Stiles started running. When he ran like this, cold and empty, his head changed, became on edge and quiet and strong like steel.
The pounding of each foot on the sidewalk was like the feeling of his heartbeat through each bone in his body. He likes that now, that the body, his body has become this, a connection of bones to stomach to brain, to fingertips, to mouth, to feet. There are no nerves in this system.
It feels like the beginning of a lifetime movie, getting lost in the ethereal piano music playing in his head. He could imagine Lydia Martin all in white, floating like some spectre or banshee over him, singing softly in an other-worldly key. When he ran on nothing, he felt other worldly.
He was the best nothing in the world. The most invigorating brilliant thrumming waste of space. Limitless. It was nicer than reality.
Stiles Stilinski was running in his red La Crosse tracksuit, the air cold on his buzzcut, on his slightly too soft cheeks. His eyes were glazed honey, focused. Light flashed through the trees like strobes, reminding him of the club last night. Of all the people who had suddenly been covered in blood. Of the tiny creatures Scott had traced down with the others, with Isaac and Peter. Of how they’d gone, leaving him to stare at the bodies, and realise he should probably go too. The darkness had been stifling that night.
And then tried to zone all that out. He had to focus on breathing now, on how the breath was getting hard to keep, was being ripped away from him. Out of breath. A nasty thought. Unfit, out of breath.
As he rounded the corner back towards his house, the Sheriff passed on his way out to the car. The man was smirking, doing a funny running impression, dragging in breaths.
“How far, boy?”
“Hey, Daddy-O. Two miles.” Stiles responded, with his usual cheer, and grin.
The Sheriff slid past to the car, sliding in. “Don’t forget your school work, okay kid?”
And Stiles kept jogging inside.
The kitchen seemed cold and stark after his shower, and Stiles flipped through the paper, shirt and jeans still sticking to his skin slightly after his shower. There was half a slice of dry toast in his hand, and the backpack was already on his back, but he had half an hour to lose on his own in the house. Sometimes he missed the sound of his mother’s laugh in the kitchen, and in the halls. He missed her pancakes, and her angry views at the news, and the paintings she’d be halfway to finishing on the table beside her food. How there was rarely room for his father or him to eat their breakfast. She’d taken so much space up with the things she’d made.
There was always too much space now. A lot of empty space.
He text Scott, fingers cold and slightly damp on the keys.
[SMS://; Who you gonna McCall? ] Dude, did you get back last? Are you okay? Be at school! DO NOT BE DEAD. Did you die? PLEASE DO NOT BE DEAD.
The image of Scott covered in blood, wolfed out and angry, ripping out someone’s throat. Even a bad guy’s throat. The feeling that some night, it would be the other way around.
Looking around him once more, the toast in his mouth felt over-chewed, lumpy, sour-tasting. He spat the mouthful into the bin.