The crisp September sky blazed with a blue so rich it was almost tactile, and Rosa was sure its weight would someday make it peel off from the heavens and fall to earth and smother them all, except that the trees, still green for a few more weeks at least, reached up and pushed back, keeping the sky up and the earth down and straining with all their might to keep the two apart.
Rosa leaned back and took in a deep breath, letting the air fill her lungs and push them against her ribs until it almost hurt. The smells were colors, greens and reds and browns, and the cool air the spirits that helped them flow.
The door behind her swung open and the kids came out. About an hour ago the three of them, two young men and a young lady, stumbled out of the woods and came running up to her as if they had never thought they’d see another human again. Rosa had needed to put on the Big Hat to calm them down. She didn’t know why it worked, but the Smokey the Bear hat was reassuring to campers and hikers. It let them know they were safe. The three of them settled down and told their story. Rosa took them into the cabin and let them have some crackers and coffee, and their confused sentences slowed down until they started to make sense.
“She wasn’t there when we woke up,” said the taller of the two men, the one called Chris.