The bone chilling wind from the west blew up the Rockey Mountains in Colorado,the dark skinned multiracial trekker named Steven Black hawk flying pulled the Buffalo robe he was wearing closer to him and hunched over to try and stay warm.He gently patted the neck of Gabriel,His gelding horse,he took good care of him which was seen by the gleam of his brushed coat.As he gently patted his neck he said "we will find a place to camp soon,so you can warm up".As he spoke the words a bullet came whizzing by his head! You ain't gonna be getting me came a thunderous voice,shut up you idiot before you cause a, just then he heard the distant roar that got louder and closer so did the man. They both headed for a cave that they had spotted as Gabriel ran his nostrils fl aired and chugged out air,when Steven and the man got to the cave the fight was on.Ian pulled the man from his horse and whack hit him hard just then the mouth of the cave was covered,the darkness swallowed them both up as they continued to fight,the mountain man pulled out a buck knife and slammed it into Stevens shoulder,Steven got up pulled it out and threw it to the ground he then threw a right followed by a jaw breaker and then a hey maker.The man fell back,Steven seized the moment and tied him up.When Ian woke up he wiggled around .So you are the dreaded Ian McNeil?Eye lad now what bout it?Nothing Steven responded then continued to search for something to burn while he searched Ian slipped the small knife he had up his boot and cut the ropes to loose himself.When Steven came back whack before he had time to notice anything he was struck in the jaw knocking him back,then a punch to the wounded arm that really shot pain pulsing through his body,in spite of the pain Steven with teeth clenched thrust ed his fist up into the mans face just before the knife in Ian's hand was about to be thrust ed through Stevens heart.You Lad have a strong will to live but I have a stronger will to RIP your heart out I reckon,just then Steven brought his foot up between Ian's legs.Off the wind was knocked out of him,he threw a right then a hey maker,he flew back and hit his head against the wall knocking him out.When he woke up the second time he found himself naked except a cloth around his groin,unusual I reckon but gets the job done he commented,coming from me that is A complement I rec ken I have seen allot in my day lad,but you take the bonnie right off my hat, you are fighting in spite of the pain I know i inflickted on you.Stevens shirt was wet with blood and he could feel it he whistled for Gabriel and he came he stood up and almost fell back down,with a sneer Iean told him what happened,you see i recon I might as well tell you what happened I killed a rattler and its poisen got on the blade of my knife,you bleed out alot of it but not all of it,when we were fighting i knew I would not win so I gave it to time ,the poison runing through you.began to laugh loudly.Stevens vision became blurry soon he blacked out.Iean rubbed the ropes against a stalagmight and they broke he climbed out a whole that he knew of .When Steven came too he tried to sit up but he was pushed down by a small hand,A women here in the mountains?He was really confused now.With the look of suprise he tried to sit up again and this time he was not pushed down.In front of him stood a roughly dressed women,the clothes were male but the figure defenetly was female.Her hair was a fier red that shined in the suinlight flooding in from the window,she was clean and she defenatly smelled nice like a women,her eyes were a grass green herhead was round but not fat flowing was more like it,the person was lucky who ever married her.Stop sitting there with your mouth open like a barn door,or I reckon a fly might mistake it for a home.A sense of humer Steven liked that in A women,he snickered.You aint a choken are you? He shook his head,to indicate no.You aint in no troble with the law is ya,again he shook his head you shure do not say much do you.Unless nesasary I find words useless Steven responded well I will be a cows uncle you do speek.Steven snickered again,yes and you have a wonderfull sense of humer I reckon.Why thank ya kindly.I will bring you your viddels it aint much but it is alll we have till I get to town.How long have I been out Steven asked for three days,Steven planted his feet on the ground and tried to stand up,who are you deff or some then like that?She ran over and caught him before he fell to the floor.With a scolding look on her face Catiesaid sharply You almost died in that cave you are lucky the Lord sent that friend of yours to tell me whare you were.Friend?Now Steven was really confused now was with him when he and Iean were trapped in the cave.Could you describe him to me please?Boy you shure are a strange one,she described him as tall about six feet tall dark brown hair well shaven except for the mustach on his face he was well built in about his mid to late fortys,he told her that there was someone down in the cave that kneeded her help he was silent like you.Then he was gone.So I decided to help you.What was his voice like Steven was curiouse about this man,Well I did not think about it before but it sounded soothing and smooth like a brook.His eyes were brown ane gental calming I could drown in them she said thoughtfully.He seemed angelic as silly as it sounds.Actualy it does not sound silly at all.Well not trying to interupt this moment,but my stomach is talking to me.We are going to have soup or at least you are , untill I am shure you can handle the more solid stuff how long will that take that is up to you but not right now.So they ate supper and he went to sleep the next morning he tried to get up and fell to the floor startaling Catie