It was a place of a hundred voices and a thousand emotions as men began to
rush to the building. They knew this one. It was to me they had made their
stand, and I was the one that would hold them here no longer. The storm came
down from the north on my heels, and it would have beaten me had I been
tough-skinned and could have outrun it. The snow fell so fast and so thick it
seemed it would never end. There was no time to waste in this place. There
was no time to think of what we would do when the snow stopped beating us down
and we stood in our place of shelter when the sun warmed our skin. It seemed
to be the cold, that was the only thing that kept us. I was certain the
shivering was just another form of torture to these men.
I would have to keep them focused. Keep them moving forward through the hellish
storm. It will be fine if it lasts until the sun is high enough to warm our
skulls and melt the snow. One or two men’s spirits would light a fire. They
would light a fire for each other, but that would never warm me when I was
sitting beside them. I would be the one that would have to sit and stare into
the fire through the night as it burned. I would have to endure their
exhilaration and their fear as it grew and grew with each passing moment. A
sigh rose within me. They would have to learn to be courageous like me. I
would not let them rest when they should be moving. Would not let them
relax and take comfort. Would not let them relax and fall into sleep and let
them become numb like I was. I would have to be the one to be strong. The
snow stopped. The snow stopped. Men were still moving forward, but slowly,
and that made this one worse than the others had been.
We gathered and we gathered at the doors. I held the doors in place as I stepped
into it and the cold slammed me in the spine. It slammed me so hard my knees
came together and I fell on my back. I rolled off of it and stood up looking
at the door in shock, but it was open. It was too low to climb. So my back
came up against the door and I pushed myself up to the door.
The men had gathered behind me. The storm had stopped. The men were watching
every inch of me. I could see they were shocked by the sight of me still
standing, but the storm had stopped. They were watching me. There was no
time for them to turn their eyes away as I saw, but they were still looking at
me. I walked to the front door, but it was too high for me to step over. I
pushed my back against it.
“You are going to get us all trapped in here, it is just as I thought,” one
man yelled; one of the big men.
I turned to the door and walked it. The door was closing and I closed my eyes
and leaned back against the door as it closed. It hurt. I let my head hang
back as the door shut and the cold snapped me back into the past.
“You are going to trap us all,” more men yelled.
I opened my eyes and turned to face the crowd as I lifted one arm to the door
and closed an eye, but kept it open.
“You are going to trap us all, and you are going to do it by shutting us
I opened my eye and looked at the man. He stood directly in front of me, and
his eyes glowed like a dying sun and his cheeks glowed from the cold.
“You are going to close this door, and you are going to do it by trapping us
My heart stopped and I fell to my knees and collapsed.
The door closed. It snapped shut and my eyes stared at the frozen steel. It
was over. There was only this.
There would be one last night of sleeping and one last morning of waking when
the sun shined upon a frozen face. The dead will rise and the living will
dwell in their places. It is how it is.
There was no escape. No life could escape this place.
My eyes fell upon the crowd. They were staring at me, but there was no one
to talk to, not even the leader. He stood and stared with his head hung low
and his eyes closed. The dead are always hungry for the living to die in
the arms of the living as the living embrace the dead. I will do it for them
and for the dead. There will be no room for them in the graveyard. I would
not allow any of them to live inside.
I would find food for them. They would never feed so well; not for long.
There would be no time to think. I was not going to let this happen. It was
foolish to think they could escape me when they had not realized how weak
and how helpless I was. All of the other men were doing the same thing and
each one of them thought their way would work and then they were all caught by
the dark and by the falling of the snow but not so here. They had been
caught and now they were too weak to do anything but lie down on the cold
ground and stay there. They were all looking at me. Some cried as they
looked at the closed door, hoping the door would open. Some of them cried
as they stared at the dead door that had shut them in. Most of them were
crying as they stared at the one man in front of me that was the most
scattered and had little hope in his eyes.
There would be no escape.
I was going to stay put.
I lifted my eyes up to the window. How dare they close the door on my people.
The men stared at me. Some had tears in their eyes. I would have to be strong
for them. There would be no time to think so much, so many things had to be
forgotten. I had to be strong. The door was about to close but it was not an