Chapter Twenty-Two

It was an epic battle. Men verses flame, spirit against nature. Water poured from hoses like rain. Planes and helicopters poured red dust as though it had no end. Masked yellow uniforms felled trees and dug trenches, giving the flames no place to run to. The flames screamed in defiance, casting embers to the sky. The fire chief called for more. It had to be enough.


My voice didn't seem to carry in the smoke, and I quickly grew hoarse. I knew I was going to have to leave with or without my dog soon if I wanted to make it off the mountain at all. I called out frantically, hating the idea of leaving her to smoke and flame because I couldn't find her.

I headed deeper into the pine trees, down toward the tree fort Andrew and I had made as kids. Luke's dad had given us scrap wood, and we had made a fort one summer long ago. Shadow loved it in the trees by the fort. There was a family of squirrels that lived in it now, and whenever the fence went down, Shadow would try and escape to the
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