Chapter 9

‘The ferris wheel spins you there?’ Ma blinked in disbelief.

Gramps shrugged his shoulders. ‘It’s a mystery,’ he said, and laughed. Pa turned a page of his newspaper. It was the Saturday before school began. Jasmine couldn’t wait for term to start. But her history project still had ten empty pages.

HKHG 009 finalGovernment House. Built in 1855. Official residence of Hong Kong’s Chief Executive, she read at the gate. A fountain sprayed cooling water. But spikes on wall tops looked like tiger claws ready to pounce. Jasmine gripped Gramps’s hand.

A sweeping driveway led to a front door, partly hidden by bushes. Were guards hiding behind them? Jasmine imagined the time when Hong Kong was occupied by Japanese soldiers with cocked guns and grim faces. Eiya! Even the policewoman guarding the gate had a gun!

A car with a flapping Hong Kong flag approached. Gramps stood to attention. A lady in a pretty cheongsam was winding down the back window, waving and smiling: Carrie Lam!

Beep. Beep. The policewoman’s walkie-talkie buzzed. She pressed a key. ‘Good morning, Ma’am. Yes? Why yes!’ The policewoman laughed. She disappeared into a pillbox, reappeared with an envelope and handed it to Jasmine. ‘It was delivered a week or so ago,’ she said. ‘I was going to throw it away but Mrs Lam suggested I keep it.’

‘Thank you, Madam,’ said Jasmine. The policewoman’s keys jangled as she passed the letter to Jasmine. Inside there were two clues: i) a grade-one listed tong lau, and ii) Roses are red, Violets are ___. You’re well on your way, good luck to you.

Violets? Jasmine had to Google for the Chinese translation. The missing word must be a colour that rhymed with the word ‘you’.

And the next letter of the mystery message? It was H.



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