Anna awoke to the shrill sound of her alarm clock. Shutting it off, she glanced at the time and groaned. Ten to seven. She’d almost forgotten what it was like to have to get up for school.
Rolling resignedly out of bed, she searched for some clothes. Her uniform felt odd against her skin as she put it on and she longed for the simple pleasure of jeans - she hated skirts, and could not see any reason for the school to insist on one.
Her hair took a little longer. In the end, bored of trying to make it stay in place naturally, she gave it a shot of her power to curl it into soft ringlets, and then into a little ponytail. Anna smiled. It had been a long time since she had seen herself look pretty. Her eyes had huge bags under them, though, and she gave that a shot of power too, which made them vanish instantly. Her tiredness followed suit.
Feeling suitably refreshed, Anna went downstairs. She no longer felt like she hadn’t slept in a month - in fact, it was the most awake she had ever felt on a school morning.
“Good morning,” said Matt, who was already seated at the kitchen table, reading the Guardian. Anna still had not got used to seeing him there each day, even though it was perfectly natural. After all, he did have a key.
She busied herself in a corner, pouring a bowl of cereal and setting it on the table to eat, then going off to search for a new carton of apple juice. It brought back memories of so many other mornings spent this way. Mornings when her parents were alive and she didn’t know what she really was. Mornings when she thought she was normal.
“Can I ask you something?” she said as she began to eat. Matt looked up, surprised.
“Go ahead,” he invited, and returned to the paper, but with half of his attention fixed on her.
“Was it your idea to make me go back to school?” she asked. He nodded, with a sheepish expression on his face. “I hate you,” she said.
Finishing her cereal, Anna took it over to the sink and rinsed out the bowl. She left the room briefly, cleaning her teeth and grabbing her shoes. Matt looked at her with mild confusion.
“What time does your school start?” he inquired, looking at the clock. Anna looked at it too. It was quarter past seven.
“Half eight,” she said. “Before you ask, I wouldn’t normally leave so early, but I’ve forgotten what times the buses come, and they’re so unreliable anyway.” She pulled on the black shoes that the school insisted on and picked up her bag.
“Can’t you teleport or something?” Matt sounded almost disbelieving. Maybe he really did believe that she could do anything. Anna found that she was somewhat scared by this thought.
“I don’t know - I’ve never tried.” She got up from her seat where she had sat to tie her shoes and concentrated. Her form appeared to shimmer and become almost fluid. A second later she stood at the other end of the kitchen, beaming and grinning at her success. Giddy with joy or the triumph, she flew back to the other end, remembering Aelvyn’s teaching about moving through the air. While Matt had been away, she’d tried to call her teacher back, but had had no response.
“Even if I hadn’t managed it, I can fly, anyway,” she mused, as she landed neatly in her chair with a laugh.
“Told you so,” said Matt quietly - so quietly that she almost did not hear.
“Yeah, yeah,” she responded. “In that case, I’ve got another hour or so. I need to use a computer - do you mind if I disappear off to do that?”
“No, no, not at all,” he replied, already busy with the Sudoku. She sighed, and departed for the computer.