The Dawning


"Mommy! This is the best picnic ever!" cried my 7 year old daughter, Sara as she happily dug into her sandwich. We were sitting at one of the wooden picnic tables inside Jellystone National park. The sun broke through the branches in shards of light. I could see the lake off in the distance glistening under the same sun. I couldn't help but grin at her broadly.

"Yes it is," I agreed, sipping my soda from the can. There were other families around, having a good time and relaxing. I spied the ranger making his rounds, making sure everything was ok. I silently admitted to myself that he was really good looking in his spruce green slacks and camel shirt and dark green tie. He had dark black hair and blue eyes. I watched him for a bit before my attention was brought back to Sara.

"Mommy? Can we go get ice cream after this?" she asked enthusiastically. I sighed.

"Oh honey not today. Mommy needs to run sum errands," I said softly. Sara pouted but then brightened and nodded.

"Honey stay here for a moment. Mommy needs to ask the ranger something," I said getting up from the bench. She nodded. I began walking toward him. He looked up as I approached and politely tipped the brim of his hat, smiling.

"Hello Ma'am. Is everything alright?" He asked.

"Um, Yes. I was wondering if you rent cabins by the lake? I—I mean is it a seasonal thing? Or is it a year round thing?" I asked feeling like a complete idiot.

He smiled again. "It's a seasonal thing. Why don't you come by the office in about 20 minutes? You can fill out the forms,"

I beamed and nodded. I turned my head to check on Sara, but she was not there.

"Sara?" I called.

The ranger remained standing next to me.

"Sara?" I called again a bit more panicked.

"What's wrong?" He demanded with concern.

"I told my daughter to wait at that table. She's not there now," I said feeling nervous and fear gripped my chest. I hurried over to the table, the ranger right behind me. I checked all around the table and even around the perimeter. By now the families had packed up and everyone began leaving.

"Sara!" I cried.

I heard the ranger get on his radio, calling in for the second ranger. I could feel my adrenaline spike, but I began feeling light headed and woozy. I dropped to my knees. Immediately, the ranger rushed over and crouched down in front of me.

"Ma'am? Are you ok?" He demanded anxiously. I felt him put a hand on my arm. Before I could answer blackness creeped into my peripheral vision and I succumbed to the darkness.

"She's coming around," a soft voice said from somewhere above the darkness. I moaned and blinked. I saw panel lighting above me. I turned my head to the left. The two rangers came into focus. The handsome one was crouched beside me, while the second one stood in the background.

"Hey there. You gave us a fright. Are you ok?"

I slowly pulled myself up into a sitting position. I was lying on a couch. A cool compress had been placed on my forehead. I glanced at the ranger close to me at his name tag. RANGER SMITH.

"Oh yes. What happened?" I asked raising a hand to my forehead.

"You fainted. I found your medical tag around your neck that you were diabetic. Your blood sugar dropped so we gave you the emergency insulin that was in your bag," Ranger Smith said studying me.

"Oh. Thank you very much," I said gratefully. "But Sara! She's missing!" I said suddenly becoming alarmed and I swung my legs to the edge of the couch, preparing to stand, but Ranger Smith held a hand up.

"Whoa easy. You need to rest. Ranger Jones was just heading out now to look for her," Ranger Smith said. "What is your name?"

"Roselyn. Roselyn Weston," I replied leaning back against the couch.

"I'm Ranger Smith," he introduced himself. "Don't worry. Ranger Jones knows the park inside and out. We'll find her. I'm staying here to keep an eye on you."

He smiled at me. I kept my eyes on his. When he smiled, the corners of his eyes crinkled. He was certainly very cute. I nodded as Ranger Jones headed out.

"Mr. Ranger!" I heard a voice calling from the front of the office. I saw Ranger Smith cringe but he got up and headed to the front door.

