The train came out of the long tunnel into the snow country. Samantha gazed at the white world outside her window. Frost was forming on the glass and it felt like ice beneath her hand.
"This is a terrible idea." She turned and smiled at the man in the seat across from hers.
"James, you really should be more careful of who has access to your food."
"You had access to my food." He sighed and rubbed at his cuffed wrists. "Sam, I am being serious."
"So am I. I refuse to lose you." She turned to the window once more, and the harsh light of the train filtered through her rust colored hair. James stared at her for a while.
"I don't want to lose you either," he said softly. "That is why I have to leave."
"But what is the difference if I never see you again?"
"Then at least I'll know you're safe."
Samantha snorted and shifted until she was facing James once more. "What dross! You should have told me. We could have worked something out, instead of me having to kidnap you and drag you out to the middle of nowhere!"
"I didn't make you do anything!"
"Yes, you did! There is a reason I promised to marry you." With that statement she tugged at the chain around her neck and produced a ring. The light glinted off of it. James slumped in his seat and put his head in his hands.
"That was before now..."
"I intend to marry you for better and for worse. I thought that you understood that!" She tucked the engagement ring back into her dress. James watched, a look of pain distorting his features.
"Sam, everything I did, I did because I love you."
Just then, the train crested a hill, and moonlight managed to flicker through the windows. James recoiled, and even Samantha looked pale. Then, just as quickly as it had come, it was gone, and the moon was safely behind the clouds once more. Sam let out a sigh. James shook his head.
"And you chose tonight,"-his voice came out unusually gruff, and he started again-"And you chose tonight of all nights..."
"I only found out the night before you chose to leave!" Sam stammered, the color slowly returning to her face. Any later and I would have missed my chance."
"You're not even sure this woman can cure me."
"She has a good reputation," Sam said stiffly, but James knew her well enough to hear the uncertainty in her voice.
"Sam, you have to-"
"James, I'm trying to save you!" Sam bit her lip at the outburst, and when she turned her head, James could see tears silently streaming down her face. He took her hand.
"So am I, Sam." Samantha looked at his face, and his features swam before her eyes.
"James?" she said uncertainly. Her head suddenly felt like it had been stuffed with cotton, and keeping her eyes open suddenly took tremendous effort. She loooked down and noticed the needle James was holding.
"I'm sorry," he said mournfully as she closed her eyes. "I tried to reason..."
When Sam regained consciousness, James was gone.
"Then he escaped?" the old woman asked as she and Samantha waded through the growing snow drifts.
"Yes." Sam replied, tightening her scarf around her neck. "I have to find him, before it's too late."
The witch took an amulet out of her pocket and gestured to the night sky. "My dear, I think that time may be upon us."
Samantha glanced up and gasped.