Snow covered the tumulus. Scraggly, bare brown branches rose above it, providing meager shelter against the weather.
Not that she needed shelter anymore.
Drifts piled up against the edges and the steps were impossible to see.
I sank in to the knee on the first step. Wet and cold seeped in past my pants and trickled down my bare skin.
I pushed my hands through the snow for something solid to brace my hands against. The snow was soft and white as my hair. Perfect.
I crawled up to the top of the tumulus, slowly and with great care. Cold seeped into me until I felt as though my bones were made of ice and my belly filled with rock pellets.
Gray edged my vision and my breath made foggy puffs of wind in the air. Snow started to fall again. It dotted my black coat like a white fungus. My face heated under the falling flakes and I laughed.
The sky was white, a glorious white, beautiful as my absent wife. It warmed me as she did. This snow, it was better than the softest wool blanket.
I stood at the top of the tumulus, panting. Blood covered my fingers, but all I felt was burning. This burn didn’t hurt, couldn’t compare to the ache in my chest.
I sank down under the nearest tree. Snow crusted my pants and shoes and shirt. But I didn’t care. The tree’s slender branches bracketed the sky and I knew I was home.