I slowly got to my feet and followed him. I leaned on the door frame with my shoulder and folded my arms over my chest. My shoulder length dark auburn hair was fluffed around my shoulders in gentle waves. My green eyes focused on two bears. One was large and wearing a green hat and a white collar with a green tie. The other one was smaller and wearing a blue bow tie.

"Ah Yogi and Boo Boo. What's going on?" Ranger Smith asked warily, folding his arms over his chest.

"Um, we might've had a bit of an incident with a picinic basket," The larger bear said looking sheepish.

Ranger Smith sighed. "What happened Yogi?"

Before he could respond, there was screaming and we saw a few people running blindly for the exit.

I slowly took a few steps forward and gently sat on the top step. Ranger Smith heard me and turned around.

"Hey you're supposed to be resting," he said softly.

"Why hello there ma'am!" the larger bear said eagerly.

"Roselyn, this is Yogi and Boo Boo, our resident 'bears'," Ranger Smith said putting air quotes around the word bear.

"Hello," Boo Boo said shyly. I couldn't help but smile a little. Boo Boo took a step forward so I gently reached a hand out to touch him. His fur was soft and silky.

"Um, Yogi? We have a major issue here. Roselyn's daughter is missing. We feel she's still in the park so I sent Ranger Jones out searching," Ranger Smith said seriously.

"Perhaps we can help," Yogi said enthusiastically but Ranger Smith was already shaking his head. "No. This is not time for one of your crazy antics. This is serious."

"They just might be able to help," I offered. Ranger Smith turned to look at me and shook his head.

"Believe me. They have a reputation for messing up," he said.

Looking dejected, Yogi and Boo Boo sulked off. Ranger Smith came up and sat down next to me. I smiled at him then turned to stare off into the distance. Ranger Smith clasped his hands over his knees.

"Where is your husband? Shouldn't you call him to let him know what's happening?" he inquired curiously.

I shook my head. "I don't have a husband anymore. He was killed a few years ago,"

Ranger Smith looked abashed at the news. "Oh I'm so sorry,"

I offered him a smile.

"Why don't you get some rest inside? Once Ranger Jones finds Sara, I'll know," Ranger Smith offered softly.

I smiled and nodded. "That sounds good,"

I got up and headed back into the office. I curled up on the couch again, and dozed into a restless nap.

Back at the cave, Yogi and Boo Boo were resting.

"Boo Boo, I can't just sit around and do nothing," Yogi said sighing.

"But Yogi Mr. Ranger clearly said that we aren't to interfere with the search for that little girl," Boo Boo said reasonably.

"Mhmm and have we ever listened?" Yogi countered. Boo Boo sighed. "No,"

"Well come on then! We're going to use our smarter than the average bear smarts and find that little girl!" he said as he began leaving the cave. Boo Boo sighed and followed him knowing that somehow this was going to end in disaster.

I woke up a few minutes later with a start. Outside the office, it was dark out. There was a soft light coming from the desk of the ranger. He looked up at me and smiled.

"Hey. I cooked some dinner if you'd care to join me?" he offered.

The office smelled wonderful and my stomach grumbled hungrily. I nodded and slowly got up. I headed over to the desk. He motioned for me to follow him out on the porch. A table and chairs had been set up. I sat down as he placed a plate down in front of me.

"It's Spam a-la mode," he said grinning. I grinned back.

"Any word on Sara?" I asked my grin fading as he began dishing out the spam onto my plate and some onto his own. He looked grave.

"Nothing yet. Ranger Jones has been out there all day looking," he said. "We won't give up."

I nodded, then quickly averted my eyes, feeling tears forming. I stared out over the wood porch railing into the darkness.

I could feel his eyes on me, watching me intently.

"Hey don't worry. We will find her," he said sincerely and firmly. I smiled and quickly wiped the tears from my eyes. I dug into the food hungrily.

Ranger Jones retuned and said he would pick up the search in the morning being it was too dark out now. I insisted to stay the night. There was no way I could go home now. I only hoped that Sara was alright.