So Aunt Peg was exactly the kind of person who would send her
to England alone, with a package from a Chinese restaurant. That wasn't so
The odd part was that Aunt Peg had been dead for three
That last fact was a little hard to swallow. Aunt Peg was the
most lively person Ginny had ever known. She was also only thirty-five years
old. That number was stuck in Ginny's head because her mother kept repeating
it over and over. Only thirty-five. Lively thirty-five-year-olds weren't
supposed to die. But Aunt Peg had. The phone call had come from a doctor in
England explaining that Aunt Peg had developed cancerthat it had come
quickly, that everything had been tried but nothing could be done.
The news . . . the illness . . . it was all very distant to
Ginny. Somehow, she'd never really believed it. Aunt Peg was still out there
somewhere in her mind. And Ginny was somehow speeding toward her in this plane.
Only Aunt Peg could make something like this happen. Not that Ginny hadn't had
to do her part. First, she'd had to convince herself that she could follow
what seemed like an obvious flight of insanity from an aunt who wasn't known
for her reliability. Once she'd done that, she had to convince her parents of
the same thing. Major international treaties had been negotiated in less time.
But now she was here. No going back now.
The plane was cold. Very cold. The lights were down, and it
was completely black outside the small windows. Everyone but Ginny seemed to be
asleep, including the people to either side of her. She couldn't move without
waking them up. Ginny wrapped herself in the tiny and ineffectual airline
blanket and clutched the package to her chest. She hadn't been able to bring
herself to open it yet. Instead, she'd spent most of the night looking out of
her darkened airplane window at a long shadow and several blinking lights, at
first thinking she was looking at the coast of New Jersey and then maybe Iceland
or Ireland. It wasn't until the dawn, when they were just about to land, that
she saw that the whole time she'd been looking at the wing.
Below them, through a cottony veil of clouds, was a patchwork
of green squares. Land. This plane was actually going to land, and they were
going to make her get out. In a foreign country. Ginny had never been anywhere
more exotic than Florida, and nowhere by herself.
She pried the package from her own grip and set it on her
lap. The time had clearly come to open it. Time to find out what Aunt Peg had
planned for her.
She pulled open the seal and reached inside.
The package contained a collection of envelopes much like the
first. They were all blue. They were made of heavy paper. Good quality. The kind
from one of those boutique paper stores. The front of each envelope was either
illustrated in pen and ink or watercolor, and they were bundled together with an
overstretched rubber band that had been doubled around them.
More importantly, they were each marked with a number,
starting with two and running to thirteen. Envelope #2 had an illustration of a
bottle, with a label that read open me on the plane.
The foregoing is excerpted from 13
Little Bue Envelopes by Maureen
Johnson. All rights reserved. No part of this book may be used or reproduced without
written permission from HarperCollins Publishers, 10 East 53rd Street, New York,
NY 10022. All Rights Reserved.
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