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"Are you brooding over your lost Hawken?"

Josiah hissed his impatience. "Shut up, Emma!"

Startled, Emma obeyed.

Kicking at the blankets, Josiah became frustrated when they tangled about his feet. He sat up to free himself, uttering something Emma couldn't make out.

"You seemed anxious to get out of the cabin this morning," said Emma.

Josiah glared at her, until Emma felt the small hairs on her arm stand on end.

Throwing back the blankets, Josiah stretched out on the buffalo robes to sleep. Emma bit her lip, wondering if she should press him further.

"Stop gaping at me, Emma."

"I wasn't gaping," she said in self-defense.

Even in the half-darkness of the cabin, Emma could see the disgusted look on Josiah's chiseled face.

"Are you angry with me, Josiah?"

Moaning, Josiah rubbed his face with the palm of his hand. "Reckon I'm more angry at myself, than with anyone else."

"Why?" It was a simple question, though from the long stretch of silence that came afterward, Emma sensed that the answer wasn't as simple.

Josiah opened his mouth to speak, but nothing came. He shut it again, turned onto his side, and then pulled up the blankets.


"Reckon I'm failing you and Mary," he said finally. "I can't find any game."

"There's still jerky left," said Emma, guessing that Josiah was trying to put her off from the truth. Something else was bothering him, and it wasn't fresh meat.

When it was obvious his answer hadn't fooled her, Emma saw Josiah scowl, and she knew her opportunity was gone. There had been the briefest of moments where she thought he would actually tell her what was on his heart. But it was gone, and Emma was left to wonder and to pray.

Josiah knew he couldn't keep going the way he had. Even his mountains offered him no peace. There was only one way he knew to rid himself of his burden, and that was to tell Emma. Forget God, and what the Bible said was right. He needed relief.
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