Georgia is born with an imagination so strong it leaks into reality. She doesn't realise the things that are occurring aren't true reality... until she wakes up from a nightmare.
Georgia leapt from the wall like a young bird about to take flight. The skirts of her white frock were wings soaring on the breeze. Momentarily suspended in mid-air, her childish mind expressed the natural fear of doing something that she knew she wasn’t meant to be doing.
Frozen above the lemon tree, a mischievous smile lit up Georgia’s rosy cheeks as her thoughts were diverted by a gentle gust of wind blowing the golden leaves.
A flock of birds with yellow plumage burst from among the leaves, reflecting in Georgia’s wondrous blue eyes. Her little pointed face followed the fading sound of flapping wings. In the distance, the flapping sounded a bit like rain.
As she floated slowly down to a soft patch of uncut grass, it did begin to rain! Tipping her head back, Georgia opened her mouth and tasted the unexpected sweet fizz of lemonade on her tongue.
‘Mmmm...’ Georgia closed her eyes. From beneath her eyelids, she witnessed the warm glow of sunlight and the faintest hint of a rainbow through the sweet rain.
Frowning, she became aware of fine strands of hair sticking to her forehead. Her dress clung to her petite frame and the grass suddenly felt itchy on her legs. Ants began to crawl over her knees.
Squirming, she sat up and opened her eyes. It was just so sticky! All at once she stopped in thought.
‘Sticky? Bubble gum is sticky.’
Blue eyes widening with delight, a pink bubble grew larger and larger on her lips until it enveloped her whole body! Knowing what came next, Georgia cringed as the enormous bubble burst.
Looking down at herself, musical peals of laughter emitted from her mouth. Sticky, strawberry pink gum patterned her dress. Some of the globs even looked like oddly shaped strawberries...
Curiously picking off some of the gum from the front, Georgia gazed intently as the pink glob shimmered and distorted between her tiny thumb and forefinger. Before her very eyes, the most perfect strawberry she had ever seen had appeared. Popping the miraculous fruit in her mouth, she sighed and lay back on the grass as she chewed.
Slowly, she dozed off into a contented sleep...
Her mother sat smiling beside her on the chequered rug, her pale face glowing as she sipped lemonade before a plate of soft white sandwiches. Georgia couldn’t grasp the meaning behind her mother’s softly spoken words, but she gleaned from the gentle look on her face that they were spoken lovingly.
She watched as her mother stood up and ran playfully into the green dappled light made by the leaves above them, leaving a trail of lavender in the air.
Georgia could hear ducks honking around in the shallow creek nearby, followed by the flapping of wings as they flew up onto the bank beside her. Distracted, she threw them some crumbs from her sandwich. The ducks cautiously investigated and then swallowed them, tipping their heads back.
Then she remembered her mother was playing a chasing game with her and turned.
Expecting her mother to peek out from behind one of the tree trunks, she looked around. There was no sound except the ducks searching for more crumbs in the grass.
Suddenly, it was as though a veil had been thrown over the world. Beyond the canopy of leaves above her, Georgia heard a dim rumbling sound. Then a droplet fell on her forehead. Then another.
Her small hands shook. A storm was something she could never weather. Welling up with tears, her blue eyes darted from one tree to another, searching.
‘MUMMY?’ she screamed as she began to panic.
Warily, she scrambled over fallen branches. Twigs snapped underfoot as she reached the space in the trees where she could see the sky. Looking up, Georgia saw swirling clouds of charcoal tinged with bright white. The rumbling sound grew louder as she watched.
Suddenly, a flash!
Then a splitting, echoing CRRRRACK!
Startled, she jerked her head towards the sound. Her feet seemed to be planted like the roots in the ground. She couldn’t look away from the thing that was producing a looming shadow across her pale face.
Georgia jolted as she woke. Centimetres above her was rough, solid bark. Shivering with cold and fear, her skin felt damp. Water dripped into her eyes from the hair plastered to her forehead.
She could feel her heart thump thump thump thump thump in her chest. She frantically pushed against the trunk. It wouldn’t budge. It felt ominously heavy in its proximity. Everything was closing in on her.
Turning her head from side to side, Georgia noticed a slither of light just beneath the trunk. A sweeping feeling of relief coursed through her exhausted body.
‘If I could squeeze underneath...’ she thought.
The space felt tighter and the tree felt heavier from this angle. Gradually she forced one limb after another through the gap, pushing down into the sodden leaves and sharp twigs.
Finally, her hair catching slightly on the bark, Georgia’s head scraped under. And there she lay – shaking, wet, with bruises and stinging cuts all over her. Chest heaving, Georgia rolled onto her side. Her head felt cloudy and confused.
She had been asleep... what had happened?
Looking around, there was no lemon tree. No wall. She was in a clearing, where she could see grey clouds swirling as they passed across the patch of sky above.
‘Was it all real?’ she thought as she gazed around at the scene she had dreamed. Wrapping her arms around herself, her eyes lingered on the wreck of the monstrous tree.
Her mother was not there. Tears slid down Georgia’s cheeks and into her hair. She shut her eyes as tight as they would go, imagining her mother was holding her in her arms. As she began to calm, she suddenly felt a comforting presence close by.
She felt warmth enclosing her, almost like a hug. Her heartbeat slowed as she caught the familiar smell of lavender perfume.
Eyes flying open, Georgia’s imagination merged with reality.