The Accidental Runner
The Accidental Runner11 mins 221 11 mins 221
Why am I running so freaking fast?
I want to stop. Why can’t I stop?
Why am I not at my desk? I need to turn in the report in an hour.
Where am I? This place is some fantasy land.
What am I doing here?
Why the hell can’t I stop?
Oh God! I might die if I don’t catch a breath.
Not only was Amar running but he was dunking at the sight of logs of wood hanging from the air and was jumping on top of boulders and planks and what not. He was running so fast that it was difficult to think straight as well. For a moment he wanted to look behind him to see what he was running from.
What on earth!
Who is this kid staring down at me and why is he so huge in size?
Wait a minute, he’s pushing me with his finger. That is why I cannot stop.
“Hey, mom!” yelled the kid still swiping as he glared into his phone.
“Dinner is served” came the voice of the mom.
“Just two minutes mom, I’m reaching the next level” yelled the kid in response.
Wait! What? That’s it! He’s playing Temple Run.
He’s playing Temple Run?
I am running in a game! No way! This is way past cool but man I need to stop.
Oh! This guy is going to kill me. Oh, dunk!
“It’s getting cold Nathan” was the caring voice of the mom again.
“Just two more minutes, my phone low on juice anyways!” yelled the kid again.
Oh no! This can’t be it! What if his battery dies out.
Will I die? Where will I go? Will I go back to becoming a real human again?
Amar was thinking about life and death and also about Deejay his colleague.
Isn’t this a favorite game of Deejay’s?
Yes, Yes, I remember having pointed out to him not playing during office hours.
“What’s for dinner mom?” were the faint last words that Amar heard as the kid was leaving the room with the dead phone lying on his bed.
Looks like I’m stopping. Oh! Finally. Thank heavens!
His eyes began to shut, and the head began to bow. The next minute was going to be crucial – life or death?
As his eyes began to open back again. Some kind of sound was blasting from a microphone and there was the sound of a large cheering crowd.
Oh! I’m back.
I’m on one knee – What? Am I proposing? But why am I looking down?
“On your mark!” the announcer finally said when the crowd went silent.
He looked up and stared at what he saw ahead of him – a race track.
No way! This can’t be a real man!
My legs are already hurting, and I have just caught my breath.
Don’t make me run again!
“Get set!” the announcer was not going to stop – not for him at least.
Here we go again!
What the heck am I running for this time?
Last time it was the whim of kid, a goddam kid.
Gunshot fired signaling a “GO”.
Amar lifted himself as best as he could and began running. Only now did he get a chance to steal a glance of what’s around him.
No way! No way! That’s Bolt! That’s Usain freaking Bolt. Is this a joke? – well, yeah, of course, this is a joke and a big one too.
Now, what am I going here? I just can’t run now; my legs are giving up.
I can’t keep up with them.
Oh, man! I so want to stop running. It is so embarrassing, I am already the last man.
Are these like the Olympics or something? Yup! There go five rings.
Whilst still running, Amar tried to look down at his chest to see who he was running for and in a matter of seconds, he missed a step and went rolling in pain with his foot in his hand holding the sprained ankle.
“One of the guys is down! The stretcher is on the way. He’s out of the race” was the fading voice of the announcer as he was losing his consciousness.
I know I’m passing out. I hope I’m just passing out and not dying. I hope I wake up in my bed and this is just like a bad dream.
As his eyes opened again, he is still running.
Oh! No! No redemption yet. What do You want? Just kill me straight up. Why make me lose calories before killing me. Like what’s the whole point?
This time no running shoes. But sandals with straps that went to his thighs.
Wait, when did these shoes come back into fashion?
Were these not like the ones that the Romans or the ancient Greeks wear?
Don’t tell me like I’ve time-traveled as well now.
Whoa! It looks like it. There’s nothing around – literally nothing.
Just this goddam field or mountain or whatever.
And how do I know where to go in this God-forsaken place?
He noticed that his hand was not empty this time. There was some kind of a roll of paper that felt heavy and leathery to the hand.
