I trudged through a world the color and consistency of wet newspaper. Chin tucked against my chest, one hand wiping weightless snow from my eyes, the other buried deep in my left jacket pocket. Tree branches danced above me, an occasional load of snow fell, and a liberated, newly light branch flew in the air above me. I only felt the cold, sterile disappointment of this dead snow, melting down the back of my collar. Morning and warmth seemed distant.


I walked back. The snow had stopped falling hours ago; my sharply defined winter shadow revealed a bright sun which would never warm me. I walked quickly down the slight hill, eyes forward and unseeing. Ahead, a spill of washed out red sunk into the snow which pooled before me. I reached the mark, looked around, but could find no owner for the curled potential which almost seemed to swim in its own blood. Squinting, I see ten possible shadowy outlined fingers.


They call it a fetus. I know the word, but can claim no knowledge of this tiny monster at my feet. Two steps, and I have passed it; in five minutes, I am over the hill, and thinking of home.

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