Sprint (part 1)Mature

Kneeling down on one knee, a drop of saturated sweat slowly slithered its way down the brow of the Olympic hopeful. Only eighteen, there was a lot of pressure coming from the whole of Australia to represent them well for his first time on the track. Two weeks ago he had been confirmed by officials to be Australia’s 800m finalist, which despite the pride and happiness that it provided his friends and family, was something he had to suppress in all conversations to prevent attention being taken away from his best friend’s wedding.

“Are you sure I have to—“

“Shut up!” Coach Zebber barked back. “We’re going to do one last lap, that’s it, then you go can go to your silly wedding.”  The athlete glanced at his watch.

“But I’m already late!”

“On your marks, get set, go!” replied the coach.

The jogger started his lap of sprint training at breakneck pace, straining every muscle as far as they could stretch, pushing further and harder and faster and faster again and again and—

“Time!” Zebber roared. He looked at the screen. “Coah! Blimey!” The athlete just panted, panting on his back with shock exhaustion as his body began to recovering from the over-exertion.

“What, what was my time?”

“It… you beat Bolt’s Beijing record. 9.65 seconds.” The coach regained his composure, remembering he had to be fierce and strict. “Well this better be the standard that you uphold when you start and finish, because otherwise the others will leave you trailing in the dust. Oh and, haven’t you got a wedding to run to?”

The young man cursed, picking himself up and dialling a taxi while jogging to the door, swinging it open he called “bye coach!” before running over to the curb.

The Olympiad found it a bit strange then when he saw a light grey taxi from the same service he called pull up about twenty seconds after leaving the training centre. The window wound down slowly before a man in about his thirties stuck his head out of the window. He had a carefully trimmed goatee and a top hat that made him look like anything but a normal taxi driver.

“You on your way to the nearest St John’s right?” The man’s Australian accent sounded a bit strange, but the athlete had a more pressing question.

“How did you guys get here so fast?” The man shrugged in response.

“I was already around when I heard the call. I told the guys I’d take it.”

The athlete paused for a moment, unsure as to whether he should trust this over-reliable service. He nodded eventually and got in.

After the driver started the car, the athlete sighed his exhaustion.

“Tired are ya?”

“Yeah. Constantly running everywhere. Sucks sometimes. I can’t be everywhere at once, but I have to be. Being fast doesn’t help that much in day-to-day life I guess.” The driver nodded, understanding.

“What would you do if you could go anywhere you wanted, any time, any place, at just the click of a finger?”

The passenger paused for a moment. This wasn’t the sort of typical question a taxi driver would ask you, ever.

“Actually, you know what? That would be the most useful thing a guy could possibly do. But, nah. Is if that could happen.” The driver nodded again, he didn’t speak for another few minutes before the intercom next to him buzzed.

“Hey boss. The passenger has believed what they’ve been told; they’re now heading towards the pickup location.”

“Good. I’m heading to the arrival location; can’t talk right now, but I’ll make sure I pay you before eight, is that alright?

“S’alright boss.” The intercom buzzed out.

Meanwhile the athlete had been staring out of the window the whole time. His chin rested heavily on his hand as he thought about the wedding of his two best friends. The three of them had been inseparable at school since they were five and had been friends ever since. It was funny, he thought. He had recently been getting the impression that Ella had been trying to get his attention in a funny way but…no. He was being silly again, and besides, his two best friends in the whole world were getting married in twenty minutes and it would be the happiest day in all of their lives. Nothing more to it.

At that exact moment when Jaden Moore finished thinking about his ex-lover, a taxi drove past in the opposite direction. Her hands were pressed against the window; she shouted his name before she was out of sight.

Ella Peterson was running away from her wedding.

The End

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