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Mushroom Muchness

The morning light fluttered through Ophelia’s window. She thought it might actually become one of those really nice Saturdays, until she remembered that, no, it definitely would not. Not since she had moved with her family to the literal middle of nowhere. As she looked outside, the trees stood thickly next to each other, as if guarding her. They would never let her have any fun.

A heavy sigh escaped her as she sat up, wondering what kind of boredom awaited her on this day. The raw floorboards creaked at the mere anticipation of her feet, and they squeaked all the way to the bath. A sleepy wash in cold water later, she was hungry and ready for breakfast, which she knew was going to be filled with fascinating discussions, such as wood-cutting, tile-setting, chimney-cleaning, fence-mending, and the ever so delightful leaf-raking. There was always something to do and that something was terribly uninspiring each day. If only they had moved to a proper house. This excuse for a house had apparently been painted once. A few flakes of it bore witness.

Plopping down at the table, she was wearing two jumpers. Autumn had come with all of its golden glory and chilly winds. Why on earth the hut felt windy inside, she couldn't quite figure out.

At her first bite of toast, her mother informed her that she needed to help her do some tree-pruning today. She wondered why trees need pruning. Don't trees just sort themselves out? She didn’t ask the question. The answer would most likely bore her to tears.

She ate silently.

Her parents concluded they would be off to buy some eggs from the neighbour before tending to the trees. Ophelia didn't know how far away this neighbour lived, but she knew her parents would probably be out for quite some time.

With a yawn, she brought her cup of tea into the so-called drawing room. The room looked more like an atelier of some sort, rather than the cosy space with a large sofa she was used to in the house she grew up in. That house had things like warmth.

She grabbed the book she was halfway through and stepped over cans of paint, broken pieces of wood and a saddle her father had excitedly purchased, even though they didn't own a horse. She sat down in a red chair she didn't hate as much as the sofa and sipped her tea bitterly.

The illustrations on the mug took her attention for a moment. The red fox on it, she admitted, looked rather darling in this autumn hew pouring in through the large window. There was a bird there, beside the fox, and a mushroom as large as a small tree.

The picture seemed so vibrant and real. It was as if the wings of the birds in the sky were moving and the fox's tail was wagging.

"Peculiar", she murmured to herself. There was some kind of glimmering about the scene. The closer she looked, the more fascinated she became. It was almost as if the fox was looking at her. Had it done that before? It was as if she was standing right next to it. She shook her head in bewilderment only to be more bewildered. She was standing right next to it! She turned on the spot to find no chair, no sofa, and no saddle. There were only trees, and the fox.

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