In this coming of age story, set in the Yukon of the year 1850: fur trapper and orphan he raised come face to face with the transformative dimensions of their relationship, from tragedies through time’s passage. Escaping the world of his past, Dancy Ruelaix ventured into the solitude of wilderness. Wanting to evade opening his heart to another human being, he always thought he never needed anyone. But, there was one person who could not live without him. Her name was Lyla Strauss. A season of change comes in “The Lost Winter of Lyla Strauss”.
Pair of fur trappers were those unlikely angels gazing down over the edge of Banyon Pass to the man crumpled at its’ slightly cavernous base, as he moaned to them with ascending weakness in his voice, “Please….don’t let me die…” Cloaked in layers of pelt and wool coats, they devised a pulley system with some rope and a sled which held some supplies. Finally, making their way down into the ravine both of them lifted him up and dragged his body into the sled up the snow covered rock face. With their cabin being not too far away from this location, this stranger was taken in by them. Both trappers did the best they could in saving Coulton’s right foot, as the probability of him losing it was a likely conclusion beyond blooded strips of white cloth and an improvised splint along the length of his leg. Delirium wafted over the stranger, as bouts of excruciating pain and slim swaths of lucidity encapsulated this human being for almost a month. Person nursing him back to some semblance of viability relied mostly on tinctures and potions from Ravenswood, a shamanic healer from the Inuit tribe. Hollister’s condition was touch and go as he drifted into a coma during the middle of October and was given a spiritual ceremony of finality by Ravenswood. As one of the trappers stayed inside the cabin around the clock keeping watch over Coulton for the next seven days the other stayed the course of collecting, cleaning and curing pelts for the future winter months to come. To normalize Coulton Hollister’s temperature since his rescue in September, a bed had been placed in the front room of the cabin where the fireplace was located. On the morning of the seventh day of that vigil, sun beamed through an almost sheer piece of fabric on the side window of the cabin and a man awakened once more. Coulton’s eyes slowly opened, as a blazing flash of sunlight filled the cabin and he got a first glimpse of life back among the living. Beneath a cocooning layer of varied blankets, cloths and fur swaths, this wounded man’s arms slowly pushed them to one side of the bed as his eyes grasped for some sight which was familiar to him. Focusing first upon his beard which had become overgrown, Coulton’s eyes slowly began to blink and take in a pleasant view. Across the room from where he was, a nude female of slight form sat on the edge of another bed, brushing long, brown hair with her back situated to him. In an awakened presence of the angel who he had thought was sent to watch over him Coulton Hollister thought this young waif of only 13 or 14 years of age had been the daughter of the trappers who’d recovered him from the base of that ravine. Focusing his eyes upon this nude female, he realized she was more mature than being of teen years. She was not a girl, but a woman of tender presence. Probably not the daughter of the trapper, but a young bride of a mountain man was the thought which filled Hollister’s mind about this beauty. Coulton’s labored grunt filled the air, as each footstep brought him closer to where she sat upon the bed. Using a branch located near his bed as a crutch to stabilize his balance, he moved slowly. Hearing him stir behind her, this young woman wrapped a white cotton garment around herself in front of this stranger, “You certainly know how to scare a person, Mister”. She spoke with an anxious smile.