awake she had the pistol ready to shoot.She put the gun down when she saw him on the floor and walked over to him are you trying to get yourself killed?He did not answe her if you are you are off to a good start,the more you move the more that rattler poison will move through you.His brow was beading up with sweat,he wiped it dry.You are getting a fever I reckon every bone in your body and every cell is stubborn ,Most people would have died by now that is what suprises me about you.He remained silent,Listen here is the thing I am helping you,so I deserve to know a little about you.About me?Steven thought that I am a savage or white what am I ?What do you wont to know he asked?Whare are you from?No place,what you have to have a home. If you must know I am a half breed,why do you use a word like that?I reckon it aint none of my buisneses but it sunds like you are having troubels fitten in I know what that is like,how could you Steven snapped who there you are sounding worse than those wolves I have dealt with before I am just asking questions that is all.She tryed to help him up but he pushed her away,whats yalls problem?If you wont to die go some whare else and go ahead I reckon apart of you does but there is that bigger part that is fighting the other half,hold on honey.What did you call me!Nobody called him honey since his wife did and it hurt,"honey" that is what I called you.Please dont he said before he blacked out again,when he woke up again he was in the bed in the living room.You are a mean cuss at times I will give you that but I knew that poison would get the better of you for now you are tied for your own good.What?He tried to sit up but could not.Now either you can be decent,and talk or yell like a wild man up to you.How could I understand about being half Indian and half White that is what I am, I know I do not look like it but I am,my mom was Cherikee,and my dad was white.That is how I know Steven bowed his head a little Iam sorry.Not much for words but accepted now shall we begin again?I am Catie I was born in Colorado,my Pa was killed during a hunting exspedition some say it was a accedent but others say difirent,I just know he died how does not matter,he died is all that is known.It was hard on my ma but she was tough and raised me by herself alot of guys tried to court hbut they did not stick around long I reckon,ma just wound up dyen all alone.What about you Steven asked?How did I win up here well my husband Kurt was killed up here and I never left the moutains except to get suplies for here.Just then A bullet came whizzing by,Hey Catie yall still there alive,yep she took a knife and threw it out the window,the man grunted as the blade parted the skin and pierced to the bone.He fell back,I told you the last time you came here shooting I would do that next time I will aim for the heart and believe me I will hit it too.Now you and your tow other brothers get!Trouble?Naw just anoying thats all.Catie looked up it looks like it is going to get nasty and fast I am going to get some wood stay still or I will shoot you got it?Yes mam he said.A few minuets she came in with wood in her arms,and threw it down on the floor,now we will bebael to keep warm now what about food?She steped back out side and came in with a side of beef actualy it was eneough for three weeks,wo is going to help you eat that he asked?Well depending on how stubborn you are going to be you maybe,also I have some appel sider some mapel syrep for warming up and other things that you I am shure will enjoy but you have to try and get better first.Steven never said another word he determined to live one day at A time,when the snow started it was slow at first then picked up and got stronger and stronger,untill it piled up high out side .When Catie started to cook supper for her and Steven the snow really was going fast.Catie looked over at Steven thinking of some one?Yep he said in a flat tone,do not even think of going out there,Before you ask a fool question like why not, I found a man who froz solid from this stuff,who is she?Actualy it is A he,must be a special friend ,you could say that.Is he tall ?Yep black,yes he said in a tone of more concern,He is in the barn he is a butiefull creture that is for shure,why dident you tell me you had him?You never asked I reckon she replied.He just flopped back down on to the couch and rolled his eyes.By the way how did you get all those marks?She asked.This was hitting him hard right whare he did not let anybody in,why does it matter?I was just asking that is all,you shure are tender there she comented . Well if you had happen to you what i had happen to me you would be too,if you caused the death of a person you cared about you would be tender too.I reckon so she comented then went back to cooking.I am sorry about that i do not like talking about it I got these marks when I lost my wife,she was murdered,did you find the people that did it?No,nobody cared much to go looking for them but I know who they are,what are you gonna do bout it,noten I rekon or something who knows really.Well do not let it eat you alive.How do you know what it feeels like?I lost my husband to some fuden,and I reckon for a little while I was bitter but then I woke up and stoped being that way you make it sound easy,easy if it is one thing it is not easy I recken,just depends on what you wont from life.What?ok let me ask you this, do yall desier to live or die?Live then stop being bitter ,it will eat you alive,and consume you do you wont that?No .That is what i mean.The wind picked up outside and the snow came down even harder, it is getting rough out there. How long have you been up here alone?About tow years why/just asking that is all,just then the roof started to creek and as