Author: Blake Pierce

"When your legs get tired, run with your heart," Davina Bright muttered to herself, staring ahead at the unforgiving lights and the endless curve of the indoor track. It didn't look inviting, she thought wearily. Instead, it looked intimidating, and even threatening.
Scraping back a lock of sweaty blonde hair, she forced her aching legs to move, heading out for yet another lap.
The upcoming race, in three weeks' time, was her last chance to qualify for the Boston Marathon next year. Seeing it was in her home city, running this marathon had always been a dream of hers. It was one of the top marathons in the world, and one that thousands of elite runners aspired to.
But numbers were strictly limited, and that meant qualification was tough. This was her third year of trying. She was hoping that in three weeks, she might be able to finish the upcoming qualifier inside the time.
This week was her last of intense training. After this, it would taper off in preparation for race day.
She glanced down, checking her fitness watch, looking at her heart rate and her running time.
"Too slow," she muttered, feeling disappointed with herself, and wondering how it was possible to force her body to give any more speed. Her legs were done! Her feet, in their expensive neon pink running shoes, were aching. Telling herself to run with her heart was no longer helping. That uplifting motivation only went so far.
The fact was, she was exhausted. She'd run for an hour already. She'd finished some intervals, done a few sprints, and now she was on the track going for sheer, torturous distance. She'd gotten here late, and the track manager had agreed for the indoor stadium to stay open another half an hour so she could finish her full workout time. But what use was it if she still didn't qualify? Her legs were killing her, her arms were heavy and weak, and her chest was tight.
She was tired, and also frustrated. Why was it that, after doing so much work, she was still not seeing the results she wanted?
Before she knew it, as she ran, she was cursing under her breath, quietly, angrily, muttering about how she was tired of not making it. This race she was preparing for was her last chance, and she was tired of being tired.
And now, there was someone else in the stadium behind her. What was that all about? She thought she was the last person in here tonight. Now it seemed to be open season.
Whoever else was here, was running fast. A lot faster than she was.
Gritting her teeth, Davina glanced around. Being lapped, right now, was the last thing she wanted. Talk about a humiliating end to a bad session.
The man behind her was running at speed. That was for sure. He was powering along the track, from the far end, all the way toward where she was now. It was as if he was training for a sprint.
And there was something weirdly featureless about his face.
Looking around again, Davina saw, with a jolt, that he was wearing a flesh colored ski mask. It made his entire face look blank. It was as if a faceless man was on this track.
That was her first thought. Her second thought was - why would anyone need to wear a ski mask when training? It wasn't cold, and the track was under cover.
There was something about the intent with which he was running that was scaring her.
Davina was starting to wonder what would happen when he caught up with her. She suddenly realized how alone she was. Just him and her, in this giant, otherwise empty, indoor stadium. Nobody would be here until after she left. She guessed they’d lock up for the night at some stage, but it wasn’t as if anyone was waiting for her to leave.
Maybe he had opportunistically come in, and was just planning on doing a quick run. But that mask? It was eerie. Thud-thud-thud, the footsteps approached behind her.
There was a way she could check if he was really just doing some exercise. To her relief, she saw a small track, looping back to the entrance at the halfway mark. This would allow her to get off the main track, and that would mean he would just run past her, and she would stop feeling this vague but intense sense of threat. At least it would set her mind at rest.
The small track was only a few yards ahead. Reaching it, she veered left, now running directly back toward the entrance door. She wiped sweat away from her forehead, aware it was stinging her eyes, but more importantly, it was blurring her vision.
She wanted to see if he was coming after her.
"I'm sure he won't," she mouthed the words, too tired and breathless to speak them aloud. She was probably just exaggerating this entire scenario in her own mind because she was looking for an excuse to quit for the day. Lazy, lazy.
But also scared, in some instinctive way that told her this was bad news, that this man was not just here for exercise.
And as the footsteps veered in her direction, she realized with a shock of fear that she'd been right. He was chasing her. Why else would he veer this way after her? She glanced behind her again. Yes, he was on the smaller track, and he was sprinting toward her with a clear, silent intent in his body language. She was not misinterpreting this. He was chasing her!
"No!" she screamed. "Help!"
But she realized that using her voice was just going to waste energy. Energy she needed to get out of here, to get away from him.
With a new surge of speed, drawing from depths she didn't know she had, Davina sped up. She could do it. She could reach the door ahead of this man, and get out, and get away.
She flung herself forward, nearly losing her balance as her ankle twisted under her, but managing to right herself and speed on, because everything depended on this. The exit door was only twenty yards in front of her now. This was the end of the lap, and she could just run outside, and she would be safe.
It was so close. She was going to make it, she was going to be able to get outside. She grabbed the door, pulled hard.
And cried out in horror. The big door should have swung open easily. But it hadn't. It was stuck fast, closed. Desperately, she struggled with it, banging on it, shaking it.
"Let me out! Help! Let me out!"
She swung around, her back to the door, screaming.
The man with the mask was now racing directly toward her, something gleaming in his hand.
And she was trapped.
"Ethan, please be okay. Hang in there. It's not as bad as it looks," Cami Lark gabbled, feeling sick with anxiety, her heart constricting. FBI agent Ethan Myers was lying face up on the paving, gasping for breath, his handsome features sheet-white, his lips blue.