"Did you hear what she said?" someone whispered. That was all they could say before the curse took effect, but it was enough to open a path down the centre of the queue so that Anna and Kathryn could skip to the front. The canteen staff looked puzzled, but no one was objecting, so they left the girls alone to savour the experience. It was unlikely to happen again, once the shock of Anna's revelation had worn off.
Anna took a bread roll from the tray, moving over to the till to pay. Her money tingled with the electricity still running through her fingers after her demonstration in the assembly, and the checkout lady jumped as it touched her hand.
"Gave me a static shock!" she exclaimed, but didn't appear suspicious. Anna grinned to Kathryn, suddenly just a mischievous schoolgirl.
They made their way outside, ignoring the open mouths and staring faces of their year group. Most of the younger years were wondering what on earth was going on. The others either didn't notice or didn't care. Anna sort of preferred that type.
The bitter wind made Kathryn shiver. Although Anna had 'under skin heating' she still remembered break times spent shivering at the fierce cold, and she took pity on her friend.
"Come here," she said, and Kathryn came over slightly nervously. She didn't know what it was that Anna was going to do: she had never seen this particular skill in action. Anna placed her hands on her friend, sending the fire through Kat's veins. Kathryn jumped, although it wasn't an unpleasant sensation.
"How do you do that?" she gasped, in wonderment. Anna grinned.
"Just a little bit of fairy fire," she said, and laughed. "It's nothing special, honest." It was evident that Kathryn didn't believe her, but Anna wasn't bothered about that. She led the way to their lockers, and started to search for her books.
"Anna, it's Drama," said Kathryn, looking at her with a worried expression. "We don't NEED any books. Are you sure you're okay?" Like Tally, she remembered Anna as being one with a meticulous memory for their timetable.
"Fine, fine," said Anna, closing the metal door again. "Of course I am. I mean, I'm not. Ugh, this is so confusing!" She pushed open the heavy white doors that lead to the courtyard / playground outside, and made her way over to where two of her friends were playing patball.
Patball was a game possibly unique to the schools in that area. It had started at the boys' school which was twinned with Anna's own, but had spread over to the girls' soon enough. The only equipment needed was a tennis ball, which was thrown against a wall so that it bounced off, and had to be hit back by someone else. The participants would take turns to hit it, and they scored points in some way. Anna didn't really understand it, but she knew that it was a good way to waste time during lunch break.
"Have you eaten already?" they said in surprise, pretending that Anna was just the girl she had been a month ago. Ellie and Bella always had packed lunch, so they would have finished eating by now, but Kathryn and Anna almost always bought a hot lunch.
"That's a good point," said Anna. "Kat, have you eaten?"
"I ate at break," her friend said, nodding. Anna turned back to Bella and Ellie, satisfied. She didn't need to eat much, because her powers supplemented her body's needs.
"Yup," she told them. "How are you, anyway?" Bella smiled.
"Yeah, I'm fine," she said. "My hamster died, but that's nothing, really. I mean, compared to what you..." Anna put her hand on Bella's arm.
"Poor you," she said. "You really loved your hamster, didn't you?" It didn't matter what she said - she was only trying to move the conversation away from her parents.
“Still,” began Bella, but stopped at Kathryn’s frantic hand gestures. “Never mind.”
“So, was what you said true?” Ellie asked. She was desperate to know. Anna knew she’d get a lot of this over the next few days, and resolved not to come in. When she came back next week, she reasoned, the fuss would have died down a bit.
“Yes, every word of it.” A bell rang. “Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got a class to go to.” Anna led Kathryn away, fed up of questions about her story. Well, only one person had asked her outright, but she could hear the many other queries in the minds of those around her. It was a pain, sometimes, to be able to read minds.