We looked most of the night and never saw or watched for the monster that I realized was my lack of faith that lived inside me and not below the surface of the deep water. Debbie James could have told me that — she’d known what the Book of Changes’ Number 40, “Deliverance,” meant, the reason the heavy oak limb hadn’t hit us on the picnic.

“Think of me when you ask if you’ll love again,” she had written in the book and now that seemed fated too.

Debbie was like Mrs. Blackdeer, who believes that sometimes what we do or what happens to us has been dreamed before, so our lives are already woven in a bright web, by a sleeper who knows the right pattern. He needs to open his eyes.

In the early morning, I said I was hungry and Emma agreed to go in. On her own, she admitted that the boy she missed and was looking for was the Sleeping Child that she, and I, and everyone waited for to wake and join the two worlds: this bad one we lived in and the other world that was better.

At the dock, the boatman wasn’t mad we’d stayed out, but relieved that we were cold but all right. When we hadn’t come in he’d forgot he’d rented us the boat, it was late in the season and he’d gone home early to get warm. He said he didn’t think straight at first when the winter weather began.

“At least it’s not going to snow,” he said. “It’s September.”

It did begin to snow as Emma had predicted in the Silverado. As we finished breakfast at the fancy Lakeview Inn, out the wall of windows and through the first flakes, Emma saw her ex-husband drive up in his father’s car.

I left money on the table and we slipped out the side entrance. Emma waited for me around the corner of the steaming pool house as I stood behind a pine and watched him stare at Emma’s empty truck, then park and get out and go toward the hotel’s main door.

I stepped from behind the tree just as he turned to look back with a wild, haunted face and his brown eyes met mine for a long second, as if he sensed I was the one who had taken Emma from him, before he went on into the Lakeview Inn to find her.

Sometimes I see his face and wake at night and feel sorry that Emma ever knew him. Maybe being an Indian in Montana had driven him half mad and he hardly knew what a bad thing he’d done or was about to do.

I drove her pickup the long way around the crowded lot and Emma jumped in and got down on the floor, asking if her husband had seen us and I looked in the mirror and said no.

“If he finds me he’ll kill me,” she said.

“He won’t find us,” I told her. “I know a place no one knows.”

I remembered the cowboys’ secret valley where all the deer were.

After a few miles she got up on the seat. Emma was still scared and kept looking behind us, but there were only pickups and jeeps of hunters on the snowy two-lane highway.

Once she asked where we were going and, when I told her, she was glad. She then slept while I drove the white road west toward Oregon and Mussel Bay, where Paul Banner cared for the darting yellow fish.