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The Shining Sun

It had been a bleak winter from the very start, and the two men had grown tired of the relentless snow and ice. For four long months they’d been trekking across the rough Alaskan terrain. Four months. Four months of struggling through blinding snow and ice, of sickness, and exhaustion, and hunger. Four months. Their supply of food had long since expired and their clothes had grown tattered, no longer keeping out the cold Alaskan wind. They both knew why they’d come, but neither could determine what kept them there. You could say it was their sense of adventure, and you’d be wrong. You may assume they were there out of some heroic deed, trying to bring help to an isolated village, but the answer is much simpler. It was their greed that brought them there. Dreams of gold had filled they’re minds and consumed their lives. It was like a parasite that had rooted itself into the depths of their very beings. A parasite that had slowly been killing them for four long months. Day after day they hiked further into the cold and snow. And each day their minds moved closer and closer toward despair. At night they would build a small fire with what little wood they could find and eat a meager supper of whatever they’d found that day. One would sleep while the other remained awake, pacing back and forth, back and forth, trying to stay warm. Trying to stay alive. They would do this in shifts, each hoping to survive to reach the morning when their toil would continue. Of course, this is only what they said. Each personally hoped that in the night their misery would end. That they would wake up where the sun is always shining, and the streets are paved in gold. But to no avail. Each morning they would wake and continue their search for.......for what? They’d long since forgotten. The two men had been brothers at one time, long ago. The snow had somehow built a wall between the two, and now they were merely acquaintances. Toward the end of the fourth month, the younger of the two began to develop an awful cough. Did I say awful? He found it wonderful. Each day his strength slowly drained away. At night he could not sleep for coughing. Soon the brothers were forced to cease their traveling. For three days the sound of coughing filled the air. Then, on the fourth day, it ceased. The older brother took the thin blanket that had covered his dying sibling and continued his journey to he knew not where. Yes, the winter had been bleak from the very start. But soon the sun would shine and all despair would cease.

Copyright ©2001 Terri John

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