Every muscle ached. Every fibre of his being, screamed with the loudest voices, using his nerves as the means. Each of the 206 bones in his body were on the precipice of not simply breaking, but shattering into a million pieces. The ever-present sensation of pressing down threatened to make his bones evaporate into a dusty cloud within his body. His toes, they were what went first, either through frostbite or the inevitable wearing down of the flesh at the bottom of his feet. Whatever had happened to them, he could only feel a dull ache being emitted from them when he concentrated on their specific sensation. It was like some mercy which had been laid upon him, like the omni-malevolent being in the sky had searched far and wide, and suddenly come across some feeling of pity in his infinite bounds.

Infinite, inescapable bounds.

It was because his feet were so numb that at first he did not realise their catching. Only when the world rushed at him did he become aware of the direness of his situation. His almost meatless arms flew up to protect his tear dried face, but they only served the purpose of making him feel as if he was falling upon a pile of dried wood. Bony and piercing. Descriptions of his being. His voice strained to let out a shout. All that came was a wheezing, which simply fell away into the drowning sea of people and noise which he did float amidst. Hitting the ground with a dull thud, his bald head jerked first forward, then backward, away from the snow. You rest you die, you slow down you die, you fall you-…

~Forget that now.

~Adrian.

~Listen to me.

~To you.

His thoughts broke through the fog in his mind, like a fist through glass or bone.

~Whatever you do, whatever you feel, whatever happens to you.

~You must.

~Get.

~Up.

His body disagreed profusely, it bid him just lie here in the frozen dirt, accept his inevitable fate, accept bliss.

~Nothing around you matters, all that matters is that you place your palms in the dirt, and push.

The people behind him stepped slightly aside, flowing around him and his struggle as if following some misguided virtue. His palms twisted down, he clung onto the earth with an incessant desire. The thin, almost fleshless arms which were pinned to his shoulders shook and burned with a torrid torrent of anguish and pain. Outstretched to the elbows, locked in to avoid collapse. The only second chance he would receive was the sweet, clutching embrace of his lover, death.

~Pull up your knees.

His knees dragged upwards, pulling themselves and the earth beneath his brown, sole-less boots towards him. His left leg crunched into his chest, almost knocking the wind from him. A deep breath rectified this, and he pushed upwards.

~Best foot forward.

He felt the cold air wash down his hairless head, breaking its way towards the sky. Reaching his fully height, his back ached more now, but that was at the back of his mind, where he now kept the pain. Numbness, this was all he felt now, it was a welcome relief. He would rather feel nothing, like floating in a pool of the clearest water, or blood. His skin blue, from cold and from bruising, but time heals all wounds does it not?

He dared quickly to dart outside this flowing stream mirrors, around him, all him, only numbers tell him any different. His tried to catch his breath on the cold air, but it still laid outside his grasp. A broad shadow of a man was coming towards him, swearing under his breath, his words becoming white vapour on the breeze.

There was a man next to him, on the ground, twitching very slightly, the only signs of life. Cold dreams would soon take him. Gunshots rang in the distance, far behind, nobody flinched or noticed. A force inside him screamed move and he did, away from the advancing shadow, away from the man on the ground, already dreaming. As he dragged his feet into a trot away from the scene, he saw a gleam of white opening from the shadows face, a cruel grin from a frozen heart. His mechanical legs did work without notice, his head still turned. The shadow bent. Leaning over, as if caressing the body, drawing the last inches of life out of it. A sentence was levelled at the bodies almost grounded ear, which his own could just barely make out amidst all the rushing of the human stream on which he sat on the banks. These words. Four. Freeing. Frozen words. Danced their way to his ear.

-Arbeit machte sie frei.