On the morning of her nineteenth birthday, Anna O’Sullivan awoke to see a familiar face. It was the face of her friend and house mate, Spook of Night, whose real name had never been revealed. That was a custom on her planet, apparently.
“Not a single nightmare,” whispered Anna, in shock. For the past four and a half years, every night had held a nightmare. This night she had merely dreamed.
“And it’s your birthday!” Spook exclaimed, lobbing a small package at Anna. It was wrapped in bright orange paper; the ribbons were green.
Tic Tacs, whispered Anna’s subconscious as she glanced at it. Or the Irish Flag, for that matter. She untied the ribbon, wishing that her friend would not make quite such a big deal out of birthdays. Anna had one every year, after all.
“Don’t fairies come of age at nineteen?” asked Spook, as Anna finally managed to undo the knotted ribbon, and started to tear the paper off her gift.
“Yes,” said Anna, though she had temporarily forgotten that. Spook beamed.
The orange paper fell to the floor. Anna held the heavy, leather bound book in her hands with a strangely thoughtful expression on her face. It was a rich brown in colour, silver writing embossed in the centre, but it was a script that Anna didn’t know. She briefly considered dipping into Spook’s mind to find out, but decided against it. Opening the cover, she saw pages and pages of photos, with neat caption, explanations, and rounded handwriting telling the stories behind the pictures.
“You made this?” she asked Spook, a lump in her throat. For Anna had just caught sight of the last photo in the book. It was herself, standing in that very room, with Matt beside her, his muscular arm around her shoulders.
“Delorfinde helped,” Spook said fairly. “She put it all together for me.” Anna nodded, and was about to speak when a knock at the door stole the words from her mouth.
She leapt to her feet, knowing immediately who it was. She had been waiting for that knock for five long years, and she wasn’t about to delay opening the front door to the long awaited visitor.
“Matt?” she said, opening the door. She could hardly dare to believe that he was back, especially on this day, of all days. It seemed to take so long to swing open, and she shoved it impatiently, desperate to see his face.
“Hello, Anna. Did you miss me?” His voice was exactly the same.
Yes, it was Matt. His hair was tangled and unwashed; his clothes covered in muck and blood. His golden-green eyes were still the same, though. A scar ran from his ear to his shoulder, a white line rimmed with red that would be a perpetual reminded of the knife that had cause it. But in those eyes - the eyes that had stayed the same through the fights - burned the old fire: the personality that had made Anna love him despite his inhuman anatomy and his bloody, murderous past. It was the personality that had held her under his spell, waiting and believing, for the almost five years.