In the dark Billy made it to the warden cabin and heard laughter from inside that went outside over the snow and then into the trees as he moved through the forest. He heard the laughter and then the scratch of a note from a fiddle, a few more notes and then more laughter. There was light from the cabin on the snow outside and some of it broadcast as far as the trees and onto the cedar fenceposts and the patchwork grid of wire fencing. There were horses in the paddock that stood side by side against one another covered in frost with the air of their exhale in still, white umbrellas of steam. They stood in the quiet of the night under those umbrellas facing the trees.
They must be watching for cougars and wolves, Billy thought. They neighed when they saw his silhouette moving on the snow.
From inside the cabin someone took up the bow of the fiddle and drew out a note. The drew the bow slowly and Billy stopped in the snow by the paddock and moved along the fence to the horses and put his hand on the neck of the mare. He ran his hand down her neck.