The shivers come even now.
Five layers of clothing but he’s still cold.
The fire is just too far away to warm his hands, hands that are threatened by frostbite as they reach desperately for the hearth that appeared to be right in front of him; when in actuality it had drifted further into the ice, obstructed by a great wall of stone that refused to be moved.
He tried to stand up, to reach the stone so that he may find an opening but his legs caved in, the cold would not allow him to stand. Without the fire he was weak, to weak to even plant a foot on the ground; and cold, so very cold.
He rubbed his hands together for warmth but they only melted their snow together, leaving him with hands both cold and wet, dripping with the curse the poles had set upon him. It was never his choice to go there, he dreamed of the lands of summer every night but they weren’t coming back, that high sun teased him with its refusal to take him there, a place he had been cast out from by no fault of his own, a victim of the actions of another.
It hurt to know his chances of returning, they were plummeting the longer he stayed behind that great house of brick, but even if he dared to knock he feared he wouldn’t be allowed in.
Sparks flew from within the house and set an orange glow against the snow, but the hope it inspired in him died along with the embers, and the house once again grew dark and intimidating, a black cloud gathering over the already melancholy landscape.
So he sat there, unable to see another way forward, and unable to make one for himself except for on his hands and knees.
And what then if there was a road ahead? Would he walk it until it ended in another wall, this one taller and built of ice instead of brick?
He was so cold.