Their faces told the whole story right there and then.
‘My mother was one of the eight. Wasn’t she?’
‘Yes.’ Her father held her eyes in his with his serious face.
‘So, what am I then? A Merry-be-got from May-day orgies, or am I mixing up my pagans with my faerie?’
‘Stop it, Anna. Don’t be crude,’ her mother said.
‘What do you expect? You come out with this story of danger and faerie adventure, tossing all kinds of medical mystery into the plot… this is the 21st century for God’s sake. I’m going crazy here – maybe I’m dreaming.’
‘This is no dream,’ her mother said. ‘I wish it was.’
‘You’re not doing so well on the story-telling are you? I keep having to work out the elements by myself. When I was little you had no problem at all in the creation of stories – you’ve been lying and creating all these years.’
‘No, it wasn’t like that, honey.’ Her father reached across to touch her and Anna jumped.
‘You’re not my father.’
‘I’m your dad,’ he said, ‘and always will be. Nothing can cancel that out.’ He sat back and took deep breaths, his big body growing huge in front of her – like a genie.
‘But am I normal?’ she asked. ‘How was I conceived and born? Was it done all at once like in an Anne Rice novel? No scratch that; I know I’m not a Taltos.’ She laughed quietly to herself.
It was getting dark outside but no one had switched on the kitchen light and they sat in the gloom with mugs of tea in front of them and a plate of iced gingerbread.
‘How did you get me? I want to know every detail. Did you know my mother?’
They didn’t look at each other. Anna searched their eyes and watched their hands, which had come together and suddenly everything in the room softened. She became aware of the music in the background; the voice inserted itself between them, some old guy but she knew the song and the words echoed in her head. Everybody hurts.
‘She was my sister,’ her mother whispered, tears slipping down her cheeks.