15:32 - October 16'th
Finally, a cool day, I'd thought. The sky was blue, there was a lazy breeze blowing, and overall it was just a perfect day to go running the trail by my house. It was just a little twisty path through the woods, but there were quite a few people that could be walking on it any time of the week.
I usually ran two laps, but today being the first day not to break eighty degrees in a while, I figured I'd go a few extra. I'd passed the same old couple and dog walker three or four times, but now on my last lap I hadn't passed either. Not that I was complaining, there was always that awkward stretch as you were running towards each other. I'd rather avoid it if I could.
As I rounded a corner, I did finally come across some life. There was a very overweight man ambling down the trail, coming my direction. He had only just made a turn himself, and I was caught between a smile and a grimace. On the one hand, he was a perfect example of what I'd just been thinking. On the other hand, he was a perfect example of what I'd just been thinking about.
The guy was just taking his time, one awkward step before the next, looking to all the world like some kind of zombie. His breathing was labored like he'd been running the whole track, and he was slouched over at such an angle that my back hurt just looking at him.
His red hoody looked like it was stuck to him, and I didn't even want to think of the reason why. I just kept facing straight down the trail and paid as little attention to the guy as possible. As I drew closer I could hear his panting breath. Does this guy think someone's about to take the air away? Sheesh.
I was just about to pass him. The sigh of relief had been inhaled, all that need be done now was to exhale. And exhale I did, when a grey fist smashed into my chest and knocked me off my feet. Skull met tree root with a solid thud, and stars danced before my eyes.
The panting man launched himself at me, but not before seven years of various self defense lessons had jump started my body to act, even if my brain was still lagging behind. I flipped myself over and sent a jarring kick to the side of his face, but not nearly hard enough to cause the kind of damage it dealt. The entire side of his face caved in, teeth and blood went flying, and the man wasn't moving.
I sat there, panting, the adrenaline pushing my heart faster and faster, but the shaking in my limbs only seemed to worsen. I reached a hand up to my forehead where a pins and needles feeling was crawling over my skin, followed closely by a deep burning pain.
There was some blood speckled across my face, I knew, but I hadn't known any of it was my own until I touched the red river streaming down the side of my head. My poor brain was giving out, and the thought to fight the darkness creeping over my vision never crossed my mind. All I wanted was sleep.
And once I woke up, all I wanted was to eat.