It shaking, to a wall of cold stone

It was a cold winter day in rural Canada,
and Dylan Ragson was preparing to embark on an adventure. He knew it would be
difficult and stress filled, yet if he didn’t attempt the journey then he could
face starvation. He lived alone. There was no one to wish him good-bye, no one
to help him put his winter gear on. He gripped the handle of his front door,
stepped out, immediately a cold winter wind hit him in the face. Should he go
back? No. Dylan looked straight ahead and was now more determined than ever to
accomplish his goal.

As the wind increased and a blizzard
pelted Dylan with snow, he took a moment to rest while on his climb. He reached
out, his hand shaking, to a wall of cold stone to check his balance, his ankles
started to twist as they were being forced into the holes in the rock. Quietly,
almost impossibly through the intense wind, he gasped for breath. It was as
though the air he was breathing had started thinning, his muscles and joints
ached like never before. He must climb on further, he can’t stop here; it’s not
safe so he must go on. Dylan started to feel the pressure on his shoulders from
the thin straps of an old backpack he had brought with him. The snow was
pilling up and was starting to get heavy. He began once more up the steep slope
undeterred by the elements; his feet kept falling through into the deep snow
under his thin rubber boots, unable to support his weight. He felt as if it was
only get harder as he continued on. Frigid wind blew over a ridge from the east,
almost knocking Dylan over. If it wasn’t for the snow now reaching up to his
knees, he would have fallen. Oddly enough, Dylan was wishing his hands became numb with cold, since all
he could feel was a relentlessly fierce pain, as if someone was jabbing needles
into his hands. The wool gloves he chose for the journey were woefully useless against
the cold wind.
        Dylan was angered by the weather conditions;
he had been taken by surprise, since before heading out he made sure to check
the forecast and concluded he could handle it. Now Dylan was feeling greater
pressure as going back would mean failure. He could not bring himself to say he
could not handle it. He had to tread on. Memories of his ability to make the
same climb so easily when in his youth sprung into his head. Dylan was great at
climbing years ago, a keen sportsman; you could even call him an athlete. He
would never give up, continually striving to succeed, even if nobody was
watching. This was becoming a real struggle, even for experienced Dylan. The
thought of failing health and a steady decline in his abilities since his youth
angered him. The trophy at the end of this climb was life itself, to fail would
mean certain death. He had to succeed. He was alone and no one could help him
if he fell from such a height.  This was
not even a place for thrill seekers, for even they were safe at home. Every step
Dylan took was a huge struggle; the agony his hands and feet were in was
greater than he had ever felt before. Maybe he had finally met his match, maybe
today was the last time he could ever breathe the cold air, or maybe not.
Undeterred, Dylan marched on. Each step was short and carefully calculated, the
wind tugged at his jacket trying to pull him down, but he would not give in, for
it was only he who was responsible for his own survival. He stopped again,
hopefully for what would be the last time. He took a moment to gather his
remaining strength and then miserably, almost tearing up, took another step. He
could not go fast, but at least he was moving in the right direction. Dylan was
forced to lean his head in closer to his body as the wind and snowfall battered
his face. This was not some epic competition with the eyes of the world
watching his every move with suspense; this was a solemn, lonely, private
struggle. He had made the decision to leave his house that day alone, now he
would pay for that decision.  He was no stranger to this place, just a
stranger to the circumstances. Remembering the youthful days had helped him a
little, remembering how his father told him to never give up until a task was completed.
Could Dylan forget the words of his father? Never. The snowfall was beginning
to weaken. Dylan realized the worst has behind him and it was only a matter of
time till he made it to the summit. It wasn’t so far now. Not in distance, but
rather in time. No matter how much energy Dylan put in, he could not go any
faster, it was too dangerous now since just one wrong move would mean defeat. He
could see the end, almost there. Darkness would soon be upon him and there was
no way he could find his way then. His tired muscles, weak with age and cramped
with burned out effort hardly responded to his desperate calls anymore.
        Finally, with only moments to spare and with the
shadow of the grim reaper close behind, he arrived. It was an incredible feeling.
Too exhausted to celebrate, Dylan simply walked through the sliding glass door.
He shook off the snow from his boots, hat and coat. A blast of warm welcoming
air had met his arrival. He shuffled slowly through the warm store, making his
way to a bench to catch his breath. He placed his backpack on the floor and picked
up a newspaper that was lying on the bench. Pensioner and now 95 year old Dylan
Ragson had finally made it to the local grocery store from his home.

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