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Short story: “The snow shroud”

in Glocal/Literature by

The snow was falling heavily. There was a very light wind, no sounds in the air except the slight secret  sound of snow falling. It smelled of snowflakes, wood smoke and pine trees.

The quiet was impressive. I listened to my footsteps pushing through the snow and the swoosh of the flat sled carrying my very old, very sick friend on it. He was lying on it, holding the side ropes.

He was like an old Indian or Egyptian king collecting a snow crown on his head. His head resting on his sofa pillow I stole from his room.

It was really cold. I had snow down my boots and down my jacket. My glasses were all damn fogged up.

“Where am I?” said Vincent.

“You’ve finally made it to Siberia,” I told him. “Are you ready?”

“Ready for what?” he said.

“For your walk into the wilds of white Siberia, remember?”

“No… maybe… yeah,” he admitted, then said:

“Why are we doing this? I’m freezing my ass off.”

“Because you asked me to bring you here at the end, when it was time to die, when you couldn’t feed yourself or take your pills anymore, or make it to the bathroom alone, or fuck anymore…”

“Who are you, what’s your authority, mister?”

“I’m John, your oldest friend.”

“I am trying to remember you,” he whispered.

“Ok, Vincent.”

“Yes,  ok,” he echoed, then:

“Where are we?”

“Siberia.”

“Which Siberia?” Vincent asked.

“The Russian one. It’s at the end of the world.”

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“…ahhh , the end of the world,” he said. “I remember.”

He then yelled loudly:

“This is where I wanted to be!”

“Everything hurts, Johnny. Everything’s bad… John, and I’m ready to go now. Die. And we even got snow.”

“Ok, let’s get you going.” I said.

“Please, Let me just lie down under the big old tree over there.  Maybe I can fall sleep, I’m so damn tired, dog tired.”

“Sounds like a plan, my brother.”

“Siberia sure is beautiful, the snow falling so,” he said, “It smells like my mother.”

“That’s great, Vincent.”

“What’s this?” he asked me.

“It’s your cherry pain juice.” I said. “Here, drink the rest.”

It was full of morphine, more morphine juice than cherry.

“Ok.”

Sleep well, Vincent, know I loved you.

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He looked at me dully. He then looked up to study the big tree and its network of branches, or maybe what was beyond it.

I finally walked away. I left him deep in Central Park, New York City. He was only one mile from his little room. To him it was Russia, the unending. It was becoming a crazy blizzard now. Snow was a heavy white blanket. It wasn’t stained with piss or blood.

“Fucking cancer!” I thought.

I left him there to drift off with his dignity and manhood.

As I looked back I could see the snow covering him like the whitest blanket, a pure white snow shroud. I saw a big snowflake land on his open eye, then another. He didn’t blink. Damn, that was quick, I thought. Good!

I had to walk home, pulling the empty sleigh, to my empty room. It was cold because I forgot to close the window before we left. I looked at my bed with its white blanket and thought how it looked like the snowy ground where Vinnie lay dead.

I unfolded down on top of the covers and went to sleep.

First published in March 2013 on http://www.glennhorvath.de.

Written by Glenn Horvath

Glenn was born in Miami, Florida. He is an artist, musician, writer and certified business English trainer. He was part of Connewitz Alternativ in 1990. He has exhibited his art at local as well as international venues, and toured America and Europe as a drummer.

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