This isn’t actually a writing prompt. This idea for a short flash fiction came to me while I was in the shower. Once I was dry and dressed I went to the computer, sat down, and just wrote.
I missed last week due to picking up two extra shifts at work on the days I would normally sit down and write my Sunday Scribble. Oh well.
Out For A Run
My breath comes in in gasps. My hair whips around my face, lashing at my skin. I keep running. Just one more mile and I’m done. One more mile and I’ll have set my personal best record. I keep running, fighting through the pain.
The path I’ve mapped out takes me off the main pedestrian trail and onto a smaller side one. It’s not paved, the dirt loose and rocky. It isn’t used often, but I don’t care. I like the challenge the uneven ground has to offer.
It feels as though the trees are closing in around me as I continue my pace down the eerie path. I refuse to let my body slow down, even though my lungs are burning. I focus on the bright light at the end of the trail, where the sun is shining, trying to fight it’s way through the thick trees around me. I stare at that light, knowing the end is in sight.
My foot catches on something. A rock? I don’t have time to look before I find myself splayed across the ground, coughing up the dirt and dust I’ve inhaled as I gasp to catch my breath and find my bearings.
The smell hits me first. I don’t know why I didn’t notice it sooner. I gag and try to hold onto my breakfast as I scramble to my hands and knees, swiveling my body around to find the source of that odor. I fall to my butt, my hands braced on the ground behind me. When I find my target I’m surprised I don’t throw up. I think I’m too shocked.
Small, whitish-yellow maggots are squirming over what appears to be a branch or log. I look down at my running shoes and see a few stuck to the laces. I shriek, kicking my feet wildly, trying to fling them off. They cling for dear life and I scramble around with my hands to find a stick to knock them off of me. After searching the rest of my person for more of the vile creatures, I take a moment to catch my breath. I’ve forgotten about my run.
I squint at the maggot covered object. The more I look at it, the more I realize it doesn’t really look like a stick or a log at all. Taking the stick I had used to knock the maggots off my shoe I stand and poke at the object, scraping the maggots off.
I stumble away, dropping the stick. I can feel my heart beating in my ears.
The maggots I’ve cleared away have revealed bone. Bone covered in decaying flesh. And the real shocker, a human foot, complete with dirty pink running shoe.
I inhale sharply, ready to scream.
Before the breath can escape, I feel someone behind me. A hand closes over my mouth, the leather of its glove catching my scream.