Steve looked in the mirror, and grimaced. He hated his hair in the morning; it took a comb, water and a ridiculous quantity of gel to mould it into something acceptable to the rest of Year 6. His mother used to help him, but now she worked. Every morning was the same: Steve got up when his mother called ‘Bye, love!’ and the front door banged. She had dressed, washed, cooked, kissed him awake and turned on the radio for him. And then he was alone. His breakfast was on the table; his lunch was on the microwave. His father had gone to work eight months before, and still hadn’t come home, but Mum wasn’t worried “He’ll be back. He promised”.
A movement in the mirror. A noise behind him. Steve swung round. The back of his neck felt cold, his ears were burning. He had seen something, just for a second. He picked up his deodorant, flew out of the door shouting ‘Ha!’ and pointed the spray at....no-one. He stood listening intently, breathing as silently as possible. Nothing. He looked at his feet and laughed quietly. “Stupid!”. He had always been terrified of intruders, but his father used to be there to protect him. Now he felt vulnerable. He looked at Dad’s toothbrush which was still sitting in its place.
Suddenly, a voice. “It was only me, don’t worry”. Steve jumped so high, he thought his heart had come out of his mouth. She was sitting on the edge of the bath, looking at him. Her purple eyes burned with a yellow light. “Close your mouth and follow me. We have things to do,” said......said who? Steve stared at the creature in front of him in his bathroom! She had broad shoulders, impossibly long, fluid legs, and scales, like a fish, on her arms and cheekbones. But what made her the strangest, most beautiful creature Steve had ever seen was her colour: turquoise, like tropical waters and mint ice-cream. And she was carrying a battle-axe.
‘Are you coming?’ she asked impatiently. ‘How can I argue with a huge, beautiful green woman with an axe?’ thought Steve and nodded weakly. The ‘woman’ swung round and jumped through the bathroom wall, as if it was a waterfall. As Steve stepped cautiously through the liquid tiles, he heard her voice ‘By the way, I’m your sister.’
|Illustration by Roberto Miranda|