The gravel crunched under his feet as he ran. Each impact was heavier than the last. His breath came in desperate, reaching gasps that roared in his ears. The air felt like fire in his lungs. Despite each breath filling them to capacity, his lungs felt empty of oxygen and filled with fire that ran down to the lead in his weary legs.
Each step was harder than the last. Each breath more excruciating than the last. Each movement driven by sheer willpower pushing against the wall of pain. And so he kept going for what seemed like the entirety of existence.
He had to keep going.
Everything was quiet around him, except for the repetitive crunch of his feet on the road and his breathing in his ears. Everything was silent in the half-light, the Sun’s rays barely made it over the horizon and the sky was mostly dark.
But, far away, somewhere, somehow, there was something out there. A shapeless, formless horror was hunting him. Old and dark and deadly. It slithered and stalked and stank. It was tireless and endless in its pursuit, but he could run. He could keep moving. He had to keep moving.
Crunch. Crunch. Crunch…
He opened his eyes. The light from the crack in his curtain cut into his eyes and he blinked. Pushing himself partly up he glanced at the time beside his bed and groaned.
“That can’t be the time already,” he sighed, sitting up in bed and swinging his feet to the floor, “God, I’m tired! It feels like I’ve just ran a goddamn marathon!”