Page 3

   No, I don’t want to go on. I can survey the thin layer of snow settled everywhere on this flat countryside from here, and spend a moment watching the surveillance cameras, and I’ll wait until I get cold enough, but I’m not going on. This broad new highway puts a line down the middle of the empty out there, but it’ll be way too long a walk to wherever it goes and my breath is already paradoxically hot in my nose. I’m not ready for this at all.
   Where the highway dips fractionally, the flat line of the bridge it passes under makes a near-in horizon, and circumscribes this expanse. Like I’ve been living in a little white pan of snow. The hot ache of the muscles at the back of my neck works away at my skull. I’d put the damn rucksack down but with the way my hands aren’t working, I might not get it back on again. Next time, really just bring more water.
   Or a car.
   Which is not the first time I’ve thought theft is what I should be down with right now.


Page 2

   Damn snow. If there’s any rhythm to walking over this stuff, it’s just in how consistently wearying my progress is. The road is smooth with icy powder, and slick in places, but not firm. And not deep either. It squeaks and crackles and set me back an inch or two every step. I watch my feet more than the horizon.
   Fuck it. I stop.
   There’s a high white overcast. The air is sharp and clear. Beautiful in a frozen, fucked up, empty way. My kind of environment. I watch my breath billow, and shift my pack. Breathe. Road breathing is three in, two out. It makes plumes like a factory chimney. I wonder about everything I lose breathing like that – heat, moisture – I should be thirsty but I’m not.
   I don’t know that I should keep going.