Deep snow outside and a fire in the hearth. Mountain Man tears another dozen pages out of the book and twists them tight. To the fire he feeds them. Words crisp and curl up the chimney. Mountain Man catches a few of them: ...I am also a man of no small reputation among all those who know me…*
Mountain Man laughs.
Sweet, oily smell of coffee. Straight from the pot Mountain Man drinks straight as the stairs he climbs to the tower. He pushes the trapdoor open. Rush of cold air past him; icy hands tug at his ears, his beard, the ends of his hair. He climbs out and kicks the door shut. Stars are sharp beyond the eaves, familiar and cold. Betelgeuse, Bellatrix, Rigel, Saiph, Alnilam. Arc of coffee out into the storm.
Mountain Man descends.
He pulls the crosses out of the walls and breaks the arms off of them. He spits a hot dog on one and roasts it. To himself a hymn Mountain Man hums. A fire in the hearth and deep snow outside.