Anna awoke, drenched in sweat and screaming. Spook was shaking her, trying to pull her out of the nightmare that was haunting her. It was mid morning: the light coming through the gap in her curtains made that evident.
“Another nightmare?” Spook guessed. Anna nodded. Ever since the fight had ended and Matt had left, she had been troubled by extraordinarily vivid dreams. Most of the time they brought back memories of her past, but just occasionally she was sure they were showing her the future.
Tonight, for example, it had started how it always did. The Celryn, as usual. She saw again what she had hoped never to recall – the sight of their demonic bodies and the evil that they brought with them like a disease. She had watched, in her dream, her parents being murdered, like an endless re-run of the News on TV. She watched the fight where they had been aided by some mysterious entity. But that part wasn’t too bad.
The dream, or nightmare, had ended very different to normal. She had seen an image of herself, eerily displayed against a swirling dark background of stars and nebulae. She was standing with Matt, and they were happy.
That’s impossible, she had thought. Matt disappeared – no one knows where he is. The image had vanished with a flash of poison green – a Celryn’s grinning face was visible for only a second before Spook woke Anna. That was what had made her scream.
“I’m sorry you had to seem me like this,” Anna said, as she always did. Spook ignored her, as she always did. Spook helped Anna through her nightmares each night in return for the kindness Anna had shown by giving her a home. This unspoken agreement was understood by both of the girls, though they never spoke of it.
“You need some food,” said Spook instead. “Just look at you! White as a sheet, you are.” Anna laughed.
I’m sure that if I lived alone, I would have gone mad long ago. Thank God Spook’s here, thought Anna. But maybe if she was still alone, Matt would come back. She would never admit it to anyone, but Anna missed him more than she could bear. Every day that he was absent widened the gaping wound inside her. It was as though, when he left, he had taken a part of her soul with him.
“Anna? Can you hear me?” said Spook, waving her hand in front of Anna’s face, trying to attract her attention.
“What? Sorry, I was miles away.” Anna forced herself to focus on the present, pushing the image of Matt out of her mind.
“I was saying that we’ve got no food. I know you’re probably low on energy, but we need to eat, and I wouldn’t ask unless it was necessary …” Spook’s voice was awkward. She found it hard to talk about things like food, and money, because she felt that she used too much of Anna’s power like that.
“Don’t worry about it, Spooky, honest,” said Anna. She always used that nickname when she was trying to cheer her house-mate up. It usually worked, too. With a short burst of orange light she conjured a full English breakfast, and they tucked in happily. The food tasted perfectly ordinary, despite having been made purely by magic.
“What would we do about food if you didn’t do that?” said Spook. She had often wondered this over the past three weeks, but had never said anything before.
Anna was silent. She was thinking about the last time she saw Matt.