Anna and Matt Duignan had been married for three years. They had one child: a daughter, just two months old. At first, Anna had been apprehensive.
“What will she be like when she’s born?” she had said to Matt. “I mean, will she have wings, or what?” Because with a Telcontar and a half-fairy, half-human for parents, who knew what little Myfanwy would become. But so far her anatomy was normal and human, and she showed no signs of special powers. Her parents breathed a sigh of relief.
Spook of Night, or Spook de Nuit, as she had come to be known, had long since moved out of Anna’s house. Though she had enjoyed being Anna’s house-mate, and the two of them got on well, she knew it would be awkward now that Matt lived there too. She went to live on her own planet, Protagonize, with her friend Delorfinde. They lived in a house that they named, The Hideout. But that is another story, and a long one.
The doorbell rang. Having got fed up of dramatic knocks at the much-abused front door, Anna had installed a musical doorbell, which only succeeded in annoying Matt so much that he threatened to smash it on a regular basis.
“Shall I go?” Anna asked him, as it rang during their breakfast one morning. Myfanwy was still at a milk stage, so Anna was feeding her, but Matt seemed engrossed in his newspaper. He concentrated for a moment, having finally learnt the skill of detecting the presence of a mind. Occasionally he managed to read Anna’s, but that was probably just because he knew her so well.
“No, I think I’d better,” he said, his expression surprised. “These visitors … Well, I’d better go.” He got up, tousled Myfanwy’s hair and went to the door. Anna heard low voices talking, although she could not make out the words. She picked up her infant daughter, going out into the corridor.
In front of her stood a man and a woman. The man was tall, with fair hair and green eyes. His ears were slightly on the pointy side, but apart from that he appeared human, except from the unusual tattoo-like pattern that covered one side of his face, and appeared to move. He was tall and thin, with pale skin.
In contrast, the woman had extremely dark hair; almost black. It was very similar to the texture of Anna’s own, and her eyes were exactly the same: a dark, chocolaty brown. But when the woman blinked, tears fell, and although neither Anna nor Myfanwy knew why she was crying, they understood it wasn’t out of sadness. Her eyes turned amber as the salty tears touched them, just as Anna’s did. She was just as tall as the man beside her, but her skin was tanned, not pale.
“Anna,” they said, and then hesitated.
“That is what they call you, isn’t it?” the woman confirmed. Anna nodded once, ever so slightly. “Good. It’d be awful if we got the name wrong. But after all, it has been twenty two years…”
“Who are you?” said Anna, holding her daughter close.
“Anna, we’re your parents,” they said, smiling at her. “We hoped you would recognise us, but obviously not.”
"You're my parents?" said Anna in disbelief. She looked at Matt to see if it was true, but he looked away. That was how she knew that he did know the truth.
"Matt?" she whispered. "Are they?" His nod was almost imperceptible, but Anna felt his mind agreeing. Myfanwy screwed up her face, disliking how tightly Anna was holding her. "Sorry, darling," her mother whispered, and loosened her hold.
"Of course," said the man. "My name is Beriadan, and this is Erulissë, your mother.” Anna gazed at them in amazement.
“That’s Anna in the old language of the fairy folk,” her mother added. “We asked the humans to name you after me.” Myfanwy started to cry. She did not like these strangers, because they seemed different from her parents, though she couldn’t place this feeling.
“Is this your daughter?” said Beriadan, reaching out to take the baby. Anna held her close, unwilling to relinquish the child. “I suppose, then, that she is our granddaughter.”
“I guess so,” said Matt, laughing at the expression on Erulissë’s face.
“I’m too young to be a grandmother!” she said. She glanced in a mirror to check that her face was as young and perfect as it had always been.
“I’m a grandfather,” Beriadan reminded her, and continued to stretch out his arms to Anna, wanting to hold his little granddaughter. “Please?” he said entreatingly.