‘You have to push harder, Superman.’
It was his coach’s refrain. He was trying. Only…
‘Do you want to be a credit to the Party?’
That was the issue wasn’t it? How can you run for a concept? For yourself, for your country but for an ideal?
Joachim shuffled his dusty shoes. ‘I had that toad Schiffer here. Said they expect a win this weekend, or…’
Joachim shrugged. ‘Boy like you. Those muscles. They’ll find a use.’
Hans smiled. ‘Something for Superman?’
‘Don’t hold your breath.’
‘Nothing challenging. Carrying stuff.’
‘What are we building?’
‘To keep them out.’
Hans nodded. Of course. He looked at the lights sparkling from the Western sector. They were rushing over.
‘You’re meant to be fast. Well, let’s see some action.’
Hans watched the wall grow. He listened to the others, heard about camps and controls, things he had been hidden from when training. The time to escape was shortening.
An idea formed and drove him back to the track. He trained hard, ferociously. His times came down. Whispers began. Maybe he should be allowed back onto the programme. When Joachim approached Hans he smiled.
The day they finished the crossing to the West was a Tuesday. Dignitaries were there, a lot of pomp, to inspect the workers and glory the fatherland.
Hans twitched, waiting the moment when the barrier went up.
He ran, like he’d never run before. Curving towards the startled guards on the western side. He’d show them glory.
The finishing line was in sight when a crack, like a hamstring snapping jolted him to a halt. As Hans fell, Joachim’s words, when he first saw him run, came back. ‘Like Superman.’
Not true, as Hans knew. No one was faster than a bullet.
This week’s microcosms prompts were: Sprinter, Berlin, history. Please visit and see if you’d like to join in.