It was growing dusk when he returned to the igloos. As he descended the hill a flake of snow struck his face and it was followed by others. A breath of wind like a blast from a bellows swirled the flakes abroad. The elements were awakening.
In the igloos Akonuk and Matuk were brewing tea for supper and the three ate in silence.
Bob asked once,
“What’s to be done with Chealuk?”
“Nothing,” they answered laconically.
This relieved the anxiety he felt for her, and he crawled into his sleeping bag and went to sleep, thinking that after all the judgment of the Angakok was a mere form, not to be executed literally.
After some hours Bob awoke. The wind was blowing a gale outside. He could hear it quite distinctly. From what direction it came he could not tell, and after lying awake for a long while he decided to arise and see.
When he removed the block of snow from the igloo entrance and crawled outside he was all but smothered by the swirling snow of a terrific, raging blizzard. He turned his back to the blast, and realized that it came from the north-east. The cold was piercing and awful. The elements which had been held in subjection for so long were unleashed and were venting themselves with all the untamed fury of the North upon the world.
As he turned to reenter the igloo an apparition brushed past him rushing off into the night.
“Who is it?” he shouted.
But the wind brought back no answer and overcome with a feeling of trepidation and a sense of impending tragedy, half believing that he had seen a ghost, he crawled back to his cover and warm sleeping bag to wonder.
There was no cessation in the storm or change in the conditions the next day. In the morning while they were drinking their hot tea Bob told Akonuk and Matuk of the apparition he had seen in the night.
“That,” they said in awe, “was the spirit of Torngak,” and Bob was duly impressed.
Upon a visit later to the other igloos he missed Chealuk. She had always sat in one corner plying her needle, and had always had a word for him when he came in to pay a visit. Her absence was therefore noticeable and Bob asked one of the Eskimos where she was.
“Gone,” said the Eskimo.
And this was all he could learn from them. Poor old Chealuk had been sent away, and it must have been she, then, that he had seen in the darkness.
That night Bob was aroused again, and he immediately realized that something of moment had occurred. Akonuk and Matuk were awake and talking excitedly, and through the shrieking of the gale outside came a distinct and unusual sound. It was like the roar of distant thunder, but still it was not thunder. He sat up sharply to learn the meaning of it all.
ADRIFT ON THE ICE
The unusual sound that Bob heard was the pounding of ice driven by the mighty force of wind and tide against the island rocks. This the Eskimos verified with many exclamations of delight. The hoped for had happened and release from their imprisonment was at hand. Bob thanked God for remembering them.