He walked from the main road to the subdivision. His body trembled with cold. It had let him know, five minutes earlier, that the walk had come to its end. He wore his suit coat backward, the back in front, which did better against the wind, and his hands were wrapped in plastic bags. He had swooped down during the walk and plucked them from the icy ground, one hand in black plastic bag and the other in a white one.
The first house was circumscribed by a chain-link fence. He forced the latch up and stumbled to the door. He tried to think of what he might say. The right idea wasn’t coming. The words behind the idea were out of reach. He was at one remove from the person who knew how to form ideas and say words.
He fell to his knees before he could ring the doorbell. He put his bagged hands on the storm door and rested his head there. The metal was cold against his cheek. He fought with angry determination for two or three seconds. If he could defy the tidal fatigue, his body wouldn’t win, and he might still learn that someone had discovered him and would see him to safety.
— from “The Unnamed” (Little Brown), by Josh Ferris