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Just then, a small rabbit bounded across Josiah's path and suddenly froze, as rabbits usually do when they suspect detection. Deftly moving to his packhorse, Josiah brought out his bow, for he didn't want to risk the sound of a gunshot carrying to where the Blackfoot were camped nearby. Taking an arrow from his quiver, Josiah drew it against the tight sinew of his bow. He let the arrow fly, and the rabbit was soon dangling from Josiah's saddle. At least he wouldn't have to return to Emma empty handed.

Stars were visible by the time Josiah reached the spot where he reckoned he had left Emma. The moonlight was dim, so he crouched low to probe the darkness with his ears. Just to the left, Josiah detected the faint cry of a woman. He crept closer until his buffalo robe came into view. Emma was nowhere in sight, but when he heard the cry once more, he realized she was beneath the robe and had no idea that he was there.

Thoughtfully, Josiah scratched his chin. Had Emma spent her ammunition, or did she have a loaded pistol waiting for him? Not wanting to chance getting shot at, Josiah stalked closer until he could hear the sounds of Emma's smothered breathing beneath the buffalo robe. Without warning, the trapper pounced on the robe and clamped a strong hand over Emma's mouth to keep her from screaming.

Terrified, Emma thrashed under the weight of her assailant while her hand frantically searched for the pistol. Josiah, however, was ready for just that, and he quickly located the weapon before she did. Keeping Emma pinned with one arm, Josiah examined the pistol and found it wasn't loaded.

"Emma, stop moaning!" he scolded, and let the woman go so she could collect her senses. "Thought to shoot me, did you?"

Gasping for breath, Emma looked up at him with a tear streaked face.

"Thought you said you wouldn't use this against me," he mused, waving the pistol before her accusingly.

"I-- I didn't know it was you!" stammered Emma.

Josiah looked at her skeptically but made no reply. "I got us a rabbit for supper." He sat cross-legged on the ground and pulled out his Bowie knife. "Did you see anyone while I was gone?"

"No," mumbled Emma, still trying to calm her nerves after Josiah's surprise attack.

"What'd you shoot at, then?" he inquired, running the blade of his knife down the length of the rabbit.

"I scared away a wolf," replied Emma. "You only gave me enough shot and gunpowder to fire the pistol once."

"I don't trust you with more ammunition," came Josiah's ready response. "I don't favor getting a belly full of lead from no woman." He cleaned the Bowie knife against the knee of his buckskins and then returned it to his belt. "Even if that woman happens to be my wife." Josiah looked at her with a steady warning in his dark eyes. "You get my drift, Emma?"

"I didn't know it was you," she protested.

Josiah grunted and then peeled back the skin of the rabbit lying in his lap.

Not knowing what to make of his grunt, Emma dried her tears and wearily folded the warm robe around her body. It was then that she noticed the horses were picketed unusually close to camp and ventured to say as much to Josiah.

"There's Blackfoot about," he shook his head cautiously. "I saw a passel of them back yonder, hunting and skinning as much buffaler as they could carry."
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