Robyn Dhea ran out of her school, her light purple backpack bouncing on her back. Even on this snowy December day, the sun was out and shining, beating down on Robyn's shining red hair. She wasn't very surprised to find Kim and Joanne, her older sisters, running out of their schools. Bradley, their little brother, was running out of his kindergarden. His red baseball cap was sideways, and Robyn straightened it once he got up to her. And snowball hit the back of her cap as she bent over. Joanne, who was fifteen, was behind her laughing. It was the first day of Christmas vacation, the last day of school. For awhile, at least. Robyn ran over to retaliate while Kim tried to act dignified and mature. She was in Junior High, and thought it was time to "act her age".

This lasted for some time, but eventually they started home. Joanne was letting Brad piggy-back ride home. The sidwalk was sleet-covered. After their treck home, they were quite pleased to have an afternoon of afghans, TV, and warm snacks ahead of them. Their shoes were by now near useless. The shoes were cold, so how could their feet be any different?

They never expected to have the excitement The Letter caused.

+^+^+^+^+^

"Old Navy holiday hotline." The TV said. With the start of the commercial break, Kim exited her seat on couch with the afghan still draped over her. She poked her head out the door and opened the mailbox, carelessly removing the wad of mail.

She went to the kitchen table and started quickly sorting it. "Ad, ad, Christmas card for mom, catalog, two bills. Nothing for me as usua- Ooh, here we go,"

"What is it?" asked Robyn, who had moved to take up the entire couch when Kim had moved.

"I dunno," she replied. "It looks like junk mail. Why am I getting junk mail? Hey, you two have ones too," Robyn and Joanne got up slowly, as the commercial break didn't appear to end anytime soon and her sister had just formed the rare sentence saying that they had mail.

"Probably some stupid ad thing," said Kim, and slid hers to the end of the table.

"Probably. I'm going to go work on my Science homework," Robyn announced, and started in the direction of the stairs.

"Come help me with the pies, Robyn," Mother said.

"But I should be doing my Science," Robyn replied.

"Baking is Science, Dear," Mother said. From her crazed expression she could tell the crust was rolling out no better than usual. So she went to help her mother. It wasn't until the evening that the mail was brought up again.

+^+^+^+^+^

Their Dad sat on the couch, browsing through the mail on the end table. He paused. "Girls, did you know you have mail?"

"Yeah," said Joanne.

"It's probably junk," said Robyn.

"Why bother?" Kim said.

"It could be important," Dad said. "Come on, open them up," so the broke the seal with their fingers as knives. In unison, they read the letters, which were printed in a typewriter-ish font.

"What. Why. What's going on here?" asked Kim. She dropped the letter to the floor.

"They want us to come to that army building on Bradford Avenue! Why?!" Robyn announced.

"And look at these bizarre instructions, too- bring two changes of clothes, one for summer and one for winter. You must come to the office tommorow or you will be taken from your house!" Joanne's voice went to the hysterical range as she finished the sentence.

"It doesn't say what they want at all?" said the now-concerned Father, who was peering over Joanne's shoulder at the letter.

"No!" said Robyn.

"How can this be real?" Kim asked. "This must be a joke. That's right, a joke from some boys at school. They want to get us all worried and in a tizzy and then appear on the office lawn to make fun of us for coming!"

"But if it is real, what do they want?" Robyn asked. "If they were starting up the draft or something like that for the war again, they wouldn't want me! I'm too young," There had been a war between two countries going on for as long as Robyn could remember. It had been going so long some people had forgotten how it had even started. But Robyn knew it was because the other country thought slavery was good.

Eventually they went to bed, not looking forward to tomorrow at all. They couldn't win either way: if it was a joke, they would be humiliated, and if it was real, it may be dangerous.

+^+^+^+^+^

Robyn was awake. She looked at her alarm clock, which was on and attached board on the bunk bed. She was on the top level, and Joanne was below her. It was Kim's turn to have the single bed tonight.

3:08 AM.

Not time to get up.

Robyn couldn't decide if she wished it were, or glad it wasn't. On the one hand, it was about five hours before they were wanted at the army headquarters. But on the other hand, she wouldn't be able to go back to sleep now, and would have to wait in dread.

Being summoned to the HQ couldn't be good. There was no pleasant reason why they should be there. It didn't seem real.

Maybe it wasn't real.

She banged her arm on the edge of the bed on purpose. It hurt. It was real.

She lay back down, but couldn't stop wondering what was going on.

Authoress's Notes: A new story. yay. Thanks for reading, and please review! Reviews are good. Anyway, please also read my other story, and review it. I know I haven't updated it in eons, but is it really my fault? I have 21 more chapters of it (finished!) but Word erased my second chapter! I have a hard copy, but haven't yet scanned it back into exsistence. Please R & R both, thanks! :::Dashes away in red wool cloak:::