A Sad Story

It was a cold dark night. Those that make you just want to find a nice comfy and warm room, lock everything up and just drift away, lose yourself in anything that means something. Instead, he walked outside in the chilly biting cold, feeling every bit of the icy tentacles of winter. He clung to his jacket like a homeless man, struggling to fit his miniature frame into the whole of it. Head dipped low between his shoulders and his gaze fixed on the ground with occasional peeks at the road ahead that was almost invisible in the dark, thick with frost. The road he must face, yet his feet felt heavier than a thousand tonnes of ballast. And with each laboured step forward, the edges of surrender closed in. But his shoes weren’t the only thing that dragged him down. His heart, heavy with grief bore upon him like an anchor stuck in solid sand. He could literally feel the bruises on its surface, the cracks that run deep into its very essence. Even the cold was nothing compared to that. He shook his head in two motions to mentally rid himself of those unpleasant thoughts. He willed his mind away from the pain and buried it somewhere out of access, somewhere far into his subconscious. For now, at least. Because it would come back later, rise above and stick its miserable head into the open where it couldn’t be ignored. But now was not the time. Now he had to move. Summoning resolve from unknown depths, the lone traveller flexed his shoulders and briefly skirted his gloved fingers across his arms in an effort to assure against numbness. He then draped his hood even lower over his face and stared straight into the cold. Step after step, he moved forward, thanking heavens that there was no wind.

 

About a quarter of an hour later, he turned at a bend and found himself staring at the unlikely sight of a small mountain cottage. Even with the thick fog, he could picture out its blurred outline clearly, and the yellow ambience of smooth light that glowed out of what ought to be windows. He stood in place, surprise sending short waves of heat through his blood. He couldn’t remember the cottage being there the last time he used this path. And he was most certain it was the same one. But his initial surprise didn’t last long. The cold soon reminded him that he was still outside. He breathed out in relief and anxiety for the first time since his journey began. He moved forward, slowly this time, towards the structure that stuck out amongst the trees like a sore thumb. He could see clearer now, and all warmth he’d perceived earlier seemed to have evaporated into nothingness. The light from the two windows at the front were anything but warm. They were just a dim shade of yellow and looked like they could flicker out at any instant. Damn, his eyes were playing tricks again. The cottage was sizeable. Not too small as most of them were. It was two storeyed, and looked fairly old. With its endings screaming for attention and harbouring climbing plants of some sort. There was something like a lawn at the front, its condition worse than bad. Overgrown weeds and grass and plants everywhere. But with the current weather conditions, he could barely blame them for negligence. He made his way gradually to the patio, whose floor boards creaked creepily as he walked. He stared at the small wooden door for a minute, pondering. Then slowly, he dragged his left hand from his jacket pocket and knocked twice…

It continues…

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