Run: A Short Story

Fiction is my passion. I love reading it, and I love writing it. A few years ago, I had some short stories published and even wrote a book. Just as I started seeking publication, though, life happened. Now I’m writing again, and to celebrate, I decided to share an original story.

Run was published a few years ago on a friend’s blog as part of a writing challenge. She gave four writers the same photo and asked us to write a story. Here’s mine. If you enjoy it and would like to read more, you can find links to the magazines I’ve been published in on the My Writing page.

No escape. Mud sucked at her hiking boots as she slid to a stop. She stared up at her escape route, now covered in fog and mist, the mossy rocks too slick to climb. Well, she could scale the hill, but not fast enough to get away. Fear twisted her stomach into knots.

Voices echoed behind her. The cold, damp air muted the sounds. Impossible to tell how far back they were, but the very presence of the sounds assured her they were too close. Another glance up. The other sides of this cut were sheer walls. Her only options were to risk scaling the slippery rocks, or die here in the woods. Death might be her only way out, but she would die fighting.

“Can’t be far.” Clearer. Sharper. Time was almost up. Adrenaline pushed her to the mossy surface of the lowest rocks. Faster. The crescendoing thump of her heartbeat threatened to drown out the voices behind her.

“There’s a dead end ahead. We’ll get her there.” A shiver crawled over her. The distance and echoes warped the voice, but that sounded like—no. Sheer terror and her longing for the safety of home made her imagine things.

Why did she hike that trial? If she’d stayed with her plan, she wouldn’t have seen the body, and she wouldn’t be in this mess. A weekend on the hiking trials of her favorite state park usually erased her stress. With her husband’s “business trips” coming more and more frequently, her suspicions grew that something was wrong. She wanted a clear head when she confronted him and asked for the truth. Instead she’d stumbled across a horrible scene. She might never make it home to sort things out with him.

“Are we close?” Too close. Time’s up. Her muscles went weak. It was over. She’d be dead in minutes. Unless – a small opening, half hidden by moss and leaves, caught her eye just ahead. One more careful foothold pushed her to it. Her hands trembled as she pushed the moss aside to reveal a tiny cave formed by rocks and a fallen tree. Thank you. She breathed the silent prayer as she forced herself into the space, pulling the moss back over the opening.

“Where is she?” 

The men came into full view below. Their backs were to her. That voice, the way he carried himself…no. It couldn’t be. They turned. As their faces came into view, she fought back a scream. Her husband gripped a rifle as he scanned the dead end.

The other man circled the area. “How did she get away?” 

“She knows these trails. Came here all the time as a kid. She must’ve cut back somewhere. C’mom, we’ll find her.”

The man she loved wasn’t having an affair—he was a monster, a killer. The sudden cold sweeping over her made her teeth chatter as the men retreated. Escaping this morning was just the beginning. She was going to be running for a long time

How I Track My Reading

I’ve tracked my reading for years, using everything from a sheet of notebook paper to a dedicated reading journal to a list in the back of my bullet journal. I love looking back at each year to see how many books I read and how my reading patterns changed from previous years.

For 2021, I’ll be tracking my reading three different ways. Here’s what I use now, what I’m adding, and why I love all three methods.


Goodreads is the easiest way to track what I’ve read. I use the app to quickly log and review books. It’s also a great way to connect with authors and other readers, find out what’s popular right now, set reading goals, and find new authors I’d like to try. Of course, being on Goodreads also means my TBR list is out of control, but that’s part of it. I log every book and give a star rating to almost every book, and I frequently leave a full review as well. If you’d like to connect on Goodreads, you can find me here.

Planner Log

For the past couple of years, I’ve kept a book log in my planner. This year, I added a book rating stamp I found on Amazon. Unfortunately I haven’t seen it available there for months, but Etsy has some similar items. Just search “book rating stamp” and you’ll find several options if you’d like one for yourself.

My planner log is another quick way to track my books. I don’t have room to go into a lot of detail – a couple of lines at most for each book. But it’s nice to have a record with my calendar and all the other details of my year.

Book Journal

I love the Facebook group Tea and Ink Society. The group’s founder recently created a printable reading journal and offered it for an amazing discount the first few days. I snatched it up, and I’m so glad I did! This journal is perfect – easy to customize and print what you need in the right quantities.

I debated about how to print and bind mine and finally decided on a temporary notebook with page protectors. I already had this cute mini binder and lots of page protectors from a previous project that didn’t work out. I printed the journal in the half size option. I can pull out a page, fill it out, and slip it back into the page protector. At the end of year, I’m going to take it to our local office supply store and have it bound. This way, I’ll have all the pages I need, but no wasted pages. I’ll also be able to add extras, like a copy of my Modern Mrs. Darcy Reading Challenge pages.

You can get an instant download of The Book Lovers Companion here. It comes in two sizes: full and half. I can tell this journal will be used year after year as a regular part of my yearly tracking and planning. I love the flexibility and quality of it. It holds everything I could possibly think of for tracking my books, and then some. Be sure to check it out!

Tell me how you track your reading in the comments below. Are you changing anything for 2021?

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