They watch us and we walk.
I know not who I am; I know not who they are; I only know that I must walk, and that's what I do.
I walk for hours, walk for days, for years, and I keep walking, my throat parched and my feet bloody, and still I keep walking. For them. They watch us and we walk.
Our feet are sore, blistered, more scab than skin, now. And yet we walk, despite our destroyed legs, mangled feet.
I can't even bear to look down anymore; my shoes have burst open, revealing the bloody mess within. I don't think I could withstand the sight of them anymore.
Who I'm walking with, I'm not sure; I see a teenaged girl, a construction worker still in his neon vest, a few nondescript men and women like me.
I think there's less of us than there used to be, but I'm not sure. Was that woman, with the mousy brown hair and glasses, there before? Walking for so long puts a strain on a working mind.
Regardless, they watch us and we walk, occasionally bumping into each other, but no apology comes past our shredded lips, our parched throats, our dry mouths.
We walk far past when we should've shut down, from heatstroke, from thirst, from pure exhaustion, and a part of us knows it is their doing, or maybe it is only the fear of stopping.
They watch us and we walk.
They tower over us, far past our heads, far past where the head of a giraffe would be, five giraffes, all stacked on one another, and into the abyss of the starless sky, harsh glowing eyes the only reminder they're watching.
I watch solemnly, as I walk, as a woman stops, stubbornly plunking onto her ass, and gets absorbed by the fog, the only sound in the distance her scream before it's cut short.
We find her later, splayed on the ground like a dissected hog, her organs neatly laid out by her sides, and her chest cavity filled with a viscous black liquid.
We quicken our pace, lest the same fate befalls us. They watch us and we walk.
Curious. Two large stone columns in the distance. I look around. It's me and the construction worker. I keep walking.
The columns stretch into the sky like them, parallel, marked with a pattern of black and white squares.
A memory inside of my brain, digging its way through my grey matter, calls out a word that I'd long forgotten: "goal".
Goal. I speed up. I run. Goal. Goal. Goal. They cheer, a strange buzzing sound. They cheer for me. I erupt into a voluptuous grin as my feet pass the monoliths, pass the finish.
There they are, offering me a medal, an amulet with strange runes carved into it. I hear a scream in the distance; I care not. I have a medal, I've finished, and it's mine.
I blink, and I'm back behind the finish line. "Wait," something inside me says, mewling pathetically, "why are we back here?" The medal weighs heavy on my neck.
I look around me, see men like me, women like me, even a child. Their feet are mangled, their faces are pale and thin, and their expressions are emotionless.
Somewhere in my brain, in that hideous mewling voice that once brought me such joy, I hear another word, but the voices say it before me, before the voice in my head can say the word.
Somewhere above, rumbling in the sky, a voice calls: "Round 2, Start."