Skiers paraded in woollen masks, protection against harsh mountaintop cold and wind, an auspicious cover. The resort offered summit refuge, a full service restaurant, and a coffee shop for the anxious and dedicated, intent only on gliding down the mountain.
Shadows crept long across the valley, expanding pockets of darkening merging toward domination. The sun carved a wedge out of distant peaks, throwing colour, as if an industrial laser machining its exit.
Mask down, boots clopping on the rough-cut wooden floor, he approached the smiling and gracious restaurant host. Closer, a hard poke in the ribs, whispered instructions, cash draw emptied, a hurried exit. He smirked over the easy haul, exchange for his night fix.
Skis carried him away. Exhilarated but craving, attention lapsed. Slick snow and gravity induced speed into a hairpin turn. Impaired decision-making combined with insufficient skill, and the reckless plan ended at a sizeable tree, lifeless.