Petals of the Rose
Into the Woods
Maggie bounds away easily through the garden and toward the door to the Shelter. Waconda calmly pulls out his lighter and lights it. Dim rips his way free and gives chase. Waconda summons the flame off of the lighter into a tiny animate flame creature and tells it to follow her. It hops off and hops along the ground after Maggie. As soon as Maggie makes it through the door, the vegetation shrinks back to normal proportions, and the others are freed to pursue as well.
They plunge into the Shelter, calling for someone to stop Maggie. They hear a feminine scream ahead around a corner, and then see Steve with the flaming head sprawled on the floor where Maggie bowled him over. They easily reach the conclusion that she’s heading for the door to the Hedge. Shika gets there first and stops in the doorway, knowing she needs to give chase but afraid of stepping back into the Hedge again. Dim charges up and hip checks Shika out of the way on his way through the door. Waconda and Jacob get Shika back to her feet and push her through as well.
Dim lost sight of Maggie when the path started to bend and branch, so Waconda takes the lead, intuitively sensing out the location of his little flame minion periodically to keep on the right track.
They plunge along the path for a while and come to a place where the path has become overgrown rapidly. Branches are curving into the way and obscuring the way as they run up to it. Dim growls and charges ahead, breaking through and opening enough of a gap for the others to pick their way through and catch up.
They turn onto the path that they had followed, the one they know will take them to the alley. As Waconda’s direction firms in his mind, the path seems to become straighter, rewarding his certainty and commitment. They catch up to Maggie right as she runs out of the doorway into the alley. As they run up to the door, Maggie continues straight on ahead and strikes the opposite wall of the alley head first. She didn’t even see it. They pour out into the alley after her, and she’s in a heap on the ground with a lump rising on her forehead.