Today I discovered treasure.
I drove to a building which I'd passed a thousand times, but never really noticed before. I made my way around the tall security fence to an imposing gate. Following the instructions I'd received the previous day, I pressed a buzzer, gave my name and announced that I had an appointment. After a momentary pause, the heavy gate buzzed and swung open slightly. It creaked as I pushed it the rest of the way and headed onwards, through the grounds, to the school reception. That's where I received the treasure. A thick brown envelope, with my name written across the middle in large letters, had been left with the receptionist. The stories. The start of a journey.
Twenty-nine short stories, written by a class of eleven-year-olds, about anything they liked. The only rule being that the story had to fit into a small white box - other than that, the children could write about anything they liked. That envelope felt like it was glowing gold in my hands. Pure magic.
I went home and read them at once, carefully unfolding the lip of the envelope, and handling each white sheet with the utmost care, as though it was a thousand years old and might disintegrate at the merest hint of a sneeze. I'd been looking forward to this moment for a long time, and those stories did not disappoint: a unicorn taking flying lessons, a giant struggling to cope with bullies at school, sea monsters, a village under attack, a goblin struggling to find a new job, an orange that just won't stop talking, numerous fairies, witches and wizards, and a girl named Sushi. There are sad stories, funny stories, adventures, friendships, adversaries, adversity, surprising endings, great heroes and so much more. You name it, it's in that envelope.
How on Earth am I going to make my decision?