Anna smashed the little camera, not pausing to think. She knew there were more – there was no danger of not having any to use for reversing the signal. But the next one she would leave intact, in case.
“How many do you think there are?” she called to Matt, who shrugged.
“I don’t know,” he replied. “Anything between two and twenty, I’d guess, but probably not more.” Anna nodded – that seemed likely. She spotted the gleam of light on something metallic over to her left and quickly took a closer look, without coming into range of the lens. Yes, it was a camera.
“Leave that one!” she called, and Matt looked around, following her point finger.
“Don’t you think they’ll hear me?” she added suddenly, realising how loudly she was shouting, but her friend shook his head, his dark hair falling from side to side. Anna’s heart missed a beat.
“No, the Celryn’s cameras have no sound,” he said. Anna wondered why Matt was so confident, but remembered his past and decided to believe him. He had found another one, anyway, and she watched, smiling slightly, as it became so much broken glass under his strong fingers.
It took them about two hours to be absolutely certain they had all of the cameras. The snow fell all the while, and soon was crunching at about shin-height under their tired feet. Anna wished that it had fallen under different circumstances – at a time when she would have had nothing better to do than enjoy the time of school by messing around in the snow with her friends. And at a time when it wouldn’t have mattered how cold she got, because her foster parents would be there with a cup of hot chocolate to warm her…
Her parents. Anna’s fire suddenly went out, her skin screaming in protest as it was exposed to the cold winter air. She tried to re-light the flames but it took several tries and she realised that this was her weakness. Matt saw her expression as the cold hit and ran over to help, but she shook him off.
“I’m fine,” she whispered, her voice weak with the bitter wind. “At least, I will be in a moment.” This was the truth, for only a minute or two later she got the fire going again and felt as warm as she would if she were inside, leaning against a radiator.
“Useful, the fairy thing,” said Matt, laughing. “You’d freeze if you couldn’t use your powers.” Anna agreed, but she wasn’t about to say that, not when she needed her strength for this final task. She reached over the edge of the flowerbed, trying to lift the camera without it doing.
The camera was smooth and shiny beneath her fingers. So far, she had crushed the cameras where they were, not picked them up. Anna realised now that they were not glass, but some unearthly substance with many of the same properties. She cupped it carefully in her hand, all the while keeping it pointed at the sky. Then, turning it ever so slightly, she pulled out a single wire from the back. There was a small hiss, and tiny red light that she hadn’t even noticed went out.
“I’ve deactivated the camera!” she shouted, and Matt gave her a thumbs-up. Together they made their way back indoors, stamping the snow of their shoes and their trousers.
Anna took a wire from the pot on the shelf. The end would need altering, but she knew what to do.
She twisted one of the camera wires around the end of the phone – for that was what this particular wire was for – cable, and poked one end through a small hole. All being well, it should now make contact with the circuits. Then she plugged the other end into Matt’s laptop, and waited.
“New Hardware,” the computer beeped, and she smiled and laughed, relieved. Matt looked at her proudly.
“Well done,” he whispered.