So many people had a favourite stuffed toy when they were little. They provide the first flames of imagination, give you a guest whenever you need tea parties, and an instant companion on adventures.
But as much as primary school teachers will try and persuade you otherwise, your imagination will only take you so far. Everyone reaches the point where they realise their furry friend is nothing more than a cloth template wrapped around stuffing.
For her fifth birthday in 2032, Kyla was prescribed her Imagination Bear. It arrived in the standard white box, which she concentrated very hard on for several days, a sticky pad pressed against her forehead, the thin brass wire running into the ridge of the cardboard.
The night before the big day, she twisted and turned in her bed for hours. The box watched her from the corner. With that little sleep, it was hardly a surprise she needed waking up.
Sunlight streamed through the window, A fluffy paw batted her in the face. Kyla woke to two button eyes gleaming, a stitched smile on a cotton face wishing her good morning.
‘Wake up Kyla,’ the Imagination Bear said, and buffed her on the nose. 'We have a big day ahead of us. Did you want to go to the bottom of the sea? Or into space? Or visit the jungle?’
Her Dad walked in, his Imagination Cat sitting on the shoulder of his pyjamas. He watched the bear scamper off the bed, looking for treasure under the chest of drawers, and nodded his head. Kyla had so many adventures to go on.