as soon as I caught my breath. Looking around at my surroundings, I noticed that I had fewer trees to jump on. Relying on the animal in me, I forced myself to run faster. When I saw Sam right in front of me, I stopped running and reached out for her hand. Panting lightly, I grabbed it with a weak smile across my face. Sam flashed a smile at me and her purple eyes reflected the glistening moonlight.

It wasn't long before Alec stood by my side, amazed to see that I'd arrived before him. I could tell that he was embarrassed by the look on his face. For a few seconds, he looked at me, smiling calmly. Trying to lighten up Alec joked, "If I'd known you were so fast I would have shut my mouth."

I laughed lightly at his comment and noticed how he reacted to my laugh. I could tell that he enjoyed seeing me smile and liked the sound of my voice. I smiled, trying hard not to overdo it.  Shockingly, Alec, even though upset about not winning, stuck out his hand for me to shake. I shook his hand and let my smile weaken a bit so he wouldn't get the impression that I was happy he didn't win.

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