Alaska, 1897 Was that a light? A flicker . . . a light maybe . . . yes . . . yes. The swirling mass of white shifted long enough to glimpse . . . something. Light . . . life, yes, choose light-life. She blinked rapidly, trying to see, trying to blink past the thick, wet veil, her heart pounding with hope and then fear that it was only a blind man’s dream. She saw it again, wavering yet strong, and something else—something solid and sure and huge surrounding it. A house. With sudden energy she plunged forward toward the yellow glow. She couldn’t feel her feet any longer, nor her legs or hands either, but salvation was just steps away. Just a few more steps away. She stumbled in her hurry, falling into a heap, quickly becoming buried half-alive. She tried to stand, drowning in snow, thinking her arms and legs were floundering but seeing that they were just lying there, realizing in a daze that her knees wouldn’t bend, that her legs had turned to wooden posts no longer acknowledging the authority of her brain. Get up! Everything inside her wailed it. Her throat worked with the effort to scream it aloud, making incoherent sounds of distress, a desperate, discordant harmony in what now appeared a tragedy. Panic set in. She had to concentrate. She had to make her sluggish brain command her legs to push her up. She struggled, clawed, and climbed, digging herself in deeper, trying to stand, but her legs were unable to support her weight. Get up!