Just One More Step
The woods are cool and crisp, my breath comming out in short gasps of puffy white clouds. My fingers are going numb from the cold, but I really dont take any notice. One foot, then the next, then the next, just a little further tonight, I keep telling myself over and over. My thin windbreaker is nothing in comparison to the icy wind that slips between the tree's, making them whisper stories of the impending winter. My boots snag on a root, my jeans catch in thorns, and again I untangle myself and move. Just move, one foot, then the next...
A creek rumbles past, snaking through the thick underbrush, and I only realize it's there in time to avaoid breaking its delicate layer of ice. I sink down into frozen mud, the cold dirt sucking at my feet. I stumble forwards, a fresh wave of tears threatening to break the delicate sheild that keeps them locked up. I cant keep going tonight. I have to... to stop... My mind spins, the earth shakes, and I cant stand. I cant see, I cant breathe, and I'm on the verge of giving up.
All I want is to lay down, forget my path, just let the frost-bitten evening envelope me, making me part of the frozen mud. Tears break free, racing down my face, their salty bodies resting on my lips before taking the plunge to the ground. Get up... get up... then out loud,
"Get up. Get up. Get up!" I struggle to move; my limbs are stiff and cold, and images of warm fires, cozy blankets, hot chocolate in my chipped red mug, my family, the pictures taunt me, whisper for me to stay there, and all will be okay. I want to! Please, just give me a moment, I need to move... I snap my eyes open, adrenaline rushing through my body.
"I wont give up. I can't. Not yet... for them."
I struggle to my feel, fingers turning blue, and march onwards. The brush is thinning, though a thick grove of trees lay ahead. On the other side, wait, is it really? Yes, lights, but, who's there? I push through the thickening trees, farther, one more step, now another. There's music, soft and enchanting, but joyful and exiting. High notes falling to lower notes, pausing in an inbetween stage, then a break, then a high note again, tantalizing and teasing, as if saying, "come catch me". One more row of trees. Brighter lights, sharper music, my head spins again, but I dont let it take me down again. One more step and I'm free. The brush is gone, the trees are behind me, and the warm glow of lights dance across my skin.
Rising in front of me is something spectacular. A colorfull wall, spreading out in all directions blocks my further passage, but a gate is open. A ferris wheel rises in the distance while tilting, spinning, whirling rides dance around it. I can smell the food, hear the music, the games ringing.
A carnival, greeting me as a break free of the eternal forest. My hands are shaking, my toes are going numb, my heart beat is slow. But here I am. Somewhere safe, somewhere warm. Here I am. I see them, standing there, a cozy light illimunating their faces. I'm home. I'm here guys, I made it.
"I'm here!" I call to them, softly. They look my way, and I run to them. My arms are numb, my legs are numb. The puffy white coulds of breath arent comming anymore, but none of it matters, because I'm home. I'm home.... home... home...
The light grows as I embrace my family, my siblings, my parents. The music grows sharper and higher, the lights brighter, and I cant see anymore. I cant feel anything anymore. And I'm okay. Peace envelopes me, as I drift off to sleep. I'm done now. I can rest. I'm home. Just one more step, and I'm free, forever.