Aurora Drifting

I was trekking in East Alaska with a friend when we happened onto your husband’s cabin and I wanted you to know that we stayed there for a week while we rested. I want to reimburse you for its use. It very literally saved our lives.

“She pointed to Paige’s bandaged hand. “Is that where you got hurt?” (Did she think I had come to sue her?) “Oh, no!,” she said quickly, “That happened long after we left the cabin. I just came to pay you for its use.”

The brother got up from the wingback chair with an amused smile on his face. “Helen, there are still honest people in the world.”

“Oh yes, sorry. I just thought, anyway . . . Why did you want to see William?”

“Well, I knew from your letter where you lived and I couldn’t help but to see no one had been there in years . . .”

“What letter?” “It was on the table,” Page explained. “You wrote a asked him to come home.”

“I did? I don’t remember that.” She worried her face into a scowl. “Have you ever been there?”

“Ah, no. I’m afraid I’m not much of an outdoor person. That was Will’s thing. I went with him onetime but I wouldn’t get out of the airplane. I begged him to take me back to Fairbanks and then I flew home.”

“It’s very beautiful around there and the cabin is well built and comfortable,” Paige said realizing she was defending Mr. Otterberg.

“I hated every minute I was up there. We have a beautiful home right here but he had to go up there and build that cabin. It was some silly thing he always wanted to do and nobody could reason with him. He just had to do it, he said, before he died. He was sicker in his head than he was in his body,” she said with a sharp edge in her words.

--Karen Valley



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