Julia pretended to stay calm as she unwrapped the presents for her eleventh birthday, but it wasn’t easy. Underneath the brightly coloured wrapping paper there could be the gift she’d asked for. She could finally get the answers she needed about her dreams.
“Wow, thanks, Mum. I always wanted a book on mythical creatures.”
Nope, not that one, but still it was a nice present so best to sound grateful. Where could it be then? It would have to be in a square or rectangular box. Ah, it must be that one.
Julia grinned as she grabbed the box and ripped off the wrapping paper. Inside was her brand new tablet PC, essential for her plan. She leaped up and hugged her parents, first her mum and then her dad, squeezing them tight.
“Perfect! With the stylus and everything! Thank you!”
She hummed with happiness and immediately winced as the giant head of an animal, half eagle and half lion, appeared directly in front of her face.
“Julia, are you okay?” Her mum was staring at her, concerned. That was the problem when your parents were psychiatrists, they always noticed your body language.
“I’m fine,” Julia grinned. “I just pulled a muscle. I’m fine now.” She opened the last few of her presents, thanked her parents once more, and took her tablet upstairs to her bedroom.
She looked out of her window and hummed a few more notes of the tune she’d accidentally sang earlier that morning. As she expected, dozens of flying creatures, all half-eagle, half-lion, were in the sky and in the road. Still humming, she raised her tablet to the window and took a photograph. The same creatures appeared on the tablet screen.
She stopped humming. The creatures disappeared. She looked at her tablet. The creature no longer appeared on the tablet screen. Of course it didn’t. That would have been too easy. Now for the first real test.
Julia sat down on her bed, looked at the picture on her screen, and hummed the same music again, the music from her dreams. She gasped as the creature reappeared on the screen, frozen in the same place it appeared when she took the picture. She started humming again as quickly as she could, smiling to herself as she realised that, for the very first time, she had captured one of these creatures on camera.
Now it was time for phase two. Taking the new stylus out of its plastic packaging, and still humming, she began to trace the outline of the creature. She’d never been good at art but she took it slowly and after a while had an outline she was happy with. She stopped humming. The creature faded away but the outline remained.
“Julia,” called her mother, “come back here please, you promised us you were going to limit your screen-time.”
Julia sighed, saved her drawing, and headed back to her family. Her experiment would have to wait, but finally she was on the right track. She was going to discover what these creatures were, and then, hopefully, why they were invading her dreams.