It was all normal, or, rather, as normal as it ever got in my house. A nearly normal Sunday night– or, theoretically, Monday morning. I landed in the back garden and led Talbot to his massive cage. I was grateful that the wind let my long black hair fall down my back in waves again. I locked the cage door and gave him a kiss.
“Good night, Talbot.” I walked away from his cage.
As I was walking to the back door, it shot open. No-one on the other side of course, as usual. I walked through the open door and stopped. I turned around and thanked the door, which, in reply, swung shut solemnly. Don’t you just love alliteration?
I turned around and there stood my dad. He seems absolutely normal until you ask his name—to which he’d reply, “Death”. And then people would look at him very strangely and hand a card with an address for some mental institution printed on it.
“Hello, Evy,” said dad, “how is the weather tonight?”
“Uh, it’s absolutely fine, dad.” He would ask me this every single time I got back.
“There was a name on the list which I appear to be late for,” he said, checking his watch.
“Are you taking Angelina?” Angelina is Dad’s dragon.
“Yes. Tell your mother I’ll be back in a little while,” he said.
I nodded and walked to the living room. There was a ferocious roar and then what seemed like a mini earthquake as Angelina took off.
“Hello, mother,” I said, sitting down next to her on the sofa.
“Oh, hello, love. Has your father gone out again?” she replied.
“Yes mother.” As if she really needed an answer.
“He works too hard, you know.” It wasn’t a question, merely a statement.
“Yes mother, I do know. And one day, it shall be my job.”
“And that’s the only thing that bothers me about the future,” she said while getting up and looking out of the big bay window at the front. “It’s a bad night to be out. Too many things of Evil.”"Father's out there right now," I pointed out.
“I didn’t mean it like that.”
“I know you didn’t mother. I believe it is called sarcasm. The humans do it.”
“That would explain it then.” She always says this whenever I say something that humans say. What it explains, I don’t know.
Mother went out into the kitchen. Five minutes later, she came back with two cups. She put them on the coffee table even though the cups most likely contained tea. So does that mean that it’s now a tea table? Anyway, moving on, she sat on the sofa after she put the teacups down.
“I have something to tell you,” she said. Uh oh, that’s why she brought tea. She only makes tea when she’s going to tell me something that I probably won’t like. She makes it so that she knows what I’m thinking. She reads the tea leaves. I don’t see how it does anything though. They’re just leaves.
“Yes, mother?” I asked, now worried.
“Well, I think that you spend too much time with that stupid dragon.” You could hear Talbot growling, even from here.
“You’re probably right, but Talbot needs someone to look after him during the day, when he’s not flying. And you know that he hates being called stupid,” I replied. “And anyway, how are you going to stop me, witch?”
“I didn't want it to have to come to this, but I’ve decided to send you to school, to be with children your own age,” she said calmly, not minding being called a witch. Mainly because she was one.
“School.” It was at this point that she picked the cup up. “Put. The. Cup. Down.”
“Why should I?” she asked, doing so anyway.
“Because I am Death,” I answered, challenging her.
“I know, love. That’s what your father said when I told him the idea. But it is anything but an idea now. You are going to school in about four hours. It starts at nine o’clock.”
I simply sat there staring at her. I stood up and vanished. I was still in the room, just invisible. My mother sighed, I closed my eyes and Vanished (another version of teleportation. Capital letter intended). I didn’t know where I wanted to go, so I just willed myself to turn up wherever I truly wanted to be.
When I opened my eyes, I didn’t know where I was. Then I realized. I was in the graveyard. I walked forward a few metres and sat down on the grass. Where I walked, the grass died. Where I sat, it shrivelled and decomposed.
Spirits of the dead, I thought, it is I who collected you. I command you to appear before me. I don’t know where the words came from, but they worked; spirits were now floating all around me. It wasn’t really me who collected them; it was my father and his mother before him. And then her father and his mother and so on. You get the picture.
HELLO, THE MIGHTY DEAD ONE, they all said in unison
“Uh, yeah, whatever. Anyway, hi. I’ve come to ask for your advice. You see, the thing is, my mother’s decided to send me to school and my dad isn’t doing anything about it and I don’t know what to do.”
BUT THE DEAD CANNOT ATTEND SCHOOL. WHAT IS YOUR MOTHER?
“She’s a witch.”
A hiss went around the crowd of ghosts.
THEN THIS DOES NOT SURPRISE US. SHE IS A WITCH, THEY INTERFERE.
I sighed. They made their decision; they weren’t going to do anything at all. Once the dead have decided, it’s hard to sway them.
“And then, with that, I banish you from this world and command you to return to the next,” I said. They all evaporated into smoke.
Oh well, I thought, I tried. I Vanished and reappeared next to Talbot. He was lying on his side in the middle of his cage. He immediately opened his eyes, staring at me. I sat with my back to his abdomen, closed my eyes and instantly started rambling about all my problems. Occasionally he would grunt or whine, as if listening. And for about three hours, I sat there, chattering away to Talbot, unable to sleep, as usual. Reason being that I am dead and Death itself, I don’t sleep. Or eat. Or drink. Or anything really. What did I actually do with my time?!