Somewhere, high on a mountaintop
The snow moved.
Jon watched it through the dirty window of the cabin and considered its strange behavior with a tightening in his throat. It rattled his mind in its chamber of bone. Is it alive, or am I going mad?
Living alone in the mountains had its hardships, but being cut-off and stranded in winter, took its toll.
Jon had seen the snow move once before while out gathering wood: large mounds of it, sliding a couple of feet at a time, and closing in -- always closing in -- like a pack of hungry wolves. It was slower then, almost indiscernible, but now that it knew he was trapped, it moved much quicker. Several large piles had already accumulated against the entrance of the cabin blocking any hope of escape. He pressed his ear against the door and heard the soft swish and rustle of it, probing and pushing at the entry, studying the cabin’s weaknesses. The sheer weight of it made the door creak and pop upon its hinges.
The look in Jon's eyes was agony, anguish. He was running out of time.
Desperately, he kept the fireplace roaring, throwing into it anything that would burn: splintered chairs, tables, cupboard doors, and floorboards. The cabin was like a furnace, but it slowed the advance of the menacing snow. When it piled high around the windows, he boiled pots of water and dumped it upon the snow like the lone defender of a castle pouring hot oil down upon its besiegers. In the language of wounds, the snow cracked and moaned under the onslaught, a horrific sound, shrill and urgent, feverish as hysteria. At hearing it, joy was too small a word for Jon's emotion.
Exhausted, he finally slept.
When he awoke, it was freezing cold. The snow had overrun the entire cabin, dropped down through the chimney, and piled high in the fireplace. It felt as mute as an unmarked grave, and touching it, or letting it touch him, would be like trailing fingers through pus.
Lighting his oil lamp, he surveyed the damage.
He was in the belly of the beast, and he could feel the weight of it crushing down upon him like a mountain. Nothing mattered now. His sense of his own uselessness galled him like an unhealed wound. There was only one thing left to do.
Rearing back, he smashed the lantern upon the floor. The oil splashed all around him, and then caught fire. The flames set him ablaze as if his bones were kindling. He could feel his heart burn down to ash in his chest.
At least he would leave nothing for the snow, nothing for the drift.