The dark hung above the marshland that ran from the road to the sea.
It was everything and it was nothing. It ran above the wetlands and over the dunes and on out into the water.
It moved in winter storms, or hung silent in the fog. The dawn banished it, but only slowly.
In the morning he would wake, rising into the winter blackness.
Because the routine was the man, he believed, he would put on his clothes in the same order each time, trying not to wake her.
He had run his route so often he didn’t question why he did it anymore, or if he should change it, or stop doing it.
He would run when he felt good, rested, and when he was tired or sick. Injury would stop him but he would always, eventually, run through that too.
He knew when he didn’t do this, or if didn’t do it often enough, he felt empty, like he hadn’t engaged with what the morning or with what his life offered.
He ran into the dark.
Ten minutes along the unlit causeway, the road linking the city’s edge to the dunes, he was alone.
He carried a headlamp and most mornings he used it, the thin blue light a comfort, though it barely showed the marshland’s edge.
But there were mornings he didn’t bring a light.
Then he ran by habit and experience, by guesswork and luck, facing ahead into the dark that was everything and nothing.