They had made the five day travel as planned, but it
was painfully obvious that it was as far as the main
party was going to go. People were weak, equipment was
falling apart. For many, this was as far as they would go.
They set up shelters and waited for deliverance of one
kind or another. At this point it was beginning to not
matter which one.
MacDonald looked at the two crewmen standing before
him, Oaks and Irwin. They were thin with sunken
cheeks and bleeding gums. Everybody who was alive was
beginning to look the same. These two men were about
the only ones capable of any long distance travel. They
would leave with two Inuit. Whomever else was left
(there were damn few) and was able would have to stay
with the main party (which was down to butchering their
dogs) and continue searching for food.
“I can’t impress upon you two, the importance of the
task at hand,” said MacDonald. Both men nodded their
heads. “Get to the trading post. Get help. If you don’t…
“We’ll get there, sir,” said Oaks.
“You can count on us Mr. MacDonald,” said Irwin. Like
the other survivors on this misguided adventure, the
situations they had found themselves in, had had a
profound effect on the once shy and insecure man. His
brother who held him in such low regard before, would
hardly recognize him now.
MacDonald nodded his head. “I know Irwin,” he said
with a smile, “I don’t doubt it. Now do you have the
“Right here, sir,” Oaks held up the leather pouch which
contained the written message MacDonald had composed.
If anything happened to Oaks or Irwin, one of the Inuit
could deliver the message.
“Good luck gentlemen, I’ll not keep you.” They shook
hands and the men walked to the sled where the two
Inuit were waiting.
“We’ll be back, sir,” said Irwin.
MacDonald waved them off and walked to where
Ahnah was standing with little Tah holding her hand.
“Do you think they’ll make it Aesop?”
MacDonald sighed, “I don’t know Ahnah, I really don’t
know.” Fires burned and food was cooked. “Come on, let’s
get something to eat.”