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The word for today is ruthless.
The working Title for this is
Samantha's Mountain Refuge
Samantha wrapped her scarf around her head. No matter how many times she wrapped it the weight of the hardened ice dragged it down off her head. The naysayers were right, winter came early—very early and with a vengeance. She stared at the pure, white, snow dotted with Ponderosa pines. Their branches bowed from the snowy burden. She’d doubted her survival the minute they banned her from the wagon train but as she walked away, she grew determined to survive. What a difference a few weeks made. As soon as the storm hit two days ago her doubts returned.
She took a step and stumbled. The hem of her dress, caked with icy snow made it hard going. With each step, her feet punched through the snow and sunk. Her hands stung from the biting cold. Soon she wouldn’t feel them anymore. She was well versed on the signs of frostbite. Pushing herself upright she struggled on, one exhausting step at a time.
The wind howled and she wanted to cry at its sad song. She’d been on her own for two long weeks now. How she hated the pious women, she’d traveled with. The death of her parents left her alone and a woman alone was not allowed. The married women believed she’d entice their husbands. The same women whose children she nursed when they were sick. The hypocrisy ate at her soul.
It was either marry Old Thomas or leave. She refused to marry, calling their bluff. Unfortunately, it wasn’t a bluff. They threw her a sack of food and a canteen of water and left her behind.
Again she fell, face first into the snow. Struggling to rise she shook her head. Maybe it’d be easier to just lay there and fall into a forever sleep. Her food was long ago eaten and her strength had held out surprisingly long, but now she wasn’t sure it was worth the effort.
A horse nickered and she pushed herself up. Her heart skipped a beat in fright. On the horse sat a huge man covered in animal furs. His rifle lay across his lap.
“Get up,” He said, his voice full of anger.
Samantha pushed and struggled until she stood. This was it, she just hoped her death would be painless. Putting her frigid hands on her hips, she brazenly studied him. His slate blue eyes were full of compassion. He held out his hand. She grasped it and was hauled up in front of him.
“Let’s get you warm.” He opened his fur coat, pulled her against his warm body and wrapped them both up. “Where are your people?”
“Yes, do you have a cabin here bouts? You shouldn’t be out here alone. It’s dangerous and in the snow it’s easy to get lost.”
Turning her head, she felt his warm breath against her cheek. His full beard brushed against her. “I’m on my own. I was hoping to find a town.”
He didn’t say anything else as he urged his steed forward. It was slow going in the snow but the horse seemed to know its way. Leaning back against his wide chest her eyes closed.
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