PrologueThe streamers from Annie's birthday party were still hanging from the ceiling, and the cake was still sitting unassumingly on the broken table--well, half of it, anyway. The peacock-stained glass of the door was on fire--I couldn't remember, though, at the moment, whether glass was supposed to burn in this dimension--and the six- and seven-year old partygoers were strung up from the ceiling with the hanging streamers, screaming. I was fairly sure they were all still alive, thank goodness. And Fenella--she was likely somewhere far off in space by now, rocketing past Mars on her way to who-knows-where, still asking her captor when he was going to cut the cake with that long knife. I brushed cake crumbs off of my forehead, where a large slice had been thrown in the chaos, and found blood as well--a wound inflicted by high-velocity red velvet soaring through the dining room. I ran my hand down my face and found blood trickling from the corner of my lip as well.
"Let--me--down!" screeched the birthday girl, her satiny pink dress torn, and I looked up at her, unconcerned.
"You're safer up there, at least until I know that space trader is gone." I called up, ignoring her screamed insults. A plastic necklace hit my back as I walked away, but I ignored it.
"I just saved your life, and this is the thanks I get!" I muttered to myself. Not like I ever expected any. I tugged out the sonic screwdriver from my inside pocket and made a wide arc in the room with it. It detected nothing unusual, but then again, it had been wrong before.
Just as I was pushing it back into my inner pocket, the doorbell rang. "Now I'm in trouble." I groaned, and rushed to the door. I let my fingers dance around the silvery keyhole for a nervous moment. I peered through the peephole, then drew back when I saw at least ten raging parents leering back at me.
I sighed, and opened the door, bracing myself for impact.
As soon as the sound barrier was broken, I was overwