Cold wind spattered snow across my face like a violent mess of paint thrown at a canvas. Past the point of shivering, all I felt were pins and needles on my skin. I tilt my torso down even farther, hoping to block out any biting frost and numbing cold wind I can. I marched on. Adrenaline that had once pushed me through had worn off days ago, shortly before the last crumbs of food I had. I was weak from hunger. Each step felt like a mountain of its own.
The blizzard from the gray skies piled snow up almost to my knees. The mountains are treacherous terrain for even the most seasoned of climbers with the most expensive equipment. Yet here I was, clad only in the thin fox furs I'd bought in town earlier that month, and the snow boots I had created myself from the skin of a dead deer found in the woods.
Another gust of wind threatens to pull me off my cliff. It tugs at me, inviting me to step off the edge ten feet away into roaring oblivion. I fight against it and cling to the mountain wall. My step falters. The wind is too strong; it tosses me around. I'm pushed to my knees, where I hold myself tightly, one leg behind me for more support. The wind has less of an impact on things lower to the ground. Still, it's almost rocking me back and forth. The wind slowly dies down, and I dare standing up. I could see barely five feet in front of me. Snow swirls all around, with its dizzying effect. Light-headed already from exhaustion and starvation, this is not what I need.
My foot slips on the slick ice, and I lose control. A surge of panic pricks at me. My feet slide around. I stiffen my legs and try to move them in a counter-position, to at least slow myself. My arms flail about, trying to catch something other than snow. I can feel the patch of ice under me fades, but the momentum is already there, dragging me down.
My hands flail at the snow. The bend. I'm too close to the edge. My heart beats violently. Desperately I try not to let panic overtake me. If I panic, I go off the cliff I tell myself. My ankles find no solid ground in the snow, and I claw at empty air. Before I can react, I'm falling toward the ground, falling toward the mountain. At least it's away from the cliff; I think in the split second before I hit. My back is cushioned by the snow, but my head hits the mountain's wall. A burst of color and pain invades my vision.
Why am I even here? I ask myself, knowing the answer. It's too much work to get up. The adrenaline from slipping took anything left out of me. I can't find it in me to care anymore. Care about getting up, care about finding them. Even to care about saving them. The wind whistles as it brings be back to reality.
Tears fill my eyes. This is where it ends, I thought. I just couldn't move.
I feel my vision blur. The pain in my head throbs. I try to move to stand, but I'm…I'm so tired now. Can't I just go to sleep? Avoid any more trouble?
The cold feeling is gone, replaced by nothingness. I'm ready to abandon the journey I'd been sent on.
As I fade away, I think I hear a low growling. It feels far away, too far to be concerned about. All I see is white, and that is no more than the millions of swirling flakes.
My eyelids lower, and darkness replaces the blinding snow.
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