I went for a walk in the woods today; the snow was fresh, and I could not resist a wander.

I step past patches of sludge; branches snatch at my ankles, tearing me back; but they are fragile, they break, and I continue on.

The trees, my hands brush the bark: they are real.

I build little houses out of tall brown leaves. They stay up for only a moment before they crash down, no flutter, as heavy as boulders; gravity disappears at such short a distance.

I cross, climb, trample, then: crisp, clean, I am on the trail, only for a moment before leaving it behind.

Snow falls; sky darkens.

I step and the snow is deep, warm, a crater forming each time.

I can see the lake up ahead, and it's the biggest crater of all.

I step once more and there's a gunshot, my foot has gone through a patch of ice I had not seen, my leg is submerged to the ankle in ice water, and all I have to do is tug at it at a bit before it gives, cracks for miles, and I tumble in completely, I am underneath and I can only see purple and yellow and lights my head is a fraction of its size brain matter floats around me I cannot open my eyes but I do my corneas freeze over I force my head up the ice is not closed up like in the movies it is not that cold good up up but it is so much easier to not up and this is not that bad it's not really that cold anymore anyway I can't close my eyes but they close anyway, and I sleep

where am I it is cold why is it cold I am underwater how did I get here up up up grab the ice a branch grab that it breaks grab another up up stand breathe breathe breathe, breathe, breathe; breathe. Breathe.


I look around, I shake myself off like a dog, rub my arms and hands together, take off my coat, and carry it with me. I can see the houses, they are infinitely far away, but they're there. Heat. Heat is what I am looking for. The snow is deeper than before, this is further from the trail than I thought, and really, all I want to do is sit down, stop moving, lie in the snow and have it bury me. I am tired, I am sore, it is too cold, and I think maybe this is my chance, this is the mugger who shoots me, the bus that runs me over, the plane I'm on that crashes, the bomb that destroys the building in which I stand. I have the power, the ability to see one possible future that will come to pass if I force fate's hand.

I am in control.

And I step. My foot falls through a few inches of snow and I pull it out and I step once more, and my foot falls through and I pull it out and I step again, and I step, and I step until I am walking and I am walking faster and I am at the houses, and I slow, and I breathe, and I am trembling, and I am cold, but I am on my way.

Before I arrive home, I glance to my right at a crater. It is the lake, and I stop shivering because I am dry.