By Richard Patterson

The old man trudged strenuously through the foot deep snow in the Alaskan wilderness.  His heart was pounding in his chest and he had to keep telling himself that it was not as hard as it seemed, that he was going to make it back to his cabin. He was just under six feet tall and weighed almost 250 pounds, but his body felt like he was obese.  Under his knee high parka he was still a little cold but the hood over his head barely kept his ears warm in the subzero temperatures.  

The sky was filled with dark clouds and already a few snowflakes had started to fall. It was difficult to see the trail as his glasses kept fogging up. “I can make” he said out loud though there was no one to hear it. “This is not so hard. I know I can make it.”

Suddenly, without warning of any kind, there was a strange figure just ahead on the trail.  It appeared to be a man, very tall and broad shouldered.  He was just standing there looking at the old man, his arms crossed over in front of him.  The old man kept on trudging.  As he got closer to the figure, he spoke. “There is no need for you to struggle anymore.”

“Oh yeah, why is that?” the old man responded.

“I can ease your burden but you have to ask and believe,” the tall man replied.

“Believe what?” the old man asked.

“Believe in your own power,” the tall man replied.  “You can summon energy from your higher consciousness that will make you journey easier.”

“And how do I do that?” the old man asked.

“Concentrate your mind on the muscles of your body.  Control your breathing; make it deep and slow.  Know that you are stronger than you think you are.  Use your will power to imagine your muscles being flooded with rejuvenating energy.  Feel the muscles being recharged.”

The old man did as he was instructed and much to his surprise it was working. His muscle indeed did feel like they were getting stronger.  He looked down at his legs and was amazed that they felt warm and strong.  His breath was visible in the cold air as he breathed and his even his ears, partially exposed to the freezing temperature, felt warm and soothed. 

The old man looked up to thank the stranger for his gift but he was gone. The old man looked  around from left to right but  there was no sight of the stranger.  He looked at the snow where the stranger had been standing and there were no depressions in the snow.  No footprints at all.

The old man was stunned, flabbergasted. “Who was that?” he asked the empty space around him.  “Who in the hell was that?”

He returned to his trek down the trail and although there was still a couple of miles to go he was sure he could make it. He felt like he was 20 years younger, strong and full of energy. It must have been an angel” the old man said to himself. “It must have been.”

Richard Patterson is a freelance writer living in east Texas. He writes poetry, short stories, and essays. His main motivation for writing is that he thinks there are multiple realities that we all can access happening all around us all the time. Writing helps him to open up some of those realities, especially with his short stories.

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