I yelped as the warm water suddenly turned burning hot, and then freezing cold. I practically jumped out of the shower, cursing the temperamental boiler in a not very quiet voice. I stuck my fingers under the icy flow and waited until it turned bearable again. I got back in and washed the pearly shampoo, which I'd somehow managed to get on the wall when the boiler went haywire, out of my impossible black hair. I'd recently changed my hairstyle from long, glossy- and highly tangle prone- to a much more easily managed pixie cut.
I turned off the shower and got out, the normal way this time. I yawned widely and grabbed one of the blue towels off the white radiator that rarely turned off and got dried. I towel dried my hair and pulled on a grey cotton vest top and bleached denim shorts. Then I tried to pull the door open and failed, only after about ten seconds remembering that it was locked. I slid the small silver cylinder back and, yawning again, pulled open the door and wandered downstairs.
The smell of burning hit me as soon as I reached the kitchen door. I scanned the room with my bright green eyes and immediately found the source- the toaster. The stainless steel box was belching out thick clouds of choking black smoke. I flicked the switch by the plug socket off and yanked the cord, pulling the plug from the wall.
"Adam!" I yelled, dumping the charred slabs of used-to-be bread into the pedal bin. The lid closed with a clang.
"Yeah?" My eighteen year old brother had suddenly appeared in the doorway, grinning like he'd done something to be proud of. Although in his mind, he probably had.
"Why the hell did you decide to burn the toast?"
"I didn't burn the toast. Toaster did."
I groaned in frustration. Adam was impossible sometimes. Our parents had had a seriously sick sense of humour. You know, you do not marry a guy with the last name of Eden, and the call your children Adam and Eve. I'd been teased halfway to hell and back because of it.
He disappeared back into the living room, and from the sound of it turned the TV on and started watching football again too. I grabbed a bag of Salted McCoys crisps, opened the bag and sat at the table, eating them slowly.
I jumped. I was sure someone had just called my name softly. I looked around for someone, but there was no one there.
There it was again. I decided it was the wind whispering through the branches of the old cherry tree in the garden.
Then, for no apparent reason, I was struck with the sudden urge to go outside. I put the crisps on the table and got up. Without quite knowing why, I walked to the door and stepped out into the cool night air. I felt the cool damp grass under my feet, and realised that I wasn't wearing shoes. I couldn't go back though, even though I tried. Something had control over where I walked and wouldn't let go. I looked down.
The emerald was almost invisible on the grass. I don't think I'd have seen it if a ray of moonlight hadn't caught it, and made it sparkle. I bent down to pick it up. As my fingers closed around it, there was a sudden rush of air and I knew instantly that I wasn't outside my house any more, mainly because of the bright light coming from the windows of the building behind me.
I started towards it quickly, but stopped in shock as suddenly I was almost up against the stone. I had been sure that the house was about ten metres away, but I'd crossed that distance in a few steps. I walked at a normal pace and was relieved to find that nothing rushed towards me. I went in and found a girl about my age with blonde hair and blue eyes. She was turning a ruby over and over in her hands.
"Um, hi? I'm Eve," I said, a little nervously.