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Without another word, Josiah left the shelter, much to the relief of Emma.

Later that day, a sullen Josiah returned empty-handed. Emma bit back the urge to say "It serves you right," but her looks must have said what her mouth did not, for Josiah avoided looking directly at Emma for the rest of the night.

Morning came, and Emma braced herself. What would Josiah do next? She really didn't want to know.

Innocently eating buffalo jerky, Josiah behaved as though she and Mary weren't even there. His indifference to their presence went as far as to mutter to himself about the snowfall, and how it was getting heavier.

They had enjoyed a short reprieve in the weather, with unusually clear skies and surprisingly little wind. Emma smiled. It was almost as though God had held back winter, just long enough for them to safely arrive in the valley.

"Do you want more jerky?" Emma asked Josiah.

Instead of indicating that he had heard her, Josiah continued to eat. He kept acting as though he were the only one in the shelter, and though sad, it suited Emma better than his sudden religious talk of the previous morning.

In her childlike ignorance of what was happening, Mary asked Josiah a simple question. Emma winced when he didn't respond; he simply looked outside, and continued to eat his meal.

"Pa?" asked Mary. "Would you show me how you set a rabbit snare before you go?"

When Josiah remained mute, Mary sighed heavily and finished the rest of her jerky in silence.

Once again, a sullen Josiah returned from his hunt that evening, and once again, he was empty-handed.

The very next morning, Emma sat up in bed to stoke the fire before the flames died out and she would have to ask Josiah to start another.

"How'd you sleep?" Josiah's voice came from the other side of the lodge.

Looking up, Emma raised her eyebrows in mild surprise. "So, you've decided to start talking again?"

Josiah grinned wearily. "I can't get along without you, Emma."

Looking at him thoughtfully, Emma tossed more wood into the fire.

"How about coming over and just laying beside me fer awhile?"

Emma shook her head.

"Then how about giving me some sunshine?"

Emma didn't budge, and Josiah's jaw tightened.

"Yer one stubborn woman. What are you wanting from me?"
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