Whoa! Whoa! Is this like some kind of parchment or something? Like a letter from one king to another. This could be anything like a declaration of war or a peace treaty – Oh! Ho, Ho! My legs hurt, they hurt so bad.
“Hello! Can I stop, like just for a second – whoever it is that’s making me run? Please!” He yelled out in the air for the first time since this whole thing had begun. Although he knew that there was no one around and no way to know what’s going on.
“I guess you won’t understand – half these words might be Greek and Latin to you in this land. Well yeah! We are using you guys’ names in our proverbs!” He continued talking to the air but thought it would be best to get back to the self-talk you know just in case some Roman soldier showed up and killed him right there for like talking a foreign language or something.
I bet I am some important ruler’s messenger. I could literally be carrying some extremely important message you know like that might affect history or something – no that might affect the future – the future in which I actually live. Should I just like open and see it. Oh! I so want to open it. But I guess it might not be right.
Ah! This pain! My whole body aches. Why won’t this all just stop?
I think I see something like a fort.
Is it really? Could it really be?
I have a feeling I need to get this thing there.
But God! That is so far still. I might take the whole day to reach there.
As he got closer to the fortress he was contemplating what he was going to say. Hola! Howdy! was one option but then again, he had his life to care for, so he thought best to let actions speak louder than words.
Wow! Look at that guard! Straight out of a costume party all metal-clad armor-bearing stance and all – but only real – and seven feet tall for sure.
So, I think I’ll just hand him the goddam thingy and let’s see what he says.
Amar handed the parchment over to the guard with both hands and all and bowing down and all whilst praying for his life and waited for his reaction.
Ok. There you go. He does speak Greek and Latin. Only which one I cannot tell. If he could just show me some action you know it could just speak to my heart.
The guard read the parchment and straight away reached for the bow and arrow and aimed it at Amar’s heart. That was reason enough for him to faint one more time.
I could really use death at this point in time actually instead of fainting and landing on another stupid run. But alas your body has a mind of its own.
Oh boy! Was he correct! He had fainted in the Roman Empire and landed straight to the time when the man had to hunt – hunt for food and could be hunted – hunted by the wildest.
Why don’t I have any clothes on except for this shabby skirt-like thing? No! You gotta be kidding me. I’m in the jungle. The place smells different and feels different. I have no shoes and still, I am managing to run like crazy. Why on earth am I holding a spear? Oh, freak! Do I have to kill that animal? No, I am not going to. Then what will I eat? I’ll eat the berries and the apple or whatever they get here. I am sitting this one out. You bet I am. As if it’s in my control. My freaking legs won’t stop. Okay enough, I am aiming for it.
He missed. The animal escaped. He had no more weapons. He was now the prey. He was still on the run. But he could not outrun nature. Well, he was not eaten or anything. He fell into a large ditch which opened straight into another place and another time.
He was just regaining his wits when the cheering voices began falling on his ears and it seemed like a crowd this time around as well.
“Well played Amar! What a save!”
“The fainting in Rome was a classic move man. Good work!”
“I love you, Amar!”
“You got super lucky with the ditch in the end man. Otherwise, you were a goner.”
Amar was staring at the crowd in front of him with a blank face. He had no idea what to make of this. It was his own people this time – his everyday people – the people he kind of hated – the ones he wished he would never have to meet again. He often wondered whether they thought the same about him. As he began his walk towards his desk, he began wondering how all of them knew about his journey.
Did they somehow see me while I was gone? But how?
They know everything. Should I ask someone? I might look like a fool.
Right now, I am their hero. But why?
And why was the receptionist yelling that she loved me?
Wait a minute, Usain Bolt – that’s boss’ idol. And Roman History that’s the HR rep Sheila’s favorite – she knows it top-down and bottom-up. And then, of course, my arch enemy to add the final icing on the cake – Nikhil’s pet subject – Evolution and the journey of man. And I had already figured the game guy. But how and why?
Reaching his desk, he almost turned white looking at the yellow Post-It note that was stuck on his computer –
Well played Amar. Looking forward to the next one.
Welcome to the Corporate Hunger Games!