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The Pursuit

Posted by StarMountainKid , 07 January 2014 · 297 views

The Pursuit

I had rested a while against a shabby building in an alley when I heard my pursuer's footsteps getting closer. I looked back to see a figure turning the corner. I awoke from my reverie and bolted into the sun-lit street. Pausing to look around, I decided west was the most advantageous direction, though in reality I could have chosen any point on the compass.

I ran down the dirty sidewalk of the street past shabby little storefronts, butcher shops, shoe stores, dress shops. All flashed past in a blur of succession. There weren't many pedestrians on the walk at this time in the morning, so my progress was unimpeded.

I covered about three blocks before I dared to look back. Yes, my pursuer was steady in his sprint, keeping the same distance behind me. I was thankful for that. Ahead I spied a wide boulevard. When I reached it I turned to my right and kept running. This thoroughfare was divided by a grassy strip. I was getting into better neighborhoods now, though that mattered little. There were tall apartment buildings on either side of rather elaborate and intricate architecture. I noticed several residents leaning on balustrades of little balconies in one elegant building. They watched me absently as I ran past in my haste.

.There were more cars moving on this boulevard and more people strolling on the sidewalk. I often had to weave my way through little groups, but luckily I ran no one over and no one impeded me.

After several more blocks fine houses began to appear alongside as I ran. I noticed some homeowners in their yards, some picking up the morning paper from their doorsteps, some gentlemen coming down their walks on their way to the office, children dawdling before school. How I envied these people.

Now my breath was getting a little short and I knew I would have to rest somewhere out of sight. I turned onto a tree-lined side street. At the end of the block stood a tall oak tree of some girth. There I rested for a moment, panting and peering back for any sign of my antagonist. He hadn't turned onto my street yet, so I had the luxury of a moment of respite.

I decided next to cross the little street and go down a lovely lane of old but respectable homes. I started out hoping my pursuer would have to consider which way I had gone before the chase resumed.

Looking around, I knew in what direction I was traveling now, out of the city and toward its suburbs. I wasn't sure this was a good plan, but I was tired of exploring the city with its occasional dangers and unexpected obstacles delaying my progress. To the suburbs it was.

Although I occasionally run out of breath, running along as I had been for some time now is not as tiresome as one might think. One gets into his stride, the breath settles down to an adequate rhythm, and after a while it seems little effort is expended as the yards and leagues pass underfoot. Now, it may seem odd to you how I can run and observe my environment at the same time. I suppose it comes from long practice. As I say, one can study one's surroundings almost at leisure at this pace, and all in all, it's not a totally unpleasant experience, though there is always the knowledge that one is constantly only moments ahead of the adversary.

The sun was now high in the sky as I ran on. At my steady pace, my mind sometimes wanders, and I often even forget to what purpose I run, but then I am startled back to reality, the sudden realization of my situation comes sharply to mind, and that my pursuer is always not far behind.

In these moments I sometime wonder of the mind of the one that is constantly following, trying its best to race ahead of itself to my final capture. Does it also observe its surroundings flashing by as I do? Does it have an appreciation of the steady world around it, moving on so slowly in comparison to its relentless pace, or is it a single-minded rushing on with only one thought, only one objective, only one conclusion that fills its entire consciousness? I did not know, and would most likely never know.

Now well within the suburbs, I looked to see small but modern and well-kept houses pass by. Neat lawns, hedges and freshly painted gates barring any unwelcome intrusions into the healthy and regular lives of their normal occupants, their lives an accustomed familiarity. I envy these as well.

My pursuer, now gaining a little, spurred me on to greater effort. I zigzagged, turned suddenly down lanes, trespassed through well-manicured yards, leaped over low fences and concealed myself in obscure places. But I am always discovered, and must sprint away with untiring swiftness.

With these efforts, having now distanced myself somewhat from my pursuer, I have a moment to tell you that, after a day of these maneuvers and attempted evasions, night inevitably comes, and if I can stumble upon a hole or burrow or some form of cover I consider secure, I can spend the darkness in uneasy and temporary and transitory reprieve, daring a few hours of apprehensive and restless slumber, always troubled with fretful dreams of sudden discovery and seizure by my antagonist and accuser.

In the mornings that follow, I awake with the knowledge that I must flee once more, always to outpace and therefore to survive one more day to its exhausting and arduous conclusion. This, my friends, is my life and the life of my appellant, a relentless and unceasing escape from that which assails me without pause and without remorse.

Now, as the sun was beginning to set, I found myself some distance from civilization. I had come to farmlands and pastures, meadows and copses. As I crested a slight hill in some unknown field, I looked back and could see clearly the figure who was my constant companion, my shadow, my relentless attendant and colleague, standing solitary on a rise not a great distance away. I stopped and turned to face this thing that would never renounce me, never abandon me, and never relinquish its ceaseless obsession of resolve.

We stared into each others eyes for it seemed and endless moment of shared recognition, trance like and breathtaking, as in a mutual embrace of immense significance.

I shuttered in dismay and turned away, not able to bare the brutal reality of the devotion and intimacy of its piercing gaze. I felt the other turn away from my eyes as well, with the same terror of familiarity and comprehension.

Then I staggered on, not daring to look back again. The pastoral scene before me, once clear and bright in its golden evening sunlight, became dim and misty as bitter tears flowed freely from my weary eyes and rolled down my sunken cheeks. Tears that stung with remorse and self-betrayal. I stumbled forward, not knowing or caring whence I moved. I now knew I and my pursuer suffered as one, and our profound and sacred bond would never be severed.

My vision cleared, and I ran on.

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