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Short Shadow Running Club

Trapped in an Exclusive Club

I don't know if I'm being punished or rewarded. I just keep running.

Log Entry 1:

My name is Heathcliff Chevalier, or at least that was my name when I was alive. I think I’m dead now.

The last thing I remember from real life is that I was running on the treadmill in my basement. I was annoyed to be running inside, because, just last week, I was running outside with temperatures in the sixties. Then, out of nowhere, came one of Greenbud’s famous early spring snowstorms, and I was back inside.

I love to run, but I hate the treadmill. It’s so boring.

That’s why I had a TV in front of the treadmill at home, and on that last run, I was watching ‘Breaking Bad’ on Netflix. During one of the scenes in the desert, you know, the ones with a high, scorching sun, I found myself wishing to be there. I longed to be out in the desert, with the sun beating down and the sweat rolling down my back. Really, I just wanted off the treadmill.

A second later, there was a pain in my chest. I tried to keep running as I clutched at my heart. I stumbled for a few more steps, and then everything went white. That’s it. I don’t remember anything else from real life. If I spent any time getting from there to here, then I don’t remember that either.

Sure, it’s kind of pretty.
Until you realize you can never leave.

When I entered this world, or became conscious in it, or whatever, I was already running. Or was I still running? I really don’t know. But I do know that I was no longer on my treadmill in the basement of my home. Instead, I was running along a highway in the desert with sun directly overhead. The temperature felt like at least ninety-five degrees.

It was exactly what I had wished for. The only problem was that I couldn’t stop running. I tried, but my body just wouldn’t comply. I did have some control. For instance, I could speed up the pace, or I could slow down. Also, I could turn my head to look around at my surroundings. I could even take a drink of water from the bottle in my right hand. But I couldn’t stop running.

And I’m still running. The sun never moves, so I don’t know how long I’ve been here. I’m wearing a watch, but when I try to look at it, I can never see past the glare on the face. There is music playing through a set of earbuds that I cannot remove. I have no control over what songs I hear, but since it all seems to have been drawn from my personal collection in real life, I can live with that.

One big bonus is that the bottle of water never runs out, and it’s always cold. Despite the fact that I am constantly running, I never get exhausted or want to sleep. Sometimes, when I hear a song I really like, I will run a little faster for a while. But I can’t keep that up forever because I start to get winded. It’s always hot, so I sweat all the time. But, honestly, I like that part. Just like I did in real life.

I don’t know if I’m being punished or rewarded. I just keep running. If this is what I’m obligated to do for eternity, I guess it could be a lot worse. I just wish it wasn’t so lonely and boring. After running for thousands of miles, I have yet to see any people or even vehicles on the highway. And the only thing that changes about the scenery is the occasional hill.

It’s boring, but it’s still better than the treadmill.

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