Quinn just wants to run faster. A SCREAMS 500-word contest entry for 1/11/20
|"...11th place.....Quinn Harding!"
The young twenty-something cursed her performance. Only months ago, Quinn earned a top 5 finish at the conference championships, positioned to be the top long distance runner on the team this season. Now she was fighting to secure her varsity spot. The track season was not starting well....
“Jesus, just run faster!” she told herself hours later, walking down the outdoor mall near campus, spying a new store she had never seen, “The Runner’s Edge”.
Stepping inside, Quinn’s eyes rolled at their laughable selection of sneakers, reminiscent of a 1970’s Sears catalog. Not exactly cutting edge performance.
“Looking for something in particular?”
Quinn gasped in surprise from the salesperson who alighted behind her. He was a gaunt, grey-haired man who gave Quinn a creepy vibe as he placed a finger on his cracked lips, looking her up and down, suddenly stopping to stare almost hypnotically at her shoes.
“A runner! I have just the thing!” he exclaimed, retreating to the storeroom.
Quinn pondered leaving, but as he called out, “Size 8, correct?” she decided to stay. He at least seemed like a professional.
Standing up, Quinn wriggled her toes in delight. It was incredible. The shoes felt like a pair of UGG slippers. Bouncing on her toes, Quinn marveled at how good they felt...how good SHE felt.
“And they are for running?”
“Oh yes! But beware…..speed kills!”
Quinn halfheartedly chuckled at his quip, quickly exiting the store after paying.
“OK, showtime!” Quinn said, rocking on her heels, preparing to take off down Bacon Street. She felt fantastic, a feeling of unbridled, raw power oozing from every muscle, ready to explode on command. She felt...fast!
Quinn laughed maniacally, shooting like a rocket through the town with preternatural speed, her silhouette a flesh-colored blur to anyone that could see her.
Bacon Street came and went in seconds. Then the city limits...state line...Canadian border. Her speed and stamina were unearthly!
Racing into Canada, she made a superhuman game of it, blazing across the two continents, zipping between coastlines -- even UP the sides of skyscrapers. It was exhilarating, covering distances it would take years, even decades, to normally travel.
Zipping back home, Quinn knew running competitively in college -- and even in the Olympics -- was laughable now.
“Wait! I could be a superhero!” Quinn thought, untying her sneakers and begrudgingly slipping them off.
Immediately something was wrong.
Quinn’s newfound energy receded quickly -- and then kept going, sapping her vitality remorselessly. Her hands horrifically began to age, her youthful skin morphing into spiderwebs of wrinkled flesh .
Racing to the mirror, Quinn’s blonde locks shockingly greyed.
“What’s happening?!” she screamed in bewilderment as her cheekbones slumped, her face growing more gaunt.
Suddenly understanding every second saved with the shoes was a second lost without them, she motioned towards them.
Fatefully, her now-arthritic knees collapsed underneath her, her hip bone snapping as she fell . Her body decaying, Quinn remembered the clerk’s presage as she took her last breath...