"North" by Joseph Fick

Chapter 60 The Relief Party p593~598

They were safe, at least for the time being. They were
on dry land. The line of tired refugees moved forward
barely noticing the change in their situation. “Thank
God,” muttered MacDonald. He looked about. It wasn’t
much, at least it didn’t look to be. With the arrival of
the rest of the Eskimos and crew, the snow became
stained with dirt, dog urine and feces. The group moved
as a tired mass, taking in their surroundings.
MacDonald gestured for Denhard and Ahnah. “We’ll
stop here, cook up a hot meal. Ahnah, how far to the
trading post?”
The Eskimo woman looked around them, trying to get
her bearings. “It’s still far, Aesop. Fifteen, maybe twenty
days travel, maybe more.”
MacDonald sighed. “That’s with a small party, with
this many people it would be longer, much longer.”
“How long will we stay here?” asked Denhard.
MacDonald shrugged his shoulders, “Four or five days
at least. Let’s get the shelters up and fires burning.”
“Yes sir.” The third mate and Ahnah went to do what
had to be done.
MacDonald watched them go, frowned and thought
about the situation.. He couldn’t leave Mason and the
others behind. He was going to have to send somebody
out for them, the question was who? There weren’t many
left from the crew of the SHY LADY and the Inuit were
becoming fewer and fewer. MacDonald had an idea. “Mr.
Denhard, a moment if you please,” he called.
The third mate came over to the first mate. “Yes, Mr.
MacDonald?”
MacDonald rubbed his nose with the back of his parka
sleeve. “After everyone has something to eat, organize a
hunting party, we’re going to be very busy over the next
few days.”
“Alright sir.”
“Once we’re stocked, we’ll be moving again. Denhard,
you’ll take a relief party back and search for Captain
Mason and his people. Ahnah and I will continue with
the rest and head south.”
Denhard nodded “How long do you want us to search?”
“Ten days time,” said MacDonald. “As long as your food
holds out and the ice is safe enough for you. We’ll head
south along the coast, about five days travel and wait for
you. We’ll stay at the camp for 17 days, after that we’ll
keep moving toward the trading post.”
“Who will be going on the relief party?”
MacDonald thought for a moment. “You’ll take some
Inuit and Tim Reiner.”
Denhard nodded “I know, Mr. MacDonald, he speaks
their lingo.”
MacDonald grinned, “Kid has it down.”
“Yeah, he does at that.” Denhard sighed. “But, I gotta
give the boy credit he’s been holding his own. Yeah, he’ll
be alright. Anything else, sir?”
“No, Mr. Denhard, continue with your duties.”
“Aye, sir.”
Tim was busy tying off the dogs when Ahnah walked by.
“Hey Ahnah!”
The Eskimo woman smiled “Hi, Tim. I heard you were
going out to look for Captain Mason.”
The young man nodded his head, “Yeah, Ahnah. I
wanted to thank you for that.”
Ahnah shook her head, “It was Aesop’s decision Tim.
And Denhard didn’t argue it.”
Tim nodded, “Still… you’ve been very good to me and I
appreciate it.”
Ahnah smiled, “You remind me of Peter in some ways
when he was your age.”
“Really? Chief Peter?”
Ahnah nodded, “Peter was quiet and determined like
you. Your future… your future young man is one of
responsibility.”
“Thank you, Ahnah. I’ll remember what you have said.”
Ahnah nodded. “I thought you would like to share our
meal later Tim. My mother hasn’t seen you in a long time
and we have another guest I’d like you to meet.”
“Thank you, Ahnah. I would like that.”
Ahnah nodded her head and walked on. Around her,
families or what was left of them worked together with
their friends and the crewman of the SHY LADY. She did
not see this in her dreams. In fact, she had not dreamed
in a very long time and it, bothered her. The thing that
she had wished gone for so long, was… gone. She felt lost
without the thing she had depended on for so long to
guide her. People had depended on her for so long to tell
them their fortunes, she began to wonder about her own.
Nothing had prepared her for that.
Sedna holding little Tah saw her daughter walking
toward their shelter. “A hunting party will leave soon.”
“Yes, I know. Aesop told me.”
“Still, it will be good for everyone.”
“Yes. I’ve invited young Tim to share our meal.”
Sedna smiled. “That is a good thing Ahnah. Come
inside we’ll prepare what we have.”
Denhard rubbed his eyes. They were watering from the
smoke that was blowing towards him. This place, and he
had been in some parts of the world, was the really the
asshole of the world. Cold, inhospitable. He hated the
food, what they had. He hated being cold, he hated being
in this God damned situation. Nothing had gone right on
this voyage, did he really expect anything to change?
Well, it had to. If it didn’t they weren’t gonna make it out
of this place alive. He saw a woman sitting across from
him. It had been awhile since he’d been with anyone,
maybe after he chewed some dog meat, he’d have some
dark meat.
MacDonald walked through the camp. They were a
pitiful bunch, he had to admit. If he was honest, he
would have to admit he was surprised they had made it
as far as they did with as many as they did. And as long
as he was being honest with himself, he didn’t think his
friend Jon Mason had made it either. It was as
everything had been cursed on this trip. Still, he couldn’t
leave without making an effort to try to find Mason and
Dunn. They wouldn’t leave him, if there was still a
chance he was still alive. God damn, he was tired.
Tim shifted his position and wiped his mouth. He was
glad Ahnah had invited him. He had felt lonely since Ed
had died but it was a lesson. He had to be responsible for
himself. And… well maybe others as well. He didn’t know.
“Tim, this is Talma,” said Ahnah motioning to a young
girl who appeared to be no more than sixteen years old.
Tim looked at the young Inuit girl, she smiled and
giggled behind a closed fist. She was a little chubby
but Tim found her… attractive. He had never really felt
like he was feeling right at that moment, strange but not
totally… unpleasant.
When it was time to rest, Talma took Tim’s hand and
pressed it to her breast, He felt a stirring in his groin, his
penis hardened. They were both young and new to the
feelings they were experiencing. Their lovemaking was
enjoyable, awkward and… innocent.
The next day, the hunting party departed. Tim was
among the hunters.

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