Kathryn listened to the revelation about Anna’s birth in amazement, feeling increasingly awkward. How could she sympathise, when she had never been in that situation? She motioned to Callie that they should slip out after the Telcontar, and Callie nodded. Anna would need some alone time, to be sure.
They reached the front door and realised that they had no clue where they were going.
“We’ll go to my place,” said Kathryn. “It’s nearer, and we won’t have your little sister barging in on us all the time.” Callie agreed.
“She’s a pain like that, isn’t she?” she replied. “I don’t know how she ended up like that…” The two girls laughed together like sisters, because in a way they almost were. “Poor Anna,” Callie said a moment later, shattering the joy of the moment.
“What do you mean?” Kathryn asked, completely disorientated. “Why ‘poor Anna’?” Callie looked up with tears in her eyes.
“Her parents!” she said. “How awful it must be not to know what has happened to them; not to know whether they’re even still alive…”
“Didn’t Matt say that the Celryn would not harm them?” Kathryn pointed out. “I’m sure they’ll be okay.” She did not sound convinced, however - her words were empty. They walked along the street in silence, each deep in her own thoughts. Callie listened to the slap, slap of her feet against the pavement and wished, not for the first time, that she was in the open countryside. She hated the city, thinking of it as dirty and polluted, and above all, man-made.
Kathryn thought of her own parents, and wondered what she would do if they, too, were abducted. She wondered whether she would be desperate to rescue them, as Anna was. Would they even care if she didn’t? Her parents were distant and unfeeling with her, often going out in the evening and leaving her and her sister, Elanor, alone all evening. Elanor was sixteen, going on seventeen, and she considered herself far above her younger sister. Kathryn often believed it, too, because Elanor was stunningly pretty, with long blonde hair, sparkling green eyes, rosy skin and a perfect figure. She had the kind of looks that made every other girl in the room feel instantly worthless, Kathryn included.
“Kathryn?” said Callie, as they neared the house at the end of the street, the one that belonged to Kathryn.
“What is it?” she replied, still distant, still wondering.
“Will your parents be home?” Callie said nervously. She did not get on well with Kathryn’s parents, who thought that their daughter shouldn’t be friendly with someone two years younger than her, and besides, it might disrupt their discussions.
“No, tonight Mum’s at Bingo and Dad’s on a business trip.” Kathryn sighed. “Sometimes I really hate having parents like mine.”
“At least you’ve got parents,” Callie reminded her. “If Anna doesn’t rescue her parents, she soon won’t.” They sat in silence.
“They’re her foster parents, anyway,” said Kathryn defensively. The words came out harsh and unfeeling, and Kathryn clapped her hand over her mouth. “I didn’t mean that - I mean, I know it’s hard…”
Callie mimed digging.
“Shut up!” said Kathryn, going bright red.
“I’m not saying anything!” Callie replied, half-laughing. Kathryn nodded.
“I know. That’s the problem.” They both burst into fits of giggles, and didn’t stop laughing until they were inside Kathryn’s house.”
“Who’s there?” called out Elanor from somewhere above their heads. Kathryn looked up, made a face and then replied.
“Me and Callie. What’s it to you?” They heard a chair being pushed back, and a moment later Elanor’s face appeared.
“Because you just made me lose my train of thought in the middle of a sentence, that’s why!” she yelled at them. “Now shut up!”
The two girls hurried into the kitchen.
“Your sister’s evil,” whispered Callie, extremely glad that her family was not like that.
“I know,” said Kathryn, giggling. “But I’m used to it now.”