“Why don’t you come in, and see what we’ve found out?” said Matt politely, although he resented Anna not telling him more about her pen friend. Mind you, he did remember her telling him something … but what was it? He could not recall.
“Thanks,” beamed Spook, and stepped lightly over the threshold. “We’ve been travelling for ages - you have no idea what those shuttles are like when you’re trying to sleep on them! Honestly, they could at least have had cushions…”
“You came on your own?” Anna said, still bewildered at such an unexpected turn of events.
“Well, of course. I mean, Elo would hardly have let me go if she knew about it, would she?” There it was again – the splutter of laughter from Anna which confused them all.
“Please, ignore me! You’ve just got no idea how bizarre this is…”
“No, we don’t,” said Delorfinde quietly, as she came in and shut the door. “Maybe you should explain?” Her voice was gentle, but slightly sarcastic, and Anna felt that strange sense of déjà vu yet again.
“I really don’t think so,” she said. “I don’t think you’d appreciate it.” She smiled at her private joke. No, they really would not appreciate it, she was sure.
“Come through to the living room,” said Matt, trying to steer the conversation away from his friend’s odd behaviour. “I’ll explain what we’ve found out, as we walk along.” He led the two aliens towards the back of his house. Spook jumped back as his wings tickled her face, and sneezed. Delorfinde laughed shyly, and Anna wondered if she was always such an introvert.
“I just get shy when I’m with people I don’t know,” Delorfinde said to her. “Especially if they’re - I mean, if we’re not exactly the same species.”
“How - how did you know that was what I was thinking?” said Anna, bewildered. She could read minds, but that was different. She was half fairy, after all.
“I’m an Influencer,” Delorfinde said. “I mean, there are different sorts of people on our planet … I guess Spook didn’t explain it?” Mutely, Anna shook her head. “Well, I won’t go into it now - it’s too complicated. But some of us, called Influencers, can sort of ... Influence our surroundings, which includes changing what people think. And to do that we have to know what they’re thinking in the first place. So we can read minds…”
“Wow. Pretty cool,” was Anna’s response, although she was preoccupied.
“Yeah, we’re pretty rare. But you can read minds too, can’t you?” said Delorfinde with her soft voice, although she appeared to be losing some of her shyness as she got to know Anna.
“Yes, I can, but I only just found out, so I’m not that great at it yet,” Anna told her, and smiled. “It takes a lot of effort.” Delorfinde nodded understandingly.
“Mmm, I know what you mean. I felt exactly the same at first. But you get better at it, honestly.” By the time they reached the living room, Spook and Matt were sitting on the sofa, peering at the screen. They had been walking extremely slowly, but at least they were now good friends, as opposed to awkward strangers.