White Out

So cold. That was the only thing he could think of as he walked across the snow. Each breath was painful because of the intense cold. When he exhaled, another thin layer of ice formed in the mask he wore over the lower portion of his face, he wanted to stop and rest, but his instincts told him that was dangerous. If he stopped and relaxed, it would lull him into a sense of calm, and that sense of calm would paralyze him, and he would never be able to start walking again. Then he would freeze to death, and no one would ever find him.

He quickly banished those thoughts from his mind. As long as he keeps moving, he is alive. He could turn and look in any direction, but only one direction showed his footprints, and that was the only variety in the endless white landscape he saw. Besides his footsteps, the horizon seemed to be an impossibly long distance away.

He was glad for the cold weather gear to protect him from the cold as much as possible; he couldn’t remember where his journey had started or where he got the bag. He knew he was missing some vital facts, such as where the gear came from, but his memory was as blank as the landscape he was wandering through aimlessly.

The idea that he didn’t know where he actually was, where he came from, or where he was going, didn’t seem to bother him. It seemed like the natural way to feel as he kept moving forward.

He couldn’t remember the last person he had seen or spoken to. How had he ended up here alone? The snow held no answers for him. The snow just continued without end past the horizon. The snow was silent except for the protesting crunch he made with each step, ruining the perfect surface. He fought off the idea that the snow was angry at him for disturbing its glittering perfection with his presence.

He wasn’t sure if he should be afraid or not. Since he was all alone, it was the isolation that frightened him. He struggled to maintain a steady pace. He also struggled to keep his mind focused on putting one foot in front of the other. If he let his mind wander, he suspected that insanity was lurking nearby in the snow.

He glanced at his wrist by quickly pulling back the gauntlet of his glove. There was still no watch on his wrist, just like the hundreds of times before. What time was it? How long had he been there? He had no way of knowing. Just another troubling thought that he fought to suppress.

It was cold. So cold.

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