Yup, you may notice yourselves in this chapter .... Sorry!
Spook ran in and woke Anna about eight hours later, for Anna was sleeping deeply, and had not heard the doorbell ring.
“Have I been asleep all this time?” she said, glancing at the clock. When she first went to bed, she was sure that she’d never drop off.
“Yes. But never mind that - I think the Protagonists are here!” Spook was grinning, knowing that she’d brought this about. She wouldn’t stop jumping around as Anna pulled on her dressing gown so that she could answer the door.
Matt had come out of the living room to see what was going on, blearily rubbing his eyes. Unlike Anna, he had been woken by the doorbell, and had had time to pull on some trousers and a t-shirt, which at least covered his wings, even though they could still see a faint outline.
Anna opened the door, and there she saw them.
The Protagonists had come.
At least twenty of them stood in a throng on the driveway, where her parents’ car had once stood. They were all humanoid, Anna noticed with relief, but with odd quirks that showed their alien nature.
“You must be Anna,” said one at the front. “I am Summer; I’m here with my people.” Anna looked at her intently. She had strange, greenish-brown hair that fell almost to her waist, and her eyes were a piercing shade of yellow.
“Right, okay then,” said Anna, lost for words. “If you’ll come into the … house and meet Matt, and there’s two of you here already, as you probably know.” They nodded.
“Yes, indeed, the runaways.” Summer did not seem pleased. “However, I’m sure they felt that they were acting for the best.”
The Protagonists trooped into the house. Anna counted twenty-three of them – far more than Spook had expected. Matt stood at the entrance to the living room, having cleared away his blankets and pillows, leaving no evidence that he had spent the night on that sofa. Delorfinde had come down from upstairs, fully dressed unlike Spook, who was wearing her pyjamas.
“They’re here!” she exclaimed, with great relief. “I knew they’d come.”
“Would you like to introduce yourselves?” said Matt, looking expectantly at the Protagonists, who stood in an awkward huddle. This they proceeded to do.
There was Summer, Thor, Jeth and Elzu, who were all Influencers like Delorfinde. Then followed Jennie, Kitty, and six others whose names Anna forgot as soon as she heard them, who were Fighters, and whose powers were purely physical. GreenTree, who was Elzu’s Apprentice, was a Telepath, as was his friend, Hola. They shared their gift with Hummingbird and Corby. The remaining Protagonists were Workers - they could turn their hand to just about any job but had no specific skill.
“I’m in charge,” said Summer. “Normally, Lyre and Elzu would collaborate to lead us all, but Lyre couldn’t make it. She’s busy with something else. So we had a vote and I was elected. I hope that’s okay?” When Anna did not answer, she added, “But we’ll listen to anything you tell us to do, of course.”
“Yeah, that’s fine … I was just slightly distracted…” Anna was mesmerized by the flashing colours in Jennie’s hair, which changed every few seconds.
“Jennie!” snapped Jeth, irritated. “How many times have we told you not to do that in serious situations? Can’t you see that you’re distracting … Anna?” He said her name awkwardly, and she smiled at him.
“It’s fine, I like them.” There was a pause. No one really wanted to be the one to break the silence, until Matt said cheerfully:
“Who wants a drink?”