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The Trail of the Meat

ItisnotthewayoftheWildtolikemovement. Lifeisanoffencetoit,forlifeismovement; andtheWildaimsalwaystodestroymovement. Itfreezesthewatertopreventitrunningtothesea; itdrivesthesapoutofthetreestilltheyarefrozentotheirmightyhearts; andmostferociouslyandterriblyofalldoestheWildharryandcrushintosubmissionman manwhoisthemostrestlessoflife, everinrevoltagainstthedictumthatallmovementmustintheendcometothecessationofmovement.  

Butatfrontandrear,unawedandindomitable,toiledthetwomen whowerenotyetdead. Theirbodieswerecoveredwithfurandsoft-tannedleather. Eyelashesandcheeksandlipsweresocoatedwiththecrystalsfromtheirfrozenbreath thattheirfaceswerenotdiscernible. Thisgavethemtheseemingofghostlymasques, undertakersinaspectralworldatthefuneralofsomeghost. Butunderitalltheyweremen,penetratingthelandofdesolation andmockeryandsilence,punyadventurersbentoncolossaladventure,pittingthemselvesagainstthemightofaworld asremoteandalienandpulselessastheabyssesofspace.  

Theytravelledonwithoutspeech,savingtheirbreathfortheworkoftheirbodies. Oneverysidewasthesilence,pressinguponthemwithatangiblepresence. Itaffectedtheirmindsasthemanyatmospheresofdeepwateraffectthebodyofthediver. Itcrushedthemwiththeweightofunendingvastnessandunalterabledecree. Itcrushedthemintotheremotestrecessesoftheirownminds,pressingoutofthem,likejuicesfromthegrape, allthefalseardoursandexaltationsandundueself-valuesofthehumansoul, untiltheyperceivedthemselvesfiniteandsmall,specksandmotes, movingwithweakcunningandlittlewisdomamidsttheplay andinter-playofthegreatblindelementsandforces.  

Anhourwentby,andasecondhour. 

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