In Winter Stills

In Winter Stills

There is a path off a road off a hillside off a dream, a path where all the silent ones go to sleep. I followed it once without care for myself. This is where it led.

The snow fell in relentless cascades obliterating my footprints so I might’ve stepped through a thickening fog that congealed around my feet. I would’ve said I knew the way home with my eyes shut, Sooty, my dog, barking at my heels, the same. Neither of us felt the incline nor subsequent slope. Neither of us realised we stepped from grass to mud to asphalt and back again. All was deep snow, so deep, I picked Sooty up in my arms and ploughed a lone furrow through that white onslaught. It affected us that coldest of days, my dog in my arms and my hopes in his senses.

We came across them as shadows on the road to limbo, the true source of the endless snow. They stood there as indifferent shapes against an indifferent background, as unaware of what I was to them, as they were to me. The only definite in that scene was the cases they held in smudged hands, the sums of all their endeavours packaged to be carted away into the forever.

I stared at them for the longest time unafraid, for they meant me no evil, one can tell such things when they’re forced upon them. They appraised me, wondered if to invite me on their march to another place, a silent place. I might’ve gone with them too, fallen succour to their impartial gesturing if Sooty had not growled his discontent.

They vanished into the snow as though enveloped by an avalanche that never quite reached my feet. They disappeared into infinity taking everything they’d been with them. I already cradled my everything in tiring arms, so turned around and made my way home.

I never reached it, but still I try.

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