As we strolled back home a shower of stars swept across the darkness. A blood red moon rose from the horizon and hovered over Nolavia like a fiery sentinel. Davalast gripped my hand tighter and we ran into the town square. Everyone was outdoors staring in wonder at the sky.
“This isn’t good” Muttered Davalast as we joined the crowd.
“It’s great. Maybe Mundanim is tired of keeping us in the dark.” Said Assennav. He shook his head.
“You don’t understand. It is 11.30 in the morning. If he had revealed the sun I wouldn’t be so worried. How has he managed to switch them? Anaira said he was only obscuring them but now I’m not so sure.” I squeezed his hand reassuringly.
“Perhaps we are mistaken. It’s been so long…” Davalast interrupted.
“No I’ve kept a constant record. There is no mistake.” If what Davalast said was true then it was worrying. Could Mundanim really switch night and day? I looked around for Anaira but couldn’t see her anywhere. I felt a bit disorientated too. I could hardly believe it was only 11.30am when so much had happened in so little time. I needed to speak to Ruatnac and tell him of my conversation with my father but first I would feel a lot safe knowing Anaira’s whereabouts. Nobody seemed to know or care where she was. They were all mesmerised by the moon’s welcome presence and turned away from Davalast’s bad-omen speech too. The constant darkness had taken its toll and they wanted to believe it was over. I was longing to believe as well but I knew too much to allow myself that delusion.
I left the crowd and walked into my house startled when something flashed across my vision and disappeared. Was it the illusive Silky? I sniffed the air and smelt the distinctive sulphuric smell of a grosslin. I shivered with revulsion. Grosslins are disgusting creatures that lurk about in alleyways eating decaying matter. Having one in the house was sickening. I hated to admit it but I’ve been terrified of them ever since one got into my crib when I was a toddler. I was loath to attempt catching the thing.
“You’re back?” Anaira said coldly crossing the room towards me.
“Oh hello Anaira I was looking for you.” I said ignoring her tone. “Did you see that revolting grosslin? It scuttled under the sofa. Help me get it out of the house.” Anaira pointed her finger at the couch.
“Eradicate!” She said and the couch leapt aside and the grosslin inflated like a balloon and burst, splattering against the side of the retreating sofa. I looked up at Anaira in horror. The couch shook itself and bits of grosslin flew against the wall.
“Stop!” I yelled. “Clean up this minute.” A cloth and dustpan sailed out of the cupboard and wiped and cleaned until there were no more signs of carnage.
“You said get rid of it.” Anaira said with a smile. I shook my head and walked down to my laboratory.
“Where have you been?” She said complaint in her husky voice. I ignored her question.
“What do you make of this new turn of events?” I said lighting numerous candles with an irritated flick of my wrist.
“Mundanim raising the bar as usual.” She said. “You will struggle to bring him down.” Her dismissive attitude annoyed me. I’ve been bending over backwards to see things from her side but she did nothing to make it possible.
“I see you’ve dropped the ‘we’ already Anaira. Does this mean you are no longer our ally?” I was angry and wanted to lash out at her. I restrained myself but could not stop the violet sparks escaping from my eyes. They looked like fireflies briefly before fading. Anaira couldn’t help but notice.
“I’ve upset you? I am sorry I must have misunderstood. I thought you wanted the grosslin gone…?”
“It has nothing to do with the grosslin and you know it. Are you working with Mundanim?” We glared at each other for moments. The violet sparks circled my head again popping like soap bubbles. I hated losing control but Anaira was pushing all my buttons. She finally broke away from my gaze and flopped down on the sofa.
“You know I’d never do that? You don’t include me in anything. You go off with Davalast and I’m left here all alone most of the time. I keep hoping you will notice me but you never do. “ Her eyes shimmered in the candlelight. I sat down next to her and she turned to face me. “I need you to want me.” She said flinging her arms around my neck and burst into noisy sobs.
A series of sharp explosions came from outside and we ran up the stairs in time to see the moon explode with a bang that rattled the windows and shook the walls. Sparks flew across the sky once more before we were plunged into darkness. A theatrical laugh reminiscent of the wicked witch of the west rang out ricocheting off the buildings. Mundanim was definitely upping the ante and it seemed he was attempting a sense of humour, albeit it maniacal.