The next day ice fog settled into the valley. Crystals of diamond dust seemed to fall from the sky like magical powder. It was a peculiar and inspiring scene. Shepherd wrestled with Pal and Trap in the snow. Later he filled their dishes and commanded Pal and Trap to stay at the cabin. He started his snow machine and drove toward Daniel’s.
Daniel greeted Shepherd from the porch as he stopped the engine.
“How are you, Shepherd?” Daniel said warmly and held out his hand.
Shepherd shook his hand and smiled. “I’m doing well. I wanted to get away from the cabin today.”
“How is you family?” Shepherd said.
“They are fine,” Daniel said. “They went into Ruby to pick up some supplies. I told them I would do it, but I think they wanted to get away from me for a while.”
“I can’t imagine that,” Shepherd chided, “but I’m glad they aren’t here there is some things on my mind and I wanted to talk to you privately.”
“Sure, Shepherd,” Daniel said. “This sounds serious. Let’s step inside and talk over some coffee or if you like tea.”
“Coffee will be fine,” Shepherd said.
Daniel brewed the coffee and they sat comfortably at the dinning room table.
“What is it, Shepherd?” Daniel said.
“Amarok,” Shepherd said. “Who is it?”
“Daniel smiled painfully. “There is a code, Shepherd; things we don’t’ speak about unless among our kind.”
“Daniel,” Shepherd said. “I have risk my life for you, I have put meat on your table, we have shared each other’s hospitality, you have given me a fine dog as a gift, I have carved a home in a godforsaken wilderness, and tamed a wolf, don‘t tell me I‘m not your kind.”
Daniel smiled proudly. “Yes, I knew from the moment I saw you, I knew. Amarok is our version of the KKK. There are a few, a tiny few, who want to scare you away.”
“Thanks, Daniel,” Shepherd said. “I don’t have to know who they are; I just know not to shoot.”
“Like we have said before, my friend,” Daniel said. “Frightened men, that’s all. In time they will tire.”
“But what about killing dogs?” Shepherd said.
“It is a warning to others,” Daniel smiled slowly. “Our ways are strange to some. They kill my dog and then they kill one of there’s. That way there is no revenge. They take care of it themselves. Once we start running short of dogs, it’s over.”
“That’s good to know these things,” Shepherd said.
“But you never heard it from me,” Daniel said.
Shepherd sipped his coffee.
“What else did you want to talk about?” Daniel said.