TITLE: Emme Maru and the Salamander Scrolls
GENRE: Middle-Grade Mystery
It all began with a letter. I wasn’t expecting it and I certainly wasn’t expecting the guy who delivered it. He wore a milkman’s uniform with a starchy white cap and a perky bow tie and he pedaled a three-wheeled bike straight up my gravel driveway. He parked near the front porch, then rifled through an overflowing bike basket.
He spoke while he rifled. “How was the sixth grade? Glad it’s over, I bet. Ready for summer? Going to be an interesting one,” he said, tossing aside two small boat cushions and a polished wood oar. “I’ve got them somewhere...Here we go: Emme Maru and Lucas Hamm.” He selected two official-looking letters and climbed the front porch steps.
As soon as I realized he was there for us, I quickly brushed the dust from my wrinkled shorts and tried to cram my tangled hair into a decent ponytail. I glanced over at Hamm, my best friend since the first grade. He didn’t look much better: he was wearing an orange striped shirt with green plaid shorts and his hair stood up on end.
When the milkman hit the top step, he handed us each a thick ivory envelope. It smelled of warm chocolate and fresh jasmine from the garden. Then he tipped his cap, swung aboard his extra-large trike, and tootled back the way he came.
Strange? Yes. But by the time night fell, it wouldn’t even crack the top ten.