The fifth evening fell quietly and both men shared the feeling that the dawn would either make them survivors or the last victims of a long suffered catastrophe. Any observer of the pair, with knowledge of their circumstances, would suppose that a conversation was due; some planning, crisis management, tactical discourse, perhaps a final assessment of stock and strategy. But it wasn't until after a small tangle with a large bear much later that evening that Cramp found a moment to discuss the crate.
The conversation took place as they stood against a stone ledge, teetering on a broad plateau, overlooking a subtle expanse of empty terrain below. Moonlit hues of iron-grey, plum, and blue emptiness painted their isolation in serene certainty. The sky above read black, ignoring the bright moon, with no lights above or below to signal civilization.
While wiping his own thin blood from his forehead Cramp noted, "It had to be your right hand, huh? As if the bear knew... "
Fidget looked at what remained of his right hand while attempting to grasp a remaining shred of his shirt to use as a bandage with his stump of a left hand. He said, "How it managed to maul the both of us at the same time is the most painful thing here. This is a bear with remarkable agility."
"Speaking of agility," said Cramp, "I guess I have to ask again, only because I believe it may mean the difference between life and death: Why was it that we are carrying that crate?"
They both looked at the crate glowing dimly on the stone ledge like a small warning.