"North" by Joseph Fick

Chapter 57 No Time to Lose p586~588

The gunshot was loud in the overwhelming silence. It
was the last one. They had just shot the eight dogs from
the second sled and began butchering them. No one
doubted Keelut’s claim that their supply depots were
gone. They were going to have to make it back with one
sled and the unfortunate beasts they had just killed
would have to be their food. Things were bad but the way
things had been going, they couldn’t expect it to be any
other way.
“How much time do we have Captain, before the ice
breaks up on us altogether?” asked Hollister as they
were skinning the dogs.
Mason shook his head, “Not long with this sun. It’s
already getting warmer. With one sled, we should be able
to move faster.” He hoped he sounded optimistic. “Still…”
“What are the chances of MacDonald sending out a
search party out?” asked Hollister.
Mason shrugged his shoulders, “It’s a possibility. It just
depends on what Aesop is dealing with. There are three
of us, six as far as he knows and he has a whole ship plus
the Eskimos to worry about.”
Hollister shook his head. “This trip certainly wasn’t
like anything I expected, that’s for sure.”
Mason smiled. “I don’t think any of us expected the
way this all turned out.”
“Nancy was right, I’m getting to old for these…
excursions.”
“Until the next one is offered,” said Mason.
Hollister smiled. “Maybe you’re right.”
“You know I am.”
Dunn knelt down and checked on Peter who was
resting near an overturned sled. “How are you doing?”
The Eskimo winced slightly. “I’m alright Dunn. I
should help with the dogs…” he said starting to rise.
Dunn pushed him down gently. “It’s alright Peter, we got
it.”
“This light, I would welcome it most other times but
now…”
“Yeah, I know.”
“We have to move Dunn or we will die out here, you
know that.”
Dunn nodded. The spring thaw had already started. To
say that their time was limited was an understatement.
He had to give the late Keelut reluctant credit. He
certainly knew the situation he had put his foes in.
Maybe the last laugh really was his. Bastard.
“Rest Peter, we’ll be moving out as soon as we finish
skinning these dogs.”
The Inuit nodded and closed his eyes.

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