"North" by Joseph Fick

Chapter 62 Becoming a Man p600~601

Young Tim Reiner looked at the bright white pristine
environment that surrounded him through the bone
snow goggles one of the Eskimos had made for him.
Three weeks they had been gone, Tim, Denhard and
three of the Inuit with one sled. So far, they had no
indication that the pole party was still alive and it didn’t
look promising. As it was, they were where they were
and the party with MacDonald was long gone the other
way. Since he had been in the arctic, he imagined that
the days with sun must be what heaven looked like and
those without, the darkness of hell. Regardless, this
place he thought, was well suited to the afterlife. The
hunting party Tim had been on had been successful after
being out ten days and brought back enough food to keep
themselves and the others alive for awhile longer. They
didn’t spend much time in camp when they returned
though. Tim had two nights with Talma before he and
the others left on the job assigned by MacDonald.
Denhard came up from behind and patted the boy on
the shoulder. “How ya doing Tim?”
Tim turned slightly, “I’m ok, Mr. Denhard.”
“It’s pretty big out there, ain’t it?”
“Sure is Mr. Denhard. Do you think… well, do you
think…?”
“We’ll find’em?” asked Denhard, completing the boy’s
sentence. He shrugged his shoulders. “Honestly, I don’t
know. It’s amazing we’ve made it this far.”
“Maybe Mr. Denhard but this ain’t no place to leave
anybody.”
“No it ain’t Tim, that’s why we’re here.”
The experience had changed Tim. It had changed them
all. Tim had left the shelter of childhood and saw the
seriousness of adulthood, of this adventure or rather
misadventure. This was no school boy romp he was on.
He was there to save lives. Denhard had become more
responsible, he was becoming a leader. His future would
be changed by the present as well.
“Tim!” shouted Denhard. “Tell the Eskimos we’re
leaving.”
Reiner nodded his head, “Aye, Mr. Denhard.” The
leather quirt cracked and the dogs began their frenzied
barking. They had a lot of ground to cover and little time
left.

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