The Wind Man

Dorothy J. Heydt

They stepped forth onto the descending road, and the wind came round and hit them like a bludgeon. They staggered forward, and Shaya fell to hands and knees. Marguerida clutched at her hand and pulled her to her feet, and stretched her other hand backward for Donald to catch. Hand in hand they stumbled down the road, keeping close to the rock wall on their right lest a sudden gust twist them off the road.

Welcome to my house, it muttered. It has a floor and no roof, and one wall, but you don't know where it is. Is it there? No, that's only me, and you're falling away, falling, falling.

It had begun to snow again, and the white flakes billowed around them till they could barely see each other, much less the road.

Down and around, the wind howled, down and around. You're walking right into my lap. Right into my mouth. I'll chew you up and spit you out.

Down and around. The wall was still at Marguerida's shoulder, but she could hardly feel it. She knew her hands were still tightly gripping Donald's and Shaya's, but she couldn't feel them at all. Yet it didn't feel like the numbness of cold. The shining white of the snow was shading, not into the rose of sunset, but into a luminous bluish-grey that seemed to radiate from all around and from very far away. Marguerida had walked into the overworld without seeking it or knowing.

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