The wind howled and whistled in through the cracks in the old cabin walls. Inside, despite a brave little blaze in the fireplace, frost sparkled along the walls and the bare shelves of the larder.
Jonas broke an icicle off the beam above his head and put it in an iron pot near the fire. To this he added the last of his condensed milk and stirred it with an old spoon he had whittled his first year in the bush. As the steam began to rise, he poured it into a bowl and set it on the floor.
Jonas watched as Mr. Whiskers stood up, stretched and walked slowly over to the bowl, where he sniffed the contents dubiously, then kneeled and lapped at it contentedly. Once they had been young together and over the years, the two of them had been through hail, hell and high water.
There had never been a winter like this, though- never a snow so deep or a wind so cold, for so long. As Mr. Whiskers cleaned the last few drops from the bottom of the bowl, Jonas turned and looked over at the axe leaning against the wall.