...continued from previous page
Be among the first to know when I post new chapters, to new books!

Click Here
Keep up-to-date on all the announcements and website news!

Subscribe today!

My policy is to follow the Golden Rule (Matthew 7:12); I hate spam too, and will never sell or give away your email address.
"I'll be glad when that cycle of yours gits going," he said, tearing off a mouthful of dried meat before taking a large gulp from the one cup of water they all shared. "This sure is hard on a man."

Emma smiled at him apologetically, and he grinned back.

After breakfast, while Josiah cleaned and readied their two rifles, the girls read a Bible story and then Emma reviewed Mary's ABCs. Mary was up to the letter "E," and Emma didn't want to lose the progress they had made in the last few days.

Then it was time to bundle up, and Emma made sure Mary had on more than one blanket, for they would be out for a prolonged time. Emma strapped on her snowshoes and then climbed into Josiah's heavy capote. She pulled up its large hood, and then picked up her pa's shotgun.

Grabbing enough jerky to feed everyone for the day, Josiah placed the food in a large buffalo hide that would keep them warm, should they need to take shelter against the snow. Tossing in his tin cup, Josiah bound the hide with sinew rope, and then swung the leather package over his shoulder.

By the time everyone was outside, they looked like a clan of fur bearing mountain dwellers. Emma wondered what her parents would have said, had they been there to observe her new family. Up front, dressed in his shaggy bearskin, Josiah trudged across the snow, his Hawken ever at the ready. Behind him plodded Emma, keeping careful watch as Mary kept pace at her side. In the sash tied about Mary's waist, Josiah had tucked his unloaded pistol. They left trails of vapor that vanished in the winter air, and three sets of footprints that wouldn't be erased until the next snowfall. All in all, Emma felt they were a strange sight to behold.

Josiah led them down the mountainside, until the valley below opened up like a large amphitheater, white and ghostly to Emma's poor eyesight. The valley floor was surrounded by rugged foothills and scattered with trees, rocks and wide open spaces. Hollowtop Mountain reigned over all, its flattened crown clearly visible for miles around. Emma felt vulnerable being so out in the open after the close confines of the cabin, but tried not to let it show.

"Wish I had me a horse," Josiah said longingly, his sharp eyes piercing the trackless horizon before them. "I'd scout out the elk."

A sharp chill went through Emma's frame. Tugging the sash about her capote, she made sure her coat was completely closed. The haunting sounds of a prowling wolf caused another chill through Emma, and she suddenly realized it wasn't the cold that was making her uncomfortable. She clutched her rifle, and Josiah flashed her a knowing grin.

"Cabin life has been spoiling you," he said with a laugh.

Emma smiled grimly. She remembered life with Josiah before they arrived at the lodge, and knew he was probably right. Life hadn't been easy, but it was certainly safer behind four solid walls. Another howl filled the mountains, until other wolves joined in, and soon, a full chorus pervaded the air. Emma listened to the wilderness song, until the last howl faded in the wind, leaving her to silently marvel at their wild, untamed beauty.

Cupping a hand to his mouth, Josiah cut loose with a wolf howl of his own. To Emma's surprise, his call was answered with a solitary cry.

Josiah breathed in the sharp air. "We'd best keep moving."
continued on next page...
<< Love Stories Last PageLove Stories Next Page >>
Spread the Love
One of my longtime readers, Myra Valcourt, has created a Facebook group just for you! "The Works of Judith Bronte" offers a forum to discuss the stories and characters, and a way to get to know other readers. I hope to see you there!