“Okay, so what do you want to do?” I asked, glancing at the door. I didn’t think my mum would interrupt, but I couldn’t quite be sure. I scribbled a hasty note on a piece of scrap paper from my desk and tacked it to the outside of my bedroom door: “Girl time! Don’t disturb”. Then I left my iPod in it’s dock, playing through my playlist, so if she did come upstairs all she would hear was music.
“Okay,” Meena said decisively. “I know just the place we can go.”
She tugged open the sash window and leaned out dangerously far.
“Good, it’s not too far,” she said delightedly, zipping up her jacket. I could feel that the temperature had decreased outside, so I grabbed my own black jacket and pulled it on over the dark jeans and t-shirt I had changed into out of my uniform earlier.
When I turned back around, Meena was perched precariously on the outside windowsill, crouched like a cat. Then suddenly she was a cat, lithe and sleek and black, and with a flash of her startlingly electric blue eyes she leapt. I ran over and looked out and saw a denser patch of darkness just landing nimbly on the driveway roughly fifteen feet or so below.
“Not too far?” I said incredulously. Willow laughed beside me.
“Meena’s such a show off. I’ve only known her for about a month, since we had to meet to be briefed on our task - you know, looking af - helping you.”
She hopped up so that she was sitting on the sill, then ducked her head and swung her legs so that she was sitting on the outside.
“It’s nothing as scary or difficult as it might look.”
I looked at her sceptically.
“Okay, come on. You just jump. The air will move for you as it does for anyone with magic in their blood.”
With that, she shifted forward and dropped. I watched as her fall seemed to slow gracefully, enough for her to straighten her legs and land on her feet. Doubtfully, I clambered onto the sill just like they had done and nervously edged out. I closed my eyes, not trusting even myself, and pushed myself off. As I fell, I realised - how stupid did I have to be? To throw myself out of a window because a werewolf and a cat said it was safe. But as I fell, I also realised that the air wasn’t buffeting me. In fact, it was like it was guiding me. I opened my eyes and tried to orientate my body into a suitable position for me to land in, just in time for me to smack into the driveway.
I heard footsteps and a snicker.
“That was good for a first try,” Meena said as she helped me up, but she couldn’t keep the smile off her face. I scowled as I rubbed at my elbows and knees. I was going to have bruises tomorrow.
“Here we are,” Meena said, and turned with a smile as she stopped walking. I had followed them through downtown city streets, dark and free of cars, for about half an hour so far. Meena had been leading but after a few minutes Willow seemed to have realised where we were headed for. My legs were beginning to tire - Meena’s were a lot longer and she set a fast pace.
Now all I could see out here was the walls of dark industrial-sized buildings on either side of this little cobbled street.
“Now, we’re going to have fun,” she grinned. She held out her palm and trailed it along the wall on the left until it seemed to sink into the sooty brick. Then it glowed blue and pulsed, so bright it seemed to shine right through her hand, showing the bones. She pulled her hand away while it was still glowing, and then the light dimmed and spread and formed the outline then the shape of a door, coated with a luminous blue sheen. Then it vanished, and Meena bounced forwards again and seized a round handle that had appeared in the precise centre of the door.
She pulled it open and then music, laughter and chatting assailed my ears as it leaked out into the evening air. Meena gestured for us to follow and then slipped inside. Once I was over the threshold and got a good look inside, I froze in surprise.