““Emilia! Charlie! Please, enough of this now!” Dad shouted.
“But Dad. Please tell her! We love that tree. She can’t…she just can’t!” Charlie begged.
We were almost sobbing. That tree! We couldn’t let her do it.
“That wretched thing!” I heard her say one afternoon, while she was sat outside sunbathing, her cat-eye-shaped sunglasses framing her delicate face. “I can’t get any sun here!”
The oak tree was positioned in a way that blocked the sun in the afternoon, and that wouldn’t do for Mum. But there was something special about it. We enjoyed climbing it and sitting on the top branches, but it was more than that. I didn’t know what it was then, but I knew I had to fight to keep it alive; to stop Mum and Uncle Jack from destroying it.
The next day, a tree surgeon arrived, and inspected the tree. Charlie and I stood there, glaring at him. He looked at us, looked at the tree, and then at Mum. He looked up to the sky, almost asking it for an answer.
He sighed. He went away and did some checks. And the oak tree had to stay.
“Emilia!” Mum shouted over to me from the back door. “Get up from the grass! It’ll stain your uniform!”
Startled, I stood up from the damp grass. I reluctantly left behind the fresh, pure scent of early spring, watching the trees next to the house sway in the wind, breathing in the cold, misty air as I walked back towards the house. My house. Our house. The house that had been in our family for four generations, passed down from my great-great grandfather who built it for his family back in 1906. I wasn’t sure whether he would have approved of the dark yellow, flowery wallpaper in the living room, or of the old library being turned into a table football room for me and Charlie. My gran said he was never fond of children.
But now we lived here – and I could enjoy playing in the three acres of garden, sitting under trees, and me and Charlie could play Frisbee and fly kites and run with Buster. Buster was our dog – we rescued him back when we were living at the farm. He was a long-haired Dachshund whose elderly owners couldn’t keep him when they moved away. It was a sad day for them when they brought him to us, but it made the two of us extremely happy when our parents reluctantly agreed to let us keep him.
I walked into the warmth, where Mum was fretting over dinner and scolding me for having a green behind.
“Get out of that uniform before you come down for dinner. I need you to set the table too,” she said. Excerpt by Felicity Sears from her fiction book ‘Emilia, the King and the Place Beyond’.