Chapter 1, or maybe the prologue

Bristol, England

The 13th of May 1994

Elaine Larren's POV

Yesterday I received a letter from my old acquaintance, Veronica Clarens, now Mrs. Veronica Grimm. We met two years ago, when she came from New York City to spend vacations in Bristol. She has a soft, friendly character, so it's easy for her to become best friends with any person she meets.

Me and Veronica became best friends indeed. I frequently visited her in New York, and she spent lots of money on international mobile phone calls to me. Last year, though, she got married and moved to some tiny Ferryport Landing town where her husband lived.

Since then, I had received nothing but letters from Veronica. The letters were long and interesting, but she didn't write very often. So yesterday I naturally was excited when my little sister found an envelope from Ferryport Landing in the letterbox.

I read Veronica's letter aloud:

Dear Elaine,

Thank you for your last letter. Everything's going fine around here. Ferryport Landing seems to be the most quiet and happy town in the US! Right now, by the way, it's the most beautiful one. There are many wild apple trees in the forest that surrounds the town, and every apple tree's now blossoming. I wish you could see it!

Yes, I wish it so much, and that's why I'm writing to you now. You see, Henry's soon going to Boston on a business trip and Relda wants to visit some friend of hers in Cold-Spring (another town, not far from Ferryport Landing). So I'll be alone for a week or so. Maybe you could come and visit me here in the end of May? I have actually missed you and Melanie (that's my little sister) very much, so I'd love to see you both in Ferryport Landing in about two weeks.

If you agree, then here are the directions for you. You need to get to New York City and then to go to Ferryport by train, from Grand Central. The faster trains depart from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. every hour. The slow ones depart every twenty minutes.

I hope you'll accept the invitation!

Love to you and Melanie.

Veronica.

"So, Melanie, do you want to visit Mrs. Veronica?" I asked cheerfully. I didn't hesitate a moment myself.

"Yes, I do! Of course!" she cried and clapped her hands.

"Then it's decided. We'll come to Ferryport Landing and see our old friend at last, agreed?"

Rather short... But it's just the beginning!