Pilgrimage

He's bent over double, leaning forward, trying to shift the weight of his burden between his left shoulder and his hips. His right shoulder is bust. The freshly fallen snow drags relentlessly at the runners of his sledge, turning each small step into an senseless act of flagellation.

Occasionally he loses his footing and thrusts his right pole deep into the snow for balance, sending a sharp burning bolt of pain down his back. He meets this with a grimace, pausing to draw his breath then continues on.

He cares little for his body, considering it simply as a vessel to carry the soul between shores on an ocean of time. Yet knowing his soul is strong, with armour fashioned from life and tempered by its knocks, it is still hard to watch his suffering.

If I could speak I would have suggested an alternative pilgrimage, bathing in the Ganges or walking the road to Santiago de Compostella. Perhaps even a visit to Lourdes. But I am merely his Shadow, so I content myself with mimicking his gestures whilst the sun chases me around him, slowly unwinding his mortal coil.

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