What bores you?
A murder of crows, startled by a branch cracking beneath my foot, settled once again high in the branches of the trees silhouetted against the pale sky. Their large black bodies bounced up and down on the spindly twigs at the very ends of the branches. It made me think of a line of mourners, all dressed in black, bowing their heads as a coffin passes by. The trees reminded me of those diagrams of human lungs with bronchi branching out into bronchioles. Dead leaves, wet with the early morning dew, made no sound as my feet pounded on the forest floor. My breath warm in the wintry air cooled immediately and condensed to form clouds of vapour through which I ran. With each step, pounding on the dark earth, I felt my cheeks sagging down and then return just to sag down once more.
The rhythm of my steps echoed in the forest. No one else was to be seen. It was as if time was in a loop. Step, sag, bounce, puff, step, sag, bounce, puff. On and on, step, sag, bounce, puff. In the distance I could see the path curve and follow an old moat which used to form part of the defences to the fortress around which I ran. Step, sag, bounce, puff. The curve in the path grew closer, almost imperceptibly but nevertheless closer. The dew dripped silently from the black branches and made splattering sounds as they fell on the sodden leaves below. The curve arrived. I glanced at the water’s edge and started to follow the path round the long bend. My steps slowed. I licked my dry lips and felt the cold saliva in my throat as I swallowed. My feet stopped. The puffs of breath clouded the air. I felt my heart pounding.
In the water, a bloated body bobbed gently. Face down with a barreled back and milky white fingers spread eagle in the water. A crow cawed.