“Oh my God,” I whispered as I realised that Talbot was out flying alone.
“What’s wrong?” Zoe asked, following my gaze. “What the hell is that?”
Talbot, what the hell are you doing? I thought, knowing he could hear me.
The shape in the sky dropped suddenly and landed in front of us. The massive black dragon stared at me accusingly.
“Go home,” I demanded. “Now!”
He exhaled sharply in my face and launched himself into the air. I glanced at Zoe who looked like she was about to faint. Her light blonde hair almost matched the colour of her face.
“Zoe...?” I said slowly.
“That was a dragon,” she murmured.
“Yeah.” It was pointless denying it.
“That was a dragon,” she repeated.
“His name’s Talbot. He’s my pet, of sorts. Zoe, you can’t tell anyone.” I grabbed her shoulders and shook her gently.
“No one would believe me anyway. There’s no point in saying something that no one will listen to.”
I dropped my arms.
She seemed to snap out of her little daze. “So, Evy, how does a girl come to have a pet dragon?”
“Um,” I said. I hadn’t expected that.”Well, I’m not human, I’m Death.”
“You?” she laughed.
“My father now but when I turn eighteen, it’ll be me,” I said defensively.
“Sorry, I didn’t mean to laugh. This is all a bit much for me.”
“That’s understandable, but you have to keep this to yourself. Don’t even tell Nat.”
“I won’t,” she promised. “And while we’re confessing, I have something to tell you. I’m not human either. I’m a Banshee.”
“So that’s why I like you,” I said, as if it explained everything – which, at the time, it did to me.
“What do you mean?” asked Zoe.
“I’ve always gone against tradition. Banshees are supposed to be our archenemies. So I think we might become best friends.”
She smiled. “And by the way, I don’t really mind you dating my brother.”
“We’ll see what happens,” I shrugged.
“Are you coming with us tonight?” she asked.
“I just realised I don’t actually have anything to wear.”
“That’s okay; you can borrow something of mine. We look about the same size.”
“Are you sure?”
“Positive,” she insisted. “Best friends, remember?”
I grinned and she laughed.
“You can come to mine to get ready if you want. As long as that’s okay with your Mum and Dad.”
“Mother will be delighted and it’s always best to go with her decision,” I told her.
“Same in my house. So yeah, we can walk to mine tonight. Nat’s going to Daniel’s so it’ll just be us and my dad.”
“Alright then. I should probably go and check if Lewin’s tried to beat Nat up. Whenever he tries that, it ends up being him on the floor.”
“I’ll go with you,” I said.
“Let’s go then.”
I followed her back inside, grateful to be out of the cold. She seemed to know exactly where she was going, I didn't. I occasionally recognised something but that wasn’t enough to help me if I got lost.