Runner – Part V

This is Part 5 of my serial narrative “Runner.” (Here’s a link to Runner – Part I if you haven’t read that yet.)

You can enter the adventure two ways:

  1. Read the post below or …
  2. Download a PDF from the link here. (The PDF will contain Parts I-V.)

May you be swift and free!

***

Part V

Evan said the party after the race was a tradition. Most of the people at the party had gone through the initiation, and they wanted to see the new recruits. He patted me on the back, “Enjoy the party.”

I grabbed a can of Mountain Dew and leaned up against a wall. I wasn’t good at mixing at parties: I didn’t like having shallow conversations with people I didn’t know.

I noticed a young woman across the room. She had intense, restless eyes. Her brown hair was braided and pulled back from her face. She was drinking a glass of dark liquid that I guessed was wine.

Like most kids in America, I grew up in a culture obsessed with physical beauty. The Ancient Greek boys might have had Aphrodite of Milos, but she doesn’t compare to the images of Hollywood actresses and Victoria’s Secret models. Genetic anomalies blessed with ideal facial proportions and molded with Photoshop and CGI. They are daughters of Aphrodite. They are fairies and shades — digital gods from another dimension. As unreal as Aphrodite.

The young woman wasn’t a goddess or a super model. She was real, warm and flowing with life-blood. She was captivating.

Deacon was standing near me.

“Who is that?” I asked.

He laughed and grinned.

“That’s Angel. She’s one of our officers.”

I felt Deacon watching me. Sometimes I can tell if I’ll connect with somebody by observe them. She was alone like me. I had a strong feeling that we could talk.

I walked over to her. She looked up when I got closer. Now I could see she had light brown eyes with darker crystal streaks.

“You’re Angel,” I said.

I was nervous, and my words sounded alien in my ears. I wouldn’t have been surprised if she didn’t understand me.

“Call me Ava,” she said.

“Ava.”

I hoped I hadn’t offended her. But her expression was placid.

“You’re new,” she said.

“Yeah.”

She glanced down at her glass. “Do you know why you’re here yet?”

“I don’t understand.”

Angel smiled.

“Evan joined because this is a family that can be tighter than blood in same ways. He loves people, he’s a relational person.”

“What about Deacon?” I asked.

Angel glanced over at the big man. “Deacon is here because he’s a true believer.”

She looked back at me, waiting.

I started speaking, slowly making sense of why I was here. “At first I thought this would just replace basketball. Maybe I’d make some friends. But it’s more than that, isn’t it? I want something new. Something dangerous.”

I stopped. I hadn’t meant to share so much.

She nodded gently and spoke: “‘Long I stood there, wondering, fearing, doubting … dreaming dreams no mortal ever dared to dream before.’”

Abruptly she asked, “Do you have a parkour trainer yet?”

I shook my head.

“Good. I’ll train you.”

And that’s how I met Angel.

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