shoe printPersonal Best

by Elise Hunter

A man and a woman dash down a dirt path, light-footed and springing, like impalas. They are wearing Gore-Tex. The sun bears down on them in the treeless bends, but they move too fast to get sunburned. Besides, they have doused themselves with the best sunscreen, the stuff with Helioplex. On his ankle, the man is wearing a device that tracks his mileage, heart rate, and elevation change, and also syncs songs on his MP3 player to his pace. 

On the side of the dirt path, another man and woman, both whey-faced and short, stand in front of each other. They are whispering and smiling. She is grasping the seam of his unbuttoned sleeve. He fixes her bra strap, which had slipped down her shoulder. They are slouching into each other. On his ankle, the man is wearing a device that tracks his whereabouts and reports back to his parole officer. 

The runners see the other two embracing, and they slow, almost to a stop. Then they exchange quick, transactional smiles, and they pick up speed. There is a hill approaching, and they’re going to conquer it. The sun is setting on the horizon, and it’s golden and bright. They whip their tanned legs ever faster, each trying to beat his and her own personal best, in tandem and alone.

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Elise has never owned a smoke alarm that she has fully understood. Her flash fiction has appeared in Opium, NANO Fiction and Sparkle & Blink. She tries to make Twitter less of a wasteland with @HalfPintStories, and can otherwise be found at  elisehunter.com.
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