Gramps put his hat on as the sun melted behind a hazy mountain. Jasmine clicked into a map app to find Duddell Street. Ding. Her phone beeped. It was Mum. ‘Don’t make Gramps too tired, History Girl,’ she’d texted. No worries, Jasmine texted back, running to catch him up.
Ice House Street. Where ice was made in early colonial times, she read. You’d need a space the size of Chep Lap Kok to make all the ice today!
Beep beep! Rush-hour traffic raised dust and Jasmine sneezed. They wound down to Duddell Street where four famous gas lamps, two on the top, two at the bottom, graced an elegant staircase.
Jasmine screwed her eyes up and the lamps seemed to change into Hakka-hatted farmers in paddy fields. She read from her app: George Duddell was a landowner in the 1870s, stepped forward to take a photo, when – flick! – the lamps flamed. It was exactly six-‘o’-clock. A gentle light cast shadows on the steps and Jasmine imagined how pretty Hong Kong must have looked when everywhere was lit so. Gramps told her that in the olden days, men with long rods would traverse the city with long rods.
Now where was the next envelope? Jasmine sauntered down the cool stone stairs, poking at the balustrades with Gramps’s umbrella. Had someone accidentally taken it away? Or had it been swept away by street sweepers? Her heart sank.
Gramps had to catch his breath at the bottom. ‘We can’t give up now,’ he said, tweaking his mole hair.
‘Wait!’ Jasmine walked behind the pillar he was clutching. And there the letter was, hidden between a gas container and the wall. She laughed aloud.
The clue was: The oldest market structure in the city and the next letter of the mystery message was S.
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