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My name is Marianne Roberts. When I was five years old, my parents died in a plane accident. I was sent to live with my uncle George and my aunt Katrina. Uncle George was some sort of secret agent, so I didn’t see him much. Aunt Katrina was as nice as any aunt could be, but I preferred Uncle George. When I was little and he came home from missions, he would swing me up into his arms and toss me into the air as I giggled happily and cried, “Uncie Georgie! Uncie Georgie!” When I was older, we talked about our favourite subject – The Lord of the Rings.
Aunt Katrina was okay with the books and the movies, but didn’t especially like them, either. Not so with Uncle George and I – we loved them with a passion. Sometimes, when Uncle George came back from missions on a summer evening (he seemed to usually come home around midnight for some reason), he would wake me up and we’d spend the rest of the night watching The Fellowship of the Ring, The Two Towers, and The Return of the King: laughing at Pippin and Merry’s pranks, watching in horrified silence at Sauron and orcs, crying when Sam held Frodo at Mount Doom.
Auntie would complain when we slept during the day, exhausted from being up all night, but we knew she didn’t really mean it. She knew how much we loved The Lord of the Rings and how few moments we had together to spare time for it.
Then, disaster struck when I was twenty-one. A letter came in the mail, telling Auntie and I that Uncle George was missing. Auntie had a heart attack when she heard the news. The next day, I was alone in my uncle’s house; the house now belonged to me.