"The forest seems to rise around us all at once, as sudden and mysterious as fate. The nighttime snowfall has erased any marks that might have been left by other travelers. Our snowmobiles are an obscenity in this place--all noise and gas fumes and enormous tracks.

Birds take flight before us, beating the air with frantic wings. Their motions loosen showers of snow; the snowfalls from tree branches look like fireworks. Most of the fir trees are so laden with snow that they look like belled skirts.

Every so often, Mulder glances back at me and I flash him a thumbs up. I'm surprised at how warm I am."



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