From the Inside Flap
I slow down as I near the end.
"HOWARD!!" Xavier yells, pissed off.
I grab onto the chain-link fence and bend over, panting and humiliated. "I can't."
Draik mutters really quietly, "He can't do it," so I know I wasn't meant to hear it. And the thing is, had it been a couple months ago, I wouldn't have been able to. But I did hear it. And it makes me angry.
He. Can't. Do. It. All my life I've been hearing that. My whole fucking life.
A heat launches into me. One I've not felt since that night at Kruglov's, and never before then. I don't have a name for it because it's foreign, but it feels like there is literal fire in my chest as a voice inside my guts says, I can and I will.
The dirty fence clatters behind me as I push off from it, running with gaining speed. My hair starts to tingle, wind whipping though it. The exposed parts of my skin feel cold from the sudden sting of the chilled night air. My muscles come alive, burning and expanding like they're growing with every hit to the sidewalk even though my feet feel separate from me. I let go of my mind and allow my body to show me what it can do. My arms pound back and forth, maintaining my balance. I start to make a sound I've never made.
I hear Xavier say, "That's it," from a faraway place. "He's feeling it."
I make it to the fence, whip around and race back in the other direction, pushing myself to cut however little time that took, in half. My chest feels like it's going to explode in volcanic ash.
I'm pure energy. Possibility. I'm ALIVE.
I run so fast that, unable to stop my velocity, I hit the fence with a loud SLAM.
Falling in a heap on the ground, I begin to laugh.
Draik and Xavier stroll up to loom over me, and I'm still laughing. They've got grins on their faces bigger than I've ever seen.
"You found it," Xavier says.
I pant, "What? What did I find?" smiling wide.
Draik tips his head up. "Courage."