The Fifteen Minute Novel: 207

The Fifteen Minute Novel is a novel written fifteen minutes at a time with each week day’s section starting with the sentence from the previous day. At least it is attempting to be a novel. For now I am just aiming at one continuous story, worked on for fifteen minutes each day. Started Friday January 1st, 2021 (in case you want to search for the beginning. I can’t wait to see where it ends up. It could be good, or it could be a mess. We’ll have to see. For now, here is today’s fifteen minutes.

Day 207: James didn’t bother looking for them, but concentrated on catching his breath and calming his pounding heart.

James didn’t bother looking for them, but concentrated on catching his breath and calming his pounding heart. For a moment it battered against his ribcage.  He concentrated on his breathing as he was allowed his period of walking.  To his surprise the racing of his heart slowed to something less painful rather quickly and his breathing evened out.  He accredited it to his recent swimming.  Beside him Terry was puffing away.  Small red spots appeared on his cheeks.  Worried he might collapse, James kept an eye on him as they moved around the track.  He was relieved that after a few steps Terry’s breathing became less a gulping for air and more of a heavy intake.  The spots of color faded.  By the time Gary’s whistle signaled them to run again, Terry seemed to be doing better. 

He tried not to smile as Terry nearly growled at the sound of Gary’s whistle.  Still all of them obeyed the call and began to run.  James still felt his body jolting in ways he felt unfamiliar, but he remembered his breathing so was less wiped out from the section. It seemed less of a shock to his system.

‘Oxygen is a wonderful thing.’ James thought.  Again Terry huffed and puffed beside him, finally regaining his breath during the walk.  Again James watched the spots of color fade.  With each run walk cycle, the spots took longer to fade. 

“Last Run,” Gary called.  He blew his whistle. They all started to run again.  Even though he was still breathing well, James felt like he needed to catch his breath.  The first few cycles were fine, but slowly he could feel the effort.  ‘It’s like the laps,’ James thought.  ‘I just have to work my way up.’ 

His legs felt heavy and he was certain his pace slowed to less of what he used when he walked.  Still he and the three others in his little group were all moving at the same pace so if he was slowing down at least he was slowing down in concert with the rest.   There was some satisfaction in that.

As the whistle blew ending their last run cycle and beginning their walking cool down, James recalled the high-tech couple.  He couldn’t recall seeing them for a while.  On a couple of laps he managed to get glimpses but it was mostly a whoosh of black lycra and brand logos seen out of the corner of his eye.  He thought about looking around for them, but decided it was probably not a good idea. 

He glanced over to Terry.  The spots blossomed and became larger, encompassing most of Terry’s cheeks.  Oddly he looked better. Terry caught him looking and smiled.

“Just the cool down left,” Terry gasped.  “And then we are done with this.”

“For today anyway,” James answered.  He sounded out of breath but not as badly as he feared. 

Terry’s face fell with the reminder.

“Sorry,” James said.

Terry waved away the apology. “My own fault for signing up.” He snorted and shook his head. “Still we are both doing better than some.”

James frowned and looked towards the two ladies in front of him.  They were out of breath but seemed to be doing a bit better than both he and Terry.

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