dust of spirits

His body gathered around him, separating itself softly from the dust rays of the straggling dawn. As gently, as uncontrollably, his purpose coalesced from the same dust.

He moved, testing himself. A finger first, wrapping dust flesh like cloth slowly around itself. Releasing. A leg next, testing the air. Flexing. A half an hour later-- or perhaps only an eon--his body turned toward the stairs. Stopped.Tried to think a moment. Turned back.

Colder than the air that flowed through him, he stooped down. Slower than the now full sun struggling through the leaded pane window, his fingers groped until they found his staff.

Deliberately, he moved to the stair, ascended the first, planted the staff, dragged himself to the second. The age, the disuse of his actions were not new to him, and he settled in as if it were yesterday he had last travelled these stairs. Perhaps it had been.