The Long Road Ahead This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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   It was a cold, but clear morning. A long, narrow stretch of road lay ahead that I was to travel. I pulled my hands into the sleeves of my windbreaker to keep them from freezing as I took several deep breaths to calm myself. Unknowingly, I began my journey into hell.

For the first few minutes I felt really good, for I had a very vague idea of the torture that I was about to go through. The process was very gradual. The pain steadily increased as I journeyed down the road. By the time the pain had reached its peak, it was too late to turn back. As I continued, the pain seemed to dissipate, along with my energy.

It was so hard to keep up. The life that was once in my head slipped away. The scenes around me began to blur, nothing was well defined. I lowered my eyes onto the road, only to look up and see the same scene each time. The waves softly rolled onto the shore, tickling the sand, and then retreating its finger-like movements back into the ocean. The sun shone high, glaring into my eyes. It would have been such a beautiful scene if I had had the strength to enjoy it. Time had slowed down; it was going to be a slow painful death.

I was so tired, too tired to breathe even. I took in short, heavy gasps, which only tired me out more. I had to breathe. Inhale. Exhale. Take slow, deep breaths. But soon I was back to the short, unrhythmic pattern again. I stopped for one moment, but I saw her figure coming toward me. I continued on, gasping for air. Her presence intimidated me, pushing me farther along. She didn't seem to care that I was ready to collapse.

I could feel death entering my body. I could taste the dry, scratchy blood lingering in my throat. I wanted to stop, but she was right behind me. I wanted to give up, but my destination was near.

I finally arrived, coughing and hurting all over. There seemed to be a hollow space where my lungs used to be and I felt so light. My energy and life slowly came back. Air finally filled up my lungs again. My torturer came and congratulated me on a good run. I groaned inside. Why did I ever join track? n


This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.






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