Encouraging links between students and school staff around the globe
I’ve come to hate birthdays. It would be better if my parents just forgot about it, but no, they have to go through this huge performance, baking a cake (rather than just buying a proper one from the shops like all my friends got), making a massive fuss about my present, all that stuff. And the presents are always terrible – ‘educational’ rubbish about the universe, or a hand-knitted jumper made by stinky old Peruvians out of llama wool, or, last year, exactly the wrong kind of iPod.
This year began like that. I opened my presents at breakfast, and tried to act like I was delighted to get a special italic handwriting fountain pen and a pair of socks with space rockets on them. But then there was another parcel, wrapped in plain brown paper, about the size of a shoebox.
‘Who’s this from?’ I asked, looking from mum to dad to my sister, Elaine.
‘No idea,’ said dad. ‘Must be one of your mates. Open it up.’
But for some reason I didn’t want to open it up in front of them, so I took it up to my room. There was something funny about it. It was heavier than I thought. Denser. And it might have been my imagination, but I thought I caught a smell coming from it. I didn’t recognize the smell, and it wasn’t particularly bad, but it gave me the creeps.
I put it down on my bedroom floor, and began to peel back the paper.
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