Chapter Twenty-Three

It was easier to breathe down low to the ground, but the smoke still made my lungs hurt. I pulled my shirt up over my nose, but I still had to concentrate on not coughing, breathing only through my nose. My eyes watered with the soot, and I could feel tears tracking down my face. Shadow kept with me, whining gently and pulling me toward the house. I just had to get to the garage.

I was so tired. It didn't seem like crawling would be that much more effort, but the incline, the rocks, the slip of the pine needles and the pain in my ankle were taking their toll. I pulled myself to a tree and leaned my back against it. It hurt to breathe, but my lungs begged for oxygen.

Shadow whimpered and pulled softly, her eyes looking past me. I followed her line of sight to the edge of our property. A faint glow was starting to creep into the trees. The fire was coming. I felt a surge of adrenaline push through me, my ankle and the pain forgotten. I had to get to the garage. My pink bicycle. If I cou
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