I wrote this for a school assignment sometime last year. I really liked it, even if it is a little different to what I usually write. It's Sophie's point of view on the first and second times she meets Ed. Enjoy!

Disclaimer: I don't own 'The Messenger' or 'I Am The Message.'

Rhythm.

Rhythm. One two, one two.

Breathe in, out.

One two.

The quick, light patters of my feet on the pavement, like summer rain. It's a beautiful morning, just me, my breathing (in, out), and the noise of my feet on the concrete. I'm alone in this empty, post-people, pre-people world.

Then I see him.

I don't think much of it. Even though I'm usually alone, I sometimes see a random taking the dog out. Besides. Everyone knows perverts aren't seventeen or so in grubby jeans. They wear trenchcoats and thick glasses and look like John Lennon. Or the guy who shot him. What was his name again?

Regardless, I run past him and run on and on, my feet pattering, one two, one two.

I almost forget he's there, as I'm so In My Zone. One two. I hate that term. Sounds like War Zone, one two, like K-Zone or Boyfriend Zone or Crossing Zone or, one two. But In My Zone does make sense. I see him again, then, standing between cars. Stubble, dark messy hair. He looks older than I thought, and I think I've seen him before on telly, or in the paper or – I see all of this with the clarity that comes from the one two rhythm and my breath.

At breakfast, Dad buries his head in the paper and I realize where the boy is from. The robbery.

Ed Kennedy. Twenty years old.

He is in between the cars every morning for a week. I make a point of ignoring him.

The next time I see him, he tries to run with me. I can hear him gasping for air. He's running in boots, running in shoes. I laugh, and that screws up my rhythm too.

Who runs in jeans, anyway?

I'm not puffed enough when I finish my laps. I don't have that burn, the lactic acid telling me that a barrier has been breached then – when you fight it and that delicious sense of being above it all, and falling and you don't feel anything. You see all, and you remember all and you hear everything.

Just you, and then the world.

I stretch harder, pushing my muscles to their limit. I'll be able to do the splits both ways, soon.

I want to walk over to Ed, who is expiring under a tree, but I can't bring myself to-

"Hello?" he wheezes, on his feet.

I can't look at him. Without the rhythm, I'm lost.

He takes a step. "I'm Ed."

"I know. Ed Kennedy."

He looks taken aback. "How do you know who I am?"

"My dad reads the paper and I saw your picture. After the bank robbery." He steps closer. "You know."

"I know."

It takes us an awkward minute of foot shuffling, but I finally blurt it out. "Why are you following me?"

"I'm not sure yet."

"You're not a pervert or something, are you?"

"No!"

Why is he looking at my legs then?

We talk awkwardly for a few more minutes and then, I run. I can't get the rhythm right, not even as I crest the hill and hit the home stretch.

Ed is who I want to be. He can talk without having to think about it first. But why is he following me?

Barefoot shoes.

Dad is bewildered, and doesn't say who they're from. I smile, and put them on.

Thanks, Ed.

I don't see him till after my race. Blood dripping and crusting on my leg, flies buzzing and landing on the holes. I catch him as he makes his exit, a slight smile on his face.

"Ed?"

He turns, hands in pockets. He tugs his right hand out and points at my knee.

"You'd better get that checked out."

I wave the flies away and nod. "I will."

As I speak, something ends. I should say-

"I just wanted to say thanks."

"For getting you spiked and hurt?"

For a second I feel the hard-packed earth under my arms and cold spikes piercing my skin and-

"No. Thanks, Ed."

He relaxes. "It's a pleasure." He relaxes, swallows. "You've got beauty. You know that, don't you?"

"Will I see you again?" I want him to say-

"Not at five thirty in the bloody morning."

I laugh, he laughs. And then he turns-

"Ed?"

"Sophie?"

I like how my name sounds when he says it. Like I'm special.

Maybe I am.

"Are you some kind of saint or something?"

A pause. A beat. Part of the rhythm.

"No. I'm not a saint, Sophie. I'm just another stupid human."

We smile.

He leaves.

I don't want him to.

To save you all a Google search, Mark David Chapman killed John Lennon. He was kind of a dick.

I hope you enjoyed it, and reviews are appreciated :D

-Nicola.