the smoke from the fier that was burning started to fill the room, I reckon we have a problem she untied Steven and said you are going to have to walk,the part of the roof that was over Catie craked and came crashing down but not before Steven leaped up and pushed her out of the way.They got up and opened up the door it was blocked up,feel up to a climb Steven?The wind really blew and in a few minuets after gathering suplys they left Steven swore he would be back for Gabriel,I wouldent worry none he is a smart critter he will be fine,come on,a second gust of wind pushed them on as they made there journey they faced certian perials such as slick and wet rocks,sharp drops, one time they almost fell because Steven was falling under ths toxens in his blood from the blade of Iean and he sware if he ever meet him again he would beat him to a pulp if given the chance!When they got to the cave he was weak and sweatting badly,Catie looked for wood to burn but instead found bones,this did not look good,sooon she heard the growel of some wolves,they were all black and there eyes were hungry and they looked like there next meal.The leader was black with a scar that ran down its face,he leaped up but then a grey wolf leaped into the air and tackeled it down,while the wolf was in the air it clamped its jaws down on the neck of the Black male and wresteled around with it untill it died.Catie raised the pistol to shoot the wolf as it walked over to the injured man,Steven woke up to the feeling of wet slobber on his face,and the wolf sitting next to him,the other wolves just stayed away untill they got up the nerve then one by one they circled the lone wolf and the tow humens snarling and baring there teeth,the wolf that sat by Steven snarled back but the others would not back down,one of the dogs leaped into the air and Steven leveled his side arm after drawing it on the dog in the air and squezzed the trigger,the aim was bad, the grey wolf leaped up after Steven shot and clamped down on the attacking wolfs neck untill it fell to the ground dead then the other woves came pouncing this time Steven took careful aim and squezzed the trigger pow the gun exsploded and the silver bullet split the air with deadly acuracy,it plunged into the thick black fur of the first dog that tried to attack there knew found furry friend,while he shot that one there came flying another one and it was meet by the stricking blow of a mettal musket ball from a civial war riffle that Caties Husband left with her and she repaired it so she could use it.There were tow more left but they left.I recken that was the most excite ment I ever saw!I have the feeling that is not all we have to face,why do you say that?Catie asked.Those wolves ran for a reson I have never known a wolf to just leave like that unless there is something larger in here.Well I did find alot of bones of big animals,Steven coked his gun again with out saying a word whare are thiose bones at,She went and got them and returned with them,Steven dug out all the marrow and threw them on the ground,did you notice the shadows,he queerd,not really why do you ask,what lives here is a bear how do you know this,see the grooves on the bone,yes,well it is larger than anny of the wolves that tried to attack us also they are deep too.Besides that the tracks are defenately bear,that are pradomenent have you ever had troubel with bears he asked no they stay out of my way and I theres,well by coming in here we have broken that little pact.After Steven finished the sentance he saw a large shadow move toward them the wolf started to growel and bear its teeth,this will take us all boy,the dog still groweled as if he did not hear Steven.The bear got to whare they were stood up on its feet and sniffed the air,how manny rounds do you have left/about three why,that gun is too slow to be loaded anny how,what!Take my riffle It is a new weppon it willl be faster.He turned as the bear growled loud.He is mad that is certan the bear charged Steven pulled the hammer to his pistal back and pulled the trigger,it exsplodes it hits the bear in the shoulder,with its claw it swipes Steven aside tearing the shirt ahd his flesh,while the bear was busy trying to tear Steven up but he kept it at bay with the butt of Caties riffle ,Catie coked the riffel and fiered the wepon it hit the back of the skull and lodged there,the bear fell on top of Steven he pushed it aside crawled over to Catie and kissed her on the cheek,thank you he said,she looked shocked,whats wrong is Steven around anny whare?What?The man I met before was quite cold,you have warmed up some,she said with a smile.She was smiling for another reson while he was close to her she drank in his scent,and reveled in the feeling of his lips on her cheeks,it had ben a while since a man had been that close to her.Most of the men she meet were cold and only wonted tow things,she gladly gave them food but the other she was not willing to,Iean took it from her and she turned cold towards men after that but there was something about this man that seemed to say she could trust him.She sat there for a few minuets and was void to the world around her, then she snapped back to reality.WE kneed to get something to burn and fast the temp is droping how about the bears bones?Too wet still those other bones are old that was the only reason they burned so well.A idea crossed Stevens head, he crawled over to the bears carkes,pulled out his knife and began to skinn the bear,He will do us alot of good,How ?Well the meat will feed us and the fur will keep you warm latter,how about right now?Good question,she brightened up,what?I have alot of paper she stated happily, that will help with starting the fier but we kneeed something to keep it burning and alot of it.She started smiling what are you smiling about?Well we could huddel together and let our body heat keep each other warm?Let me think about that ok?I will use it as a last resort,I am not ready to die yet.Good if you were ready to give up on life now I would consider you a coward!Steven never meet such a brash women who yet at the same time was truthfull,and all women, could I ask you something?Shure,What was your Pa like?He was a treakker from what my mom told me he was responsiable also gone alot so he could provide for her.Yet he was loving man A smile crossed her lips ,what?Once my mom told me that it had been a hard winter for her tribe and the game was scarce but yet my Pa had found A place whare there was plenty of game and took her tribe there,they ate quite welll that year,that is when I came into the general situation I reckon,so how did your parents meet?How did your Ma,and Pa, meet?My Pa, was caught in a nasty storm while hunting and my moms tribe found him and brought him back with them I recken,he had traded with them before and gave them the best of what he had,my Ma was assighned to take care of him and I rekon it just happened from there,pa started to trade more with them and also he and Ma started to see more and more of each other.How did you meet your husband hw also was atrader of sorts,what do you mean,He was a missonary and he came to the camp which caused them to respect him for his boldness and as we watched him we noticed he had a peace that we could not understand,from what he told us his family died in a Indian raid and yet he came to the Indians,what do you mean by his family?His Pa,Ma,and his siter was kidnapped by the attacking tribe.So he lived with you all?No he lived in a abandoned fort about three miles from us.Did anybody get saved?Actualy qiet a few of us did.Whe he and I got married we moved to the mountains to work with the indian tribes that came to the mountains to escape the whites as they took the land from them,it really sadddened him.By the way just sitting here talking is not going to keep us warm.Steven sighed then got a buckskin wrap came back over to her and sat up,snugaling with her,she nestled her head into his chest and smiled.She had forgotten what it was like to feel the warmth of a man who was not so cold and hard hearted.The warmth felt good to her,Lord forgive me,she thought.She did not know this man that well but there was something about him that she trusted which had not happened the day Iean killed him.Her thoughts turned to that day when she saw Iean shoot her husband in front of her,then he forced himself on her and called her a mountain whore!The anger was welling up in her again she tried to fight it off but it was no use.Whats wrong you are turning brighter than a red apple ready for picken I recken.Its none of your buisneses!Who now who is being grumpy?I was rapped she yelled out there you happy now! No,who does it really matter why do you think i stay up here!Do you really think a town would believe me?Crazzy Catie?You are not crazzy why does it matter wether I am or not?Our survival for one.You actualy believe me?Yes I do you have no reson to lie. They woke up the next morning the mouth of the cave was blocked solid,Steven was feeling better and stronger so he stood up and walked to the cave mouth,trying not to wake up Catie but it was no use she came up behind him and he could feel the heat from her breath on the back of his neck causing his hair to stand up.She excited him there was the fact that he had not been this close to a women since his wife died which was five years ago,but there was something else that just reminded him of Cathy,what he thought?Help me Lord.He turned around and looked into her eyes he saw the same fear that he had staring back at him,this was all new to him,he had not been afected by a women like this for a long time and it was taking every ounce of dtrength he had to fight the fleshly urge to grabb her and kiss her like he wonted to,he knew he had to though.She was a butiefull women in more ways than her looks,and that is what grabbbed his attention about her.The drifting smoke caught his attention,he steped around her and folowed the smoke into the darkness of the cave whare the bear came from Steven found a hidden crack big enough for himself and Catie to fit through.He walked back to the main cavern and froze still there in front of catie was a rattler that was bigger than anything he had seen,its rattle shook he ws going to strike unless Steven did something and fast!He drew his pistol and fiered it,it hit its target! He went over to catie and sat down next to her,she covered her mouth,whats wrong he asked? Then like a wave over him the numbness set in he realised what was wrong,he was hurt worse than what he thought,the blood soaked his shirt and ran down his arm,and dripped from there to the ground.She grabbed his haver sack and pulled out the knedle and the silk thread,and warned him that it would hurt but it did not really,after she was done she looked in his haver sack untill she found his medicen pouch and got the herbs she kneded for this situation,mixed them together and put it on the wound before she bandaged it up.Now laydown and get some rest we are going to be here for a while.Actualy he tried to protest,even if you have found a way out you are in no condition to be traveling,the grey wolf got up and came over to Steven and sat down next to him,it looks like you have a new friend she said.Steven thought for a moment then shrugged his shoulders,whats that fer? Nothen,he said and layed down on the ground.He was used to sleeping on the ground he found it strangly comfortable and familier,he did this alot when he was tracking some one or something.