The free-spirited highway laps at my heels as I run. My toes flit across the fuming cement, marring my flesh with blackened soot.

I resist the temptation to quit. My lungs protest, but I ignore their wheezing screams. They will not stop me.

The wind curls, funneling into my ears. It blares regret, hissing my name with contempt.

"Hey, need a ride?"

A truck ambles at a sluggish waltz, riding along beside me as I run. The tinted window scales down and the stranger's face comes in view of my periphery vision. The stranger slips off his sunglasses, squinting as he stares. His Dodge Ram growls beside me. I dismiss him and continue running.

The stranger persists, nagging me with his inching car. He follows me as I run.

"You tryin' to win a marathon?" He questions, persisting everstill.

"No. Leave me alone."

"Touchy, huh?"

"I didn't ask for your help."

"What's your name?"

He pauses, waiting for an answer.

"Come on. I just want to--"

"Atlas."

"That some kind of a joke?"

"Listen, I didn't expect you to understand. I'm not talking to you anymore. Leave me alone."

"Sorry, sorry... Atlas. Lemme help you, though."

"You can't when I've got the weight of the world on my shoulders. Fuck off."

His truck comes to a halt. I ignore the feeling of his stare digging into my neck. I continue running. I will never stop.