Twenty yards out of Hell.
Would you believe I look over my shoulder?
It's so much colder outside, past the gates.
They're so much prettier from this side. Freshly painted.
No doorman, though.
Amazing how rocky the soil is here. Last time I passed this way, it was
Guess there weren't enough bodies to fill the holes.
Another few feet and sweat drips off my forehead like snowflakes.
Or fine ash.
Maybe I'm leaving a trail of white to follow.
Or begging the question of who might follow.
Surprisingly, there was no sign over the gates.
Perhaps it's implied.
I mean, didn't I get out? Play the jailbreak card? Slip past the guards?
That reminds me... Where were the guards?
There's no sleep there, you know.
Now the air slices my lungs... do I have lungs?
Push on. Why?
Looking back again, it's a giant mouth, grinning and waving.
"I'll put a rock through your eye, break out your teeth!"
Who mocks whom now?
Maybe I'm climbing a mountain, though it seems so level.
Maybe descending slightly.
Seems higher, though.
Where'd the birds come from? I mean songbirds, not vultures.
So cold. How do they have the breath to sing?
Ice under my fingernails, in my beard -- I have a beard?
Ice beneath my feet, but the footing is secure.
I cling to this rock through the earthquakes and the winds.
When I have the courage to look back again, there's nothing but progress to
mark my journey.
Progress, and a few avalanches I've caused.
Maybe they're the same.
I must be climbing. Imperceptibly.
Fifty yards and exhausted.
A rock in one hand, the other on a rock.
I cling. I climb.
I will stand.