I walk through fuzzy new growth pines, staring upwards at snow blinding me from the top peak. The air is cool and thin and smells faintly of the embers that my scarred boots disturb as I forget to pick up my feet. I glance down at the tiny pine cones that litter the path and something strange catches my eye. I have to dust off a layer of sand to wrap my fingers around it, but the cold white shell fits in my palm.
I stretch trepidatiously across the old rope bridge, trying not to allow the slight shift to pitch me over the side. Only a few more inches and I will have made it. The hand grabs my bare calf before I even catch a glimpse of its knuckle hair.
The small mesh hammock catches a slight breeze, sending the sprawling oak trees into a chorus of creaky complaints about their aches and pains, causing the sleeping boy to stir and sigh.