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Emma turned about, retracing her snowshoes' tracks back to the tree where she had left the eagle. The sky grew whiter, until snow filled the air. Panicking, Emma struggled to find her tracks before the snow covered her trail. The wind grew steadily worse, and suddenly, Emma couldn't see the ground in front of her.

Blindly feeling her way through the blizzard, Emma finally found refuge beside a tree, and huddled against its trunk for shelter.

"God, please help me," Emma prayed into the air. She pulled the hood over her face as far as it would go, and then hunched down on her snowshoes to keep warm. The icy wind cut through Emma like a knife, and she struggled to retain her body warmth. Emma cupped her hands to her mouth. "Josiah! Josiah!" Her call was swallowed by the wind, and Emma decided to save her strength. She was already feeling a little drained, and it wouldn't do any good to wear herself out when no one could hear her calls.

The blizzard began just as Josiah started to look for Emma, and the heavy snow forced him to return to Mary. They crouched beneath the buffalo hide to wait out the storm, and watch the steadily increasing snowfall.

Mary looked frightened, but Josiah knew it wasn't for herself.

"She'll make it all right, you just see," he said with a confident nod of his head.

The girl didn't respond, but tried to huddle against Josiah for warmth. At first, Josiah edged away from Mary, but when he saw how cold she was becoming, the mountain man let her get closer.

"Emma won't go far," said Josiah. "She'll keep her wits, and wait out the storm, just like us. Then I'll go looking fer her."

Mary blinked at him. She didn't look fooled by his brave words. "The snow is covering her tracks, Pa."

Mary's astute observation surprised Josiah, but not because he hadn't already thought of that. This little girl was smart. Smarter than he had given her credit.

"I'm knowing about the snow, but I can find her anyway," he said, sounding more confident than he was feeling.

Mary stared at him uncertainly, tears pooling in her dark eyes. "I will pray," she said with a whimper.

Josiah harrumphed, but let Mary do as she wanted. God wasn't there, and if He was, He sure didn't care about Josiah Brown or anyone else. Why, with Josiah's bad luck, Emma would be found next spring, a lifeless thawing carcass, still clinging to some tree or rock for safety. The thought angered Josiah, and he heard his clenched teeth grind. He let himself love Emma, and now God was trying to take her from him.

"I ain't letting Him get away with it," Josiah said beneath his breath.

Mary looked at him questioningly.

"The moment this blizzard let's up," said Josiah, "I'm leaving you with a loaded pistol and this here buffalo hide. You just keep yerself wrapped in the hide, and wait fer me and Emma."

Mary's eyes grew wide. "You will come back for me?"
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