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Running Red

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Tim’s lungs were burning, his legs aching, sweat dripping down his back as his feet pounded against the ground. He wondered why he had agreed to this, why he had done this to himself. He could hear footsteps behind him, pushing him to run faster. He couldn’t let them catch up, couldn’t let them catch him. He had to beat them, had to win. Jason was counting on him to win. He was so hot and his vision was starting to go blurry and black around the edges. He could see the end, just a few feet in front of him, and pushed himself harder, faster, the thought of Jason the only thing keeping him going. Then he hit the red ribbon, heard the bell ring, and collapsed to the ground, lungs heaving as he tried to catch his breath. He was gently picked up and carried into a covered area, where a cold water bottle was pressed into his hand. Tim brought the bottle to his mouth, taking a deep swig of the ice-cold water and feeling it slide down his dry throat. It was heavenly and Tim tried to chug the whole bottle until it was gently pulled away. Tim gave a pathetic whine and cracked one eye open as Jason stated, “Sorry, Baby Bird, but you’ll make yourself sick if you chug it. Slow sips.”


Tim pouted, but obeyed, watching as the second-place runner in the Wayne Enterprises marathon crossed the finish line and was led over to the tent. Jason kissed the side of Tim’s head and teased, “You look like a tomato, Baby Bird.”


Tim leaned into Jason, the burn in his lungs starting to abate, and answered, “That was horrible and I hate you for talking me into that.”


That earned him a loud laugh and Jason kissed the top of his head, replying, “That’s fair. But hey, at least it’s over now.”


Tim nodded, closing his eyes again as he took another sip of water. Jason played with Tim’s hair gently, pressing a new water bottle into his hand when Tim drained his first. Finally, the speakers crackled and Lucius announced, “Thank you to all of our runners. In third place, we have Tracy Whitmore, from the Accounting department. Her charity of choice, the GCPD Widows and Orphans fund, will be receiving 20% of the funds raised today, 1 million dollars. In second place is Taylor Thomas, with the IT department. Their charity of choice, Art for Youth, will also be receiving 30% percent of the funds raised today, 1 million dollars. And finally, our first place runner is Tim Drake, Wayne Enterprise’s own CEO. His charity of choice, Healthcare for All, will be receiving 40% of the funds raised today to be used to build the Catherine Todd free clinic and drug rehab center in Crime Alley. The final 10% of today’s funds will be distributed evenly between the charities of our other runners. Thank you all and have a lovely day.”