James lived near a wood, and one day, not much later, feeling confident of his progress, he decided to risk a steeper hill than usual at the far end of the wood. He hesitated as he knew he wasn’t supposed to be anywhere near the wood on his own. If anything happened, he’d probably never see his bicycle again. He took a deep breath and pushed off.
As he accelerated, he began to panic. The little dirt road was steeper than he’d expected. Faster and faster the bicycle went. It hadn’t seemed like such a long way when he’d looked from the top and he wondered when it would come to an end.
Finally he was out of the wood. Still, the road went on. Not much further, he thought as he stared ahead, relieved that the road would soon level out.
He had just slowed down when he saw a hole in the road. Too late! The front wheel went right in it and James flew over the handlebars and hit the ground. ‘Ahhh!’ he shouted as he scraped his knees and scratched his hands before rolling over, bruising himself everywhere.
He lay there for a few minutes, catching his breath and feeling sorry for himself. As he got up to check his bicycle, he hoped he could still ride it back home, but when he saw how the front wheel was bent, he just groaned and thought about how far he would have to push it. He looked back up the hill and groaned again, then turned and peered in the opposite direction.
Not too far away, he saw what looked like houses and wondered if he could get the wheel fixed or find someone to give him a lift home. Ask a stranger to give him a lift home? Hmm. His parents wouldn’t like that.
What was he thinking? He was already in a load of trouble. On the other hand, what more could happen? He decided to risk it and started pushing his bicycle to what he thought might be a village or small town.
As he drew nearer, he thought he might have knocked his head without realizing it because there seemed to be something wrong with his eyes, or he was dizzy or something. The houses seemed to have an odd shape, the tree trunks were green, and the branches didn’t have any leaves, although it was the beginning of summer. He tried to focus, but it didn’t seem to make any difference. Closer. Closer. His eyes grew wider and wider. He must be unconscious and dreaming. He stopped … and stared. The trees were upside down! There were the roots, up in the air, and sticking out of the ground were a few branches with leaves here and there. He examined them closer. Huh? The trunks were actually painted green. Why would anyone paint tree trunks green?
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