It's been dark around the clock for three weeks straight, and I feel like I'm starting to go insane. The stark landscape of the Richardson Mountains stretches around me, visible to my heightened sight even without a moon overhead. There are caribou nearby, making my throat itch, but I can't bring myself to get to my feet to go after them.

The rough texture of the log cabin wall presses at my back through the scratchy quilt draped pointlessly around my shoulders. The temperature is so far below zero that the thermometer leaning above the stove inside appears to have given up. Jasper tapped at it hopefully this morning, but the mercury didn't budge.

It seems strange that I'm so aware of some things: the wind whispering in trees forty miles away; the scent of those damn caribou. Yet here, out of doors in the coldest place on earth, the temperature doesn't bother me at all. The isolation, though, that's definitely getting on my nerves.

Over the last few months, as the dark set in and the ground began to freeze, Alice brought me every DVD the general store in Inuvik rents. My attention span is like a gnat though and the stories seem meaningless, tedious. She pouted slightly at my disinterest and eventually gave up. And so I sit out here, day after night in the endless dark, hunting only when Jasper compels me. Because what else am I going to do?

Warm light suddenly spills out onto the porch as the door to the cabin opens and Alice pokes her head out.

"I can hear you without you coming out here, you know," I growl, sounding petulant, childish, even to my own ears.

Alice is undeterred, slipping out and closing the cabin door behind her. She looks ridiculous, wearing a floor-length Victorian nightgown paired with snow boots and one of those Russian hats with the furry ear flaps.

"I want you to see my face when I say this," she says, scowling, tiny hands bunched into fists on her hips. "It is time for you to snap out of this. Jasper and I have been patient long enough. One more month, Bella, and we can try taking you into town. But in the meantime, you really need to get a grip. You can't just sit out here day after day moping. It's not going to make anything better."

I loop a lock of hair around my finger, examining it for split ends. An old habit, now rendered meaningless.

Alice sighs, and looks less cross. The fight leaks out of her a little. A long silence stretches between us, filled with all the things we have spent eleven months not saying. I'm tired. Not physically, but emotionally exhausted. I don't have the strength to keep it all inside me anymore.

"He left me, Alice. He did this to me, and then he left me."

"Oh, sweetheart." Alice sinks to sit beside me, crossing her ankles and taking one of my hands in hers. "He left all of us."