: The Way Out :

an excerpt by Kent Nelson


By the time Iris started her traverse of the hillside it was 3:30 in the afternoon and snowing hard. She had her rifle slung across her body and was carrying an elk front quarter and the two tenderloins—more than she wanted to—and her pack was lopsided to the left. There was nothing she could do about that now. Warren was a hundred yards ahead, a shape shrouded in white against a whiter background. It had taken them four hours to gut, skin, and quarter the elk, and blood had frozen in her gloves. She’d wrapped her hands in spare socks and kept one and then another tucked under an armpit, keeping one hand free for balance. She still smelled elk musk in her parka and in her camouflage pants.