“Matt?” she said, her voice no more than a whisper. He looked at her sharply, his bright eyes meeting her own dark ones, and put a cold hand on her arm.
“Anna! What are you doing here?” His blue eyes were an eery red colour in the light of the huge bonfire behind them, and he looked more inhuman than ever.
“What?” Anna didn’t know what he was talking about. “I live round here, don’t I?” He nodded.
“I thought I told you to get out of the area,” he said. “The Celryn are still around, you know.”
“You told me I was in danger, but not that I need to leave,” Anna said uncertainly. "I mean, this is my home. My parents live here. I can't leave them!" Matt smiled, and took her hands in his.
“I know, Anna, but they are ruthless. I couldn’t bear it if any harm came to you.” Anna shuddered. She remembered the Celryn far too well, and knew her parents did too.
“Anna, who’s this?” her mother said from somewhere behind her. Matt immediately dropped her hands.
“It’s Matt. You remember him, don’t you?” Anna said, trying to be nonchalant. “He was the one who saved us when the Celryn attacked.”
Her parents were hard to see in the orange light but Anna was sure she saw them wince at the memory of that terrible night.
“Ah, well, I suppose we must be grateful then.” She turned to leave, then added in Anna’s ear, “Don’t go getting mixed up in all that trouble again, you hear me? If that boy gets you into another mess like the last one, he’ll have hell to pay.”
Anna looked at Matt to see if he had heard, but he gave no outward sign. Suddenly she realised – hadn’t Kathryn and Callie been standing there the entire time. Then surely, they would have heard what Matt said about the Celryn?
Anna had never told her friends the truth about what happened that day. Well, night. She didn’t know why, but something told her not to, so she hadn’t. She looked up, expecting to see the puzzled faces of her friends.
“They left,” said Matt. “Soon as we started talking. To give us some … privacy.” Anna smiled as understanding reached her. Of course, her friends would naturally assume there was something going on between her and Matt. He was drop-dead gorgeous, after all. But that was because he wasn’t human. That was probably the only reason they were friends.
“Matt, I’m going to meet up with one of my friends, but the thing is…” Anna swallowed. This was going to sound mad. “She’s an alien.”
Matt grabbed her wrists. “What sort, Anna?” Her heart leaped. He believed her!
“It’s okay; she’s not one of the Celryn.”
“Tell me about her in a minute. But first ….”
Matt never got a chance to finish his sentence. A moment later one of the stars above them winked out of existence, and Anna screamed.
“Matt! Matt, look!”
Her friend looked up just in time to see a dark cloud swooping towards them, eerily reminiscent of a date a year previously…