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Indignant that she should even ask such a question, Josiah snarled angrily. "Yer my flesh and blood ain't you? I won't leave you to die."

Biting down on her bottom lip, Mary quivered as she moved closer.

Feeling some remorse for growling at the child, Josiah put his arm about her. Mary softly cried against his chest, and Josiah patted her shoulder. All he could do was wait for the snow to let up.

Huddled by her tree, Emma remembered today was Sunday. Needing something to calm the terror she felt tugging at her heart, Emma began singing a hymn about Jesus.

"His name yields the richest perfume, and sweeter than music His voice; His presence disperses my gloom, and makes all within me rejoice." Emma paused to listen, but could only hear the wind gusting about her capote. "I should, were He always thus nigh, have nothing to wish or to fear; No mortal so happy as I, my summer would last all the year."

Emma stopped. She thought she heard something, but couldn't make it out over the wind.

"Josiah!" Emma shouted as loudly as she could.

The hauntingly familiar noise came again, and Emma anxiously looked about to see where it was coming from. This time, she knew what it was. Gripping her shotgun, Emma squinted through the blizzard. When the howl sounded again, Emma prayed the wolf wouldn't find her. Surely, no creature would be out in this storm.

With a startled cry, Emma saw a large form coming toward her through the heavy snowfall.

Josiah waited impatiently, while Mary continued to pray at his side.

"Bring Ma back to us, Jesus. Make her come."

"Ma would do better to stay where she was, and wait fer me," said Josiah. "Stupid woman."

Mary stared at Josiah indignantly. "My ma ain't stupid!"

"When it comes to things from books, I'm sure she ain't, but when it comes to keeping herself alive in these mountains..." Josiah's voice trailed off, unwilling to follow through with his accusation. "Yer right, she ain't stupid."

The snow finally let up, and Josiah climbed out from under the buffalo hide. While Mary looked at him bravely, he bundled the child into the warm skin, and then loaded her pistol. Handing it to Mary, her small dark eyes locked with his.

"I'll be back fer you," he said reassuringly. "I give you my word."

Mary nodded soberly.

Casting one last glance at the small bundle waiting for his return, Josiah started off in search of his wife.

Emma froze. The form moved toward her with a steady even step, and then stopped just a few feet from where she sat crouched against the tree. When the figure took another step forward, Emma cocked back one of the hammers on her shotgun, bringing it around so the large form could see she was armed.
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