15 April, 19--
Am staying out late with friends from school. Absolutely no plotting, I promise.
Yes, I’m continuing with the night attack to Nairn. It’s decent strategic sense. Would you shift my troops along the terrain?
I shall trust you to make the dice rolls, Dearest Papa.
Your Loving Son,
18 April, 19--
Yes, of course I understand about the night shift. Got to keep hospital admins happy and all that, and not even you can do much about ‘flu season.
Our game will be here, waiting for you, as will I. (I did accidentally knock the Battle Board just slightly walking past. It was an accident I swear and all the pieces are returned to their rightful places.) Spoiler: we’re leaving the boggy field of Drumossie and “taking to the heather”. I picked up the Guerilla Warfare Expansion this arvo at the model shop and Chapters 6 through 8 look particularly enticing to my untutored eyes.
Oh ho ho, what fun we shall have.
Your Loving Son,
17 May, 19--
So what if I did fake the school assignment?
I looked up the life-cycle of the species of bean we were studying, and I found the averages, and I made a growth chart and adjusted for error, and sunlight, and watering differences. I wrote a nice little essay analysing my results.
And if I spent two hours on books and paperwork, instead of tinkering for months on a kindergarten Grow A Seed In A Jar makework project, then I’m still
damn sure I learned more than half the kids in my science class.
Isn’t that something? That I learned something?
I shouldn’t have opened my mouth about it. I was just proud of myself, you know? I got an A+ in Science, easy as kiss-your-hand, and I was proud.
I’m tearing this letter up, it’s awful.
I hate it when you look at me that way.
That’s it, this is going in the rubbi
17 June, 19--
Thank you, Dad. Yes, I would like to play another game with you.
If you don’t mind, I would like another crack at Culloden. The Scottish side again. I don’t believe in no-win scenarios.
18 June, 19--
Mum told me what Vanessa said to you last week.
I don’t I didn’t
She really is a perfect example of the species Protective Older Sister, isn’t she?
Hang on, this isn’t soppy enough. Will try again in the morning.
19 June, 19--
… Look, if you think someone like Vanessa is just going to keep going along in the traces of Medical Student and Future Doctor, like, forever, you’ve got another think coming. She loves you, sure. But she’s got that wild glint in her eye. Love won’t hold her forever.
I’d better bin this one, too.
5 July, 19--
Oh Pater, Oh Mater,
I don’t have time to explain. This is just for if you get home early while I’m out Gathering Components. I mean, Supplies. Perfectly ordinary Supplies, nothing to look at here.
We have guests staying, who were unexpectedly caught out of their regular accommodation due to unforeseen circumstances. The older gent in white (a bit on the short side) is Konstam Khan. He is an Expert Vermin Exterminator. (I promise I will explain later, this is so good, I cannot possibly get it down on paper.) Anyway. The Overly Polite Boy is Joris, Konstam’s Loyal Assistant. They are perfectly sweet, really, but they are from a long way away and it is best not to ask too many questions until I get back. Okay?
Jamie won’t give any trouble, he’s just sleeping because he hurt his arm. And Helen is… the hair thing is normal for Helen, so don’t worry about it. (But she bites.)
Your Son, Adam
ps. Whatever Vanessa tells you she is lying. I never, and I would never.
9 July, 19--
Vanessa is writing a letter of her own, Dad, Mum, but I am writing this one for you.
We are going off for a bit. It’s a game, except it isn’t, except it is. We did our research as much as we could. Konstam Khan knows such a lot about things like this, and so does Jamie when he isn’t just making things up to look clever.
I’m not doing this to look clever either. Well. The world can proclaim my genius anytime it likes of course. But They aren’t something we can walk away from. All I can think of is you going off to work another night shift because that’s just what you do. I hope you understand.
The Peerless Older Sibling is going to lay it all out, probably with diagrams and an itemised list.
I love you,
Dad, I nicked this notebook from one of the Clan MacKintosh officers. (Jamie showed me how to pick pockets and I was just curious I swear, but it’s useful now.) So I’m writing you another letter while we're having a bit of a rest.
We’ve been marching all day, and the ground is boggy so we’re all tired. I’m not one of the soldiers, so don’t you worry about that. They’ve got me carrying lead shot and power-packs. I can’t leave the soldiers but nothing can hurt me - really hurt me. Jamie said that [indecipherable] but [indecipherable], so I suppose I could just waltz in front inviting the Redcoats to rob me, but - No, I don’t think that would quite serve. Can’t [indecipherable].
I don’t regret what I did.
Hah! I really, really do.
We’re almost at Culloden Field and the officers are just going to plant us in that field and try to defend against the cavalry and cannons. Because of course they are. And I don’t know what to do except keep walking, I can't [indecipherable]. I disapprove of no-win scenarios, Dad - but I really wish I could have another reset. Hope you’re not disappoi
Something is pulling me. I
It’s been a complicated few days, but if you see this I’m upstairs having a nap.
The Pretty Older Sister is getting married.
I love you.