Copyright 2012 by JB Richards
Daniel jogged through the woods, eyes unfocused yet taking in everything around him. His chest rose and fell with steady, even breaths, despite the miles he’d already put behind him. The smell of cedar trees and mulched leaves wafted to his nose as he ran along, welcome and inviting. The woods were alive with the sounds that so many other people would miss or ignore - the gentle creak of branches, the swaying of leaves on the wind, the faint calls of birds that whispered through the air to him. A smile touched his lips, a smile of freedom and contentment.
After a long while he paused, feeling the burn in his muscles. Once, not more than a month ago, a jog of even a few dozen yards would have winded him, putting a stitch in his side and raking at his lungs like hot coals. Now he was certain he could maintain that pace all day if he had to. Sometimes he ran, just to see how long he could keep it up. He hadn’t grown tired yet, though moving about on both his legs had almost become alien to him, despite two decades of familiarity with it.
Sharp eyes darted around the thick woods, tracking any movement. His ears brought no sound of people. Nodding to himself, he stripped, pulling off his well-cut clothes and folding them with care before placing them in the backpack that he pulled from his shoulders. The twilight air swirled about his naked body, caressing hard muscle, sending a shiver through him that had nothing to do with the chill he barely felt.