The Mountain and the Devil

Cold.. bones ache, muscles stiffen.

I set my face to the wind.

Determined I drive on, steps are agony.

Will takes over when the body fails.

Move… another step…. and another..

And breathe……. the air is thin…

My chest becomes a bellows, struggling to keep the fire of life alight.

Step, breathe, step, breathe, ever upward.

Time becomes irrelevant, eyes blur and refocus… one more step… now again.

Now it comes to me.. a warm hand.. touching my face, wiping away frozen tears.

Sleep she says.. I am warm.. I will hold you.

Eyes snap open. No more steps.. how long was I standing? Move! Screams the will. Move or die!

Another step.. the world is pain now.. another step… and another..

You will fail! Screams the wind.. you will fall! Moans the rock.

Lips crack.. a whisper.. loud as snowfall… “I… will… not…”

Light pours forth.. blinding bright.. and it seems all of creation is laid before me.

A weak smile on numb lips. The top.. finaly..

A friendly hand slaps my burning shoulder “oi mate! Hellova day for a walkabout!”

I nod numbly turning to see a rather chipper Australian fellow.

Dear lord.. did he just open a beer? He salutes me with the beer and laughs “I kep er warm in ma trousers!”

Slowly I turn and trudge once more into the cold.. convinced…. the devil is Australian.