24 Part 1

            The four young people - that was including Matt, even though Anna still had not worked out whether he came into that category - waited anxiously after Spook had clicked send, even though Spook pointed out that it would take time for them to arrive.

            “They still have to get here, don’t forget,” were her actual words. “Unfortunately, we can’t teleport, though we can do many other things.” She sounded genuinely disappointed about this.

            “Wish I could teleport,” muttered Anna, thinking how useful it would be for getting to school if she was running late. Matt laughed.

            “Seeing as you can do everything else, Anna, I don’t think you’ve got cause to complain.” Delorfinde laughed too. She had a pretty laugh, Anna thought. They sat on the sofa for almost two hours, watching pointless TV on Matt’s laptop, because the telly was broken, or just dozing.

            “Anyone hungry?” said Anna, getting up at last. She took Spook with her into the kitchen to choose some food - the two Protagonists had no idea what humans ate.

            “How long do you think it’ll take for them to get here, and how many will come?” she asked anxiously, once they were out of earshot. “I don’t want to get my hopes up, and then find that only two people turn up, or something.”

            “Stop worrying, Anna,” Spook replied soothingly. “It’ll only take a day or so, and I reckon at least fifteen of them will come.”

            “A day? Fifteen?” Anna’s heart sank. She had been hoping for double that number, at least.

            “It’ll be okay, honestly,” Spook told her, all traces of her bouncy humour gone. “Please, just trust me. Our people are powerful - fifteen is more than enough.” Anna nodded and gulped back the lump in her throat, trying to be strong.

            “I’m sorry - it’s just so hard, to have such a burden on my shoulders at this age. To save the whole universe! If you’d told me that, two years ago, I would have told you to get some brain floss…”

            Thinking of that phrase brought tears to Anna’s eyes. She remembered her father saying it, every time she did something stupid. It was a favourite saying of his: “You need to floss your brain,” he would say. But she wasn’t going to think about her parents; she wasn’t going to let weakness hit her again. If they were going to defeat the Celryn, she would need to be strong.

            After they had eaten, Anna set about finding beds for everyone. It wasn’t as hard as she’d been expected - she had temporarily forgotten that she lived alone, now. As long as Delorfinde and Spook didn’t mind sharing a double bed, Matt could have hers, and she’d have the sofa.

            “No, we don’t mind,” said Delorfinde. “Oh, and please, please, call me Del!” Anna nodded, committing that to memory.

            “Del. Right.”

            “I wouldn’t dream of it, Anna,” said Matt chivalrously. “You’re having your own bed - I’ll take the sofa.” However much she protested, he would not change his mind, and yawning, they all trooped off to catch some sleep.

The End

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