Some days, I feel it.
I am still young (enough) but I am no longer simply young. My bones, they creak in the morning, like ancient floorboards in ancient houses that have felt the pressure of too many feet, heels, boots, all clopping about and along, heedless of the damage left in their wake.
My muscles, they are tight, cold, pinched in themselves, like the skin of the Winterpeople, perched on high steppes in frigid mountains, forced to tend unwilling stonecrop and fend against barren direwolves. Even the effort to rollover sometimes feels like it edges too closely to “too much.”
Oh, some days, I feel it, I feel the encroaching weakness upon me, stalking me, waiting for the moment when I close my eyes too tightly, grasp my tender wrist too tightly, clutch against my weakened heart too tightly–
And it will strike.
And once it strikes, sinks its teeth into me, it is only a matter of time. Those teeth are sharpened to a point, fangs, really, and they will pass through their poison and then it will seep through my veins, corrode my muscles, degrade my tendons, deaden my limbs.
And I will be done. Some days, some days I feel it, I feel it’s breath on my neck.
And I shudder.