Justin had been searching the canyon for days. He thought back to the first day: Sheila had been watching the news and after she told him about the fire, he set about protecting the house. Soon it was too much and they had to escape, having ignored the evacuation warnings. They had a place already picked out where they would meet in such an eventuality and after gathering the important things, set out on their respective paths.It had seemed so simple on paper.Now, lost in the smoky aftermath--thank God for the firefighters--it had become an exercise in futility. The terrain had been changed by the fire and mudslides resulting from the efforts to quell the maelstrom. What had been a quest for safety had, for Justin, become a desperate search for his wife.He had found the appointed place, or so he thought; in their plan she would have arrived first. Sheila was nowhere to be found and there were no tell-tale signs (as they had planned) that she had even made it there.At first, he had followed the plan: he searched in ever-widening concentric circles, looking for signs that she had either been there or had gotten a bit mixed up (Sheila didn't have a strong head for directions) and had settled somewhere nearby. His search took him farther and farther out and deeper into the lower brush.And then, at the bottom of the canyon, he found her. At last he was able to breathe.
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