I dash to the door, but it’s stuck, braced from the outside. I run to the window, but it’s too late. The fire rages beneath it, flames climbing up the wall.
I choke and gasp. Thick burning smoke invades my lungs and burns my eyes. I cover my face. I try to think. What can I do? Where do I go? My thoughts are jumbled. I can’t seem to untangle them. I can’t breathe.
I feel myself falling . . . falling . . . falling . . . or am I being pulled back? With a snap, I jolt awake. The silence is disorienting. A dream. It was only a dream. I lie back down, and I try to steady my breath.

Soon, I’m asleep. I feel the autumn leaves beneath my bare feet and the red fox is waiting for me on the trail.

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