It took so long to power up that Anna decided to give it a little boost. She placed her middle finger on the laptop’s keys and sent a quick shot of power through it. The computer hummed into life immediately. Score to me, she thought. Anna, 1, Computer, nil.
After an hour of solid typing Anna finally looked up. Matt was clattering around downstairs - probably making himself breakfast.
“I’m off to school!” she yelled, grabbing her bag from beside the bed, her lunch money from her desk, and her coat from the hook on the back of her door. Then she sat herself down, concentrating hard on the image of the school gate. If she arrived right in front of the form room … people might start to get a little bit suspicious.
The sensation of teleporting was odd. Anna felt that she was dissolving at the edges, almost as though she was losing her form.
I wonder if I could do that, she thought. Could I shape-shift if I tried? But that was a question for another time. After several seconds of a strange feeling of weightlessness, and she landed smoothly on the pavement outside the school.
Anna’s first action was to check that no one had seen her. One parent was staring open mouthed, and in case they had been a witness Anna quickly erased the last moment or two from their memory. The lady looked down at the car keys in her hand, completely confused as to how they got there, with no recollection of the past five minutes.
May have overdone that, Anna decided. Ah, well. She’ll live. Other students were arriving, and Anna glanced furtively at her watch. It was long gone twenty past - if she wanted to go to her locker, she’d have to hurry up.
One of her friends saw her and called out. It wasn’t Callie or Kathryn, because Callie went to another school and Kathryn had an early-morning club on Wednesday. Anna looked around, and pinpointed the speaker to be Natalie.
“Anna!” she called, making a bee-line for her long absent friend. Anna smiled and waved.
Normal, she told herself. Act normal. Your parents have not just been murdered, you aren’t a fairy and you haven’t just had a fight with creatures from out of space. It was all just a dream. But it was not enough. She had to focus hard not to let something slip.
“Hi, Tally!” she said cheerfully, turning on her fake smile. “How are you?”
“Where have you been, Anna?” Tally demanded. “You haven’t been in for ages!” Anna thought fast. It must have been three weeks or more since she had last shown her face in school - this would need a good explanation.