“I can’t run any further, Tom,” gasped Dave unsteady on his feet.
“We’ve got no choice – if we don’t keep going we’re both dead. Now run.”
Dave had looked at his friend before he took off again; the sincerity in those dark brown eyes was evident, as was the fear. The adrenalin pumped through his body providing the power needed to keep his legs moving. Tom moved ahead quickly. He was the athletic type, the kind who lives in the gym, gurning in the mirror as he pushes his muscles to every extremity. The only time Dave found himself doing any exercise was the walk to the shops for more beer.
“Hurry up,” bellowed Tom as he turned the corner in front.
Dave remained focussed, not looking back. He imagined people becoming a blur as he zoomed past them, although zoomed would not be how any passer-by would describe it. They probably wondered why some guy dripping in sweat, looked like he was about to drop dead from a mild jog.
Dave turned the corner and saw Tom in the distance.
“Wait for me,” he hollered after him.
He caught a glimpse of himself in a shop window as he passed by; he really did need to get himself in shape. The athlete was in front of him pounding the tarmac effortlessly. It was nauseating; no wonder all the women flocked after Tom. Dave once had a lot of female friends, although nothing more than that since he’d let himself go.
Tom stopped ahead and Dave managed to catch him up and came to a halt, gasping for breath, his throat burning as he sagged against the wall, his legs ready to give out.
“We can’t stop, you know what’ll happen if we don’t keep moving.”
“Not all of us live in the gym you know.”
“Come on Dave please, you can do it mate. I don’t want to leave you behind. I’d hate to think what’ll happen to you if I do.”
Tom put a reassuring arm round Dave’s shoulders and gave him a ‘come on mate’ smile. Dave nodded and they both set off. Within a few yards Dave was in agony again, and Tom was obviously holding back to give him some encouragement. They rounded another corner and Tom picked up the pace. Dave managed to keep up with him, even though his legs were screaming out in pain.
“Come on Dave.”
They ran up a flight of stairs that led to a small train station. There was a train with its doors open. The whistle blew. Tom was already through the doors, holding them open. Dave gave one final push and jumped on the train. They’d made it; they were safe.
“Thank God for that – Bill would have killed us if we’d been late for his stag night!”