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You wander back to the patch of gravel, tarmac and soil on which the block of flats that you live in is situated, some tired flowers scattered on the makeshift ‘lawn’ outside, nearby the box that you use as mailboxes. You open the one that has been labeled for you, and squeal in excitement as you notice a letter inside addressed to yourself. It’s been a while since you received any letter: from Nan, from (former) residents of the town, or other people you know from ‘the outside’.

You pick up the missive and hurriedly sprint up the two flights of stairs to your home.

“Afternoon all,” you call as you unlock the front door of your flat, “Look, I received a letter from my pen-friend, Katy!”

You have been keeping in touch with some young people around your age, a girl called Katy and her brother, Scott, and their cousin, Abbey, living in a flat of their own. Their town, like yours, is small, but more lively and full of the attentions of the modern age, whereas yours is rather stuck in the past.

Scott happens to be your sister’s pen-friend and you guess that she has a slight fancy on him, which Max has also spotted.

“You fancy him…” He taunts from the comfort of a worn paisley-coloured arm-chair.

“What does the letter say?” Jane ignores Max and peers over your shoulder. Distracted, you thrust the letter into her hand and gaze out the window. You’ve just seen a ruby-coloured balloon float past. It’s strange; they don’t sell balloons in your town, so it must have floated over from somewhere else. Also unusually, it looks like it has a present tied to the bottom of it with matching red string.

“Oh, listen to this…” Jane mutters, mostly to herself, “Well, how curious of Katy to say…”

“What?” Your head snaps away from the window, realising that Jane is reading the letter that you hadn’t quite finished. She beckons for you to come and see.

But the balloon is quickly floating away…

You are curious about both things, but which should you go after first?

The End

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