His feet fell hard along the path. He thought to himself that maybe it was the running shoes. Maybe he needed to check with someone to see if it was really true that there were special shoes just for jogging. These that he also used to mow the lawn felt as though the sides of his feet were coming unsealed from the soles.
He slowed down, almost tripping over the lip of one concrete slab rising above another. It was still dark, almost too dark to see. Yet he knew it was there, and accounted for it.
As he breathed heavily, he put his hands to his sides and followed the path as it began to wind around the lake, off Peak Hill Road, into the neighbourhood. He heard his breath, coming hard in expulsive gasps. He felt the rolls above the seam of his gym shorts, and he tried to imagine if they were gradually lessening in size. Were they smaller than yesterday? Was that possible to gage?
The ducks floated on the like, immobile, like short, thick tree limbs.
He looked up at the sky, noticed the brilliance of the stars. Orion was the only constellation he knew, and it stood as the centerpiece. He knew there should be more stars, and he knew that there were no clouds, and he also knew (because he had read somewhere) that it is not so much smog that clouds the stars as light pollution. As the city worked its way toward Cinco Hill, there would be many more light, and these stars, shining high above him, would be pushed out, further out, toward Sealing. Or even to Toqueville.
So he decided to enjoy them now, at this moment, in this place, where the night was still inky black. He realized then the wonderful blanket of silence that surrounded him. He appreciated that. He thought to himself that in one hour and a half, almost exactly, he would be in the middle of a sea of red lights, and a quick blink and a move over, and the sound of 18-wheelers belching air brakes and diesel, and with the radio on the news and then work would be nothing but a constant gravel crush of wall-to-wall noise
but now. Here. Nothing. Beautiful nothing.
A duck quacked. Flipped its feathers. Some water spun off. Then, it returned to floating motionless alongside the other ducks, all motionless in the inky waters of the black lake.
“Shake off that dream, duck,” he said, smiling.
Then, he started up again his jog. His feet were heavy but he felt light.
Another jogger approached him from around the curve.
He never saw the knife. Nor did he ever know how many times the blade jabbed deep into his belly.
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