The longing kept him going, kept him walking on in the harsh winter’s night. He longed for all that was good and true, for the very essence of Home. The warm thoughts and memories pulsed through his veins, triggering smiles in his insides, like drops of warm honey falling from the skies. Outside of his naked and grievously wounded body, the storm raged so fiercely that it shrouded him from the outside world and, perchance, kept him beyond the reach of death itself.
He must keep moving.
Sensations of warmth streaked past the outer reaches of his mind, caresses bringing a peace forgotten since his mother’s first embrace. Shadows also danced beyond his heart’s vision; spirits and messengers, singing stories of the eternal lands. His body moved to their tune, but his mind was suspended in the reverent reminisce of their visages. He knew them from before his life began.
It was a time of non-being, of observing existence itself with inexhaustible attention and intense emotional involvement. He was existence, and they were part of him as they all were part of all that was. They knew neither strain nor strife, had no ownership and nothing to gain or lose. He felt them again now, and it was like having recovered hearing or regained an arm. For decades, he had completely forgotten what being dead felt like. Had he been with his body still, shivers would have run through his muscles in pure joy.
And yet he kept walking.
All that his short and tragic life had put him through, had made an unmistakable impression upon his eternal being. It poured down upon him like a waterfall now; the pride of being alive, the wonder of each new day and moment of it, and the uncontrollable yearnings that brought such urgency and excitement to mortality. It weighed down his soul with a wealth of unique emotions, and at the same time made it want to dance.
He finally laid down on a freezing rock under a stunted birch tree. The body exhaled a ragged breath and the mind went numb. A silence followed, then a chunk of snow fell from a branch onto the horned head. Thus the ox died, and moved no more.
“I am still here,” thought the rock.