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claustrophobic, as if they were looming over her and accusing her of

being an interloper in their world of unruly beauty. Slowly she taught

herself to view the trees as a wall of green, protecting her from the

pain and distress which had sent her packing her bags and driving up

into the mountains in the first place. However, her indifference

towards nature turned to dislike when it came to creepy crawlies, the

way they would surprise you when you walked into the kitchen in

the morning, staring at you (you couldn’t actually see their eyes- they

were too minuscule, but Naomi L. could feel them), watching your

every move and waiting for the perfect moment to drop onto your

shoulder. The only true comfort she found in nature was the thriving

bridal veil creeper, a noxious weed which had found it ways into the

Wollemi wilderness from South East Asia. The creeper formed

tangled masses, scrambling across the soil and climbing up the

Bloodwood trees. Although listed as one of Australia’s

20 weeds of

national significance

, she found the alien weed strangely attractive. The

twisting stems, shining green leaves, fleshy white-petalled flowers as

well as the burgundy-coloured berries filled her with a longing for

something foreign, something romantic.

Every day, Naomi L. would stick to the routine that she had

created for herself. Wake up at 9am, perform her morning pushups,

have a shower, eat breakfast, watch the 12pm daily sport overview ,

eat lunch, complete a cryptic crossword from the book she had

found in the cupboard, have a nap, perform her evening pushups, eat

dinner and go to bed. Once a week she would drive into the nearest

town to stock up on food and magazines, but she didn’t like to spend

a lot of time there. Locals would stare at her, as she pushed a trolley

down the supermarket aisle. A thirty-something year old woman in

the Hazelbrook supermarket wearing some old tracksuit pants, ugg

boots and faded hoodie was clearly not a local. She felt like an



always expecting calls of obscenity and abuse but they never came.

On returning from her weekly visit into town one evening, Naomi L.

discovered another car parked in the garage. A forest-green ute with

‘Total Tree Carers’ painted on the side, looking like it could use a great

deal of repairing work. The lodge was designed for two guests, but

she had presumed that a shabby lodge in the middle-of-nowhere

would not attract any visitors apart from herself.

A young man stepped out of the sliding door and onto the

A Wall Of