Chapter 1:

A Jesting Race

A Jesting Race

Why did I sign up to this race? I faulted to myself,
blinded brink by the shore-shivering, sun’s core.
I knew it forecasted a heatwave,
yet I applied, nonetheless. Bookmark here

If there is one fact to know about me (name’s Mickey by the way),
is that I despise warm weather.
Winter has always been my favourite time of the year due to the plastered,
casted, coat of pure white, powered porcelain to mess about in.
What does summer have to offer? Nothing. Yet I applied, nonetheless.Bookmark here

Recently, I bought a shimmering glint of trainers.
They were titanium white, wrapped in burgundy laces.
Not expensive, nor cheap, but it was love at first sight
and I was willing to fall head over heels for them.
Last time I applied was with a worn and torn ‘pear’ of bananas strapped to my feet,
mushed mouldy, toes between. If I were to guess what excuse got me to go,
it would’ve been the ripe mangoes which I salivated to sample.Bookmark here

Today would be the day, no one will make fun of me, nor my shoes, this time,
my sub-conscious wavered. At that moment, a fellow racer came up to me,Bookmark here

“Nice shoes, how about trying a tie next time though.” They smirked,
forcing a low tilt from me, down to my neck, spotting their finger pointing into view,
down to my cherished, paired-cherries of trainers, their branches snappe- or not,
nothing was wrong about them, I was dazed in question,Bookmark here

“Huh, what do you mea-?” I was to have wholly puzzled, if their finger hadn’t recoiled,
flicking with a thwick, sprung up at my chin (it’s summer not spring!).
I joke about that time now, my gullibility leading to the classic ‘your shoes untied’
trick, head, or in this case chin-first.
But back then I seriously would’ve punched them 
(if they weren’t a 6ft tall jock, that is).Bookmark here

Rubbing my chin’s pain off the whiteboard,
I did some stretches before getting into place, awaiting the game’s send-off spell.
Mocking me, the sun glared, stared-fill at my prickly cacti-cried eyes,
through my snow-framed glasses. Leaned, knee-steel hanging mountain-over,
I readied for the raring signal to shoot us off.Bookmark here

3…Bookmark here

2..Bookmark here

1. Bookmark here

Go!Bookmark here

I barrelled forth, pouncing over to a speedy, splashy, crashing river-rapid pace.
Hurling onwards, I felt the wind surging past,
only to catch up and leave it in the dust. Bookmark here

Neck and neck, joint first with four others,
one looking left, right, back and forth every few seconds.
Must be paranoid I thought, slowing down to let my ego catch up.
They kept looking back to me as I passed them,
they kept looking forwards as they passed me;
both of us speeding ahead from the other three, both of us gun-glued, fixed for first.Bookmark here

Two laps had been passed, I exerted myself further,
holding my head high and tensing all the muscles I had for even the slightest boost.
Above soared a pelican, it overtook and shot off, how envious I was.
Maybe, just maybe this race could perhaps give wings to my past naïve,
optimistic life; after all, the heat was unbearable,
yet I applied, nonetheless and was glad having done so. Bookmark here

Irritatingly, the bird was still stuck in my mind.
I could’ve sworn that bird looked down at me
, I thought to myself,
frustrated by the sheer thought of ant-like treatment towards me
and sped to my most, out of spite to the bird’s mockery. Bookmark here

My ears ringing silent,
the wind on my shirt tugging and a great blast hitting my wrist,
sliding down to my knuckles,
I gust in speed, later rising to a storming bolt of lightning,Bookmark here

“Hello?” a voice muffled,Bookmark here

“Helloo?” there it was again,Bookmark here

“Are you listening to me?” the words planked,
snapping me out of my otherworldly trance.
I looked around; I was half a lap ahead, nobody was behind near me,
yet again I could barely see out of my steamed-up glasses’ lenses. Bookmark here

“Ouch.” I yelped, tearing up. Alerted by a left knock to the head,
I turned my head to see my rival in placement, looking a bit annoyed,Bookmark here

“Your shoes,” they croakily chimed, pointing down to my feet.
I ignored them, recalling seeing them arriving with the jock from earlier.
No chance was I falling for that again. Yet again, my shoes felt looser than usual,
no, my mind’s tricking me, I persuaded to myself,
coated in the urge to look down at my shoes. Bookmark here

My breathing was heavy, I just passed the third lap, one more to go.
One foot after the other, I kept going,
motivated by the melodic beat of my heart, determined to win.
Then it happened.
I tripped.Bookmark here

Tumbling, barrelled,
I rolled, spinning forwards,
eventually halting to a poor man’s snow angel, thinned like a pancake.
Pushing myself back up, I noticed through my glasses’ haze,
my shoes were without a doubt untied.
They likely weren’t fastened tight enough;
it was a mistake that I had to overcome.
I was far enough ahead, I just had to be quick.
I grasped one lace and went for the other, wrangling for it,
finicking over a hold on the slimy worm, evading my clutching clasp,
finally grabbing it, perturbed by the mucky,
dirt covering my sparking, sing-new shoes.
Wrapping around the other lace, looping it through,
I tightened them into a lock, about to shape it into a loop,
when I felt it popping off from the knot, that’s weird, I thought to myself,
it slithered away from the shoe’s clamp, but why?
I rubbed my eyes with my wrists, feeling oddly moist and watery,
forting base to the worms in hand, readjusting focus when I realised… Bookmark here

It was a worm!Bookmark here

Chucking it off to my right, I felt something wiggly inside of my trainers.
I must have torn it in two before because half a worm was slugged,
slobbering both my socks and the precious, brand new treasures I held dear.
Noooo, I cried, turning paler than a vampire with a fever.
Desperately, I reached for the insect’s corpse, trying to pull it out,
slipping past my fingers, digging deeper down.
Continuously, I hoped to latch on, each time potting lower,
nagging me to reach into the abyss and mangle us both blast-back out. Bookmark here

Turning to look behind me I saw some of the other racers catching up.
I’ve got to be quick, I told myself, hastily ripping my shoe from my feet,
flipping it over and shaking it with all my strength.
Nothing was falling out.
I bashed at its heel, my shoulders sore, sweat oozed all over,
some drizzling down my forehead.
I took my hand back and wiped away the sweat from my face, my hand sticky,
smelling of feet and smelling of… oh, I sighed, spotting the pelican’s gift,
glued to my wrists, slinking to my knuckles
and in-between the edges of my fingers.
A frown crashed down, I wasn’t disgusted, nor simply sad, I was just…
no that would be a lie, I was grossed out, verged on tears,
I felt the wind wafting by, it took my shoe with it,
I reached out in attempt to hook onto it, focusing only on that one thing.
Everything was dark, a pitch void, hoarse with a quiet silence,
just my screams washing up in the wind, lifting droplets of liquid and surfing away.
It seemed though it were all in slow motion,
I could see the dirt-white drops gifted pityingly to me, being stolen,
wiped away in the waive tides of gust,
clear blips of liquid surging, cast from my eyes.Bookmark here

I looked behind me, I can still win, I had forced myself to believe.
No one seemed to have caught up yet, they were still way behind,
I optimistically gloomed, stumbled sobbingly forwards,
nobody has overtaken me yet, is what I held on to.Bookmark here

Still determined to win, I stumped over,
eventually making my way to the final lap.
Losing track of time, I continued, not sure how long it would take to finish,
or how long I had been going for. Bookmark here

Taking the final step, I reached the finish, snot searing down,
waterfalls gushing out of my eyes.
Holding my arms up high I screeched in victory,
I did it! I cheered to myself, thinking of all the pain I went through,
the exhaust I knew I had to go through, yet I applied, nonetheless,
and I was glad to have done so.
Smiling, overflown with joy, heart held high, I did it,Bookmark here

“Last place”, the words echoed through my mind,Bookmark here

“Huh?” I befuddled, my voice breaking in two,Bookmark here

“Here, your participation reward.” the words wryly chuckled.Bookmark here

I stared at the plastic medallion, it was the shape of a shoe;
and at that, with my efforts wasted I went home and thought to myself,
why did I sign up to this race?Bookmark here

A Jesting Race Cover

A Jesting Race

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