Here is the next part of Riverland (children’s fiction).
“Are you ready?” Nannie asked Uncle Tim.
Uncle Tim didn’t know if he was ready or not. It didn’t matter because Nannie was ready.
Lie flat on your back with your arms and legs stretched out. Close your eyes. Take a deep breath into your stomach—in and then out. Take another breath in. Slowly breathe out. Feel your body relaxing into the bed. One more deep breath in. This time when you breathe out, completely relax as if your body is sinking into the middle of your mattress.
Move your feet around. Scrunch them up and let them go. Shake your legs and then relax. Tense your stomach muscles, and relax. Tighten your bum muscles, and then let them go floppy. Tense your chest, back, and shoulder muscles, and completely let go. Scrunch up your mouth, nose, eyes, whole face, the top of your head, and the back of your neck. Then totally relax. Let everything sink. Sink deeper. Sink even deeper. You are falling into a peaceful sleep. Falling, falling. Falling happily and gently. The house is quiet and calm. Your body is quiet and calm. Your mind is still and listening.
After a while, Uncle Tim heard a noise at the foot of his bed. He opened one eye. It was a large white figure with wings like an angel. The angel’s face was loving and kind.
“I’m sorry about your puppy,” said the angel. “Would you like to come with me to Riverland to see her?
“Yes!” said Uncle Tim excitedly.
“It’s a long journey,” said the angel. “It will take a few hours. Climb onto my back and snuggle into my feathers. You’ll be nice and warm there.”
With Uncle Tim on her back, the angel lifted up, passed through the ceiling, and flew out into the night sky. The air felt colder as the angel flew higher, but Uncle Tim curled up in the soft, thick feathers. It was like the most comfortable doona in the world. After a while, he could no longer see his house, suburb, or even the Earth. So, he went to sleep.
When he woke, the angel was gently landing on a beautiful grassy patch next to a shining river.
“We’re here,” said the angel. “Walk over the hill. You will find Bella with the other dogs.”
Uncle Tim went over the hill expectantly. The first dog to reach him was Walter, a golden retriever. He had never seen that dog, but he knew it was the first one of his big siblings. It was the pack leader. The other dogs came running up. Among them were Bella Number One and Bella Number Two. There were also dogs that he didn’t know. He wasn’t sure if they were dogs that would come to the family later on or if they were random friends. After a happy hour of playing, the angel reappeared and said it was time for Uncle Tim to return home.
“I’ll be back soon,” said Uncle Tim to the dogs. “I hope so, anyway.”
The Riverland Inside
Once again, Uncle Tim nuzzled into the feathers for the long fly home. This time, he didn’t wake up when they landed. Instead, he woke up in the morning. Opening his eyes, he wondered if he had dreamed the whole thing. It felt real. When he got up, he saw a white feather at the foot of the bed. He picked it up and realised that the front of his pyjamas was covered in dog hair. He smiled and put the feather in his special safe box. He didn’t need the feather or the dog hair to know that Riverland was real because something of it was left inside him. He couldn’t say exactly what it was, but it felt special and safe (just like his safe box). He didn’t feel worried anymore. And that was the first of Uncle Tim’s many visits to Riverland.
You can listen to Riverland here on the YouTube Riverland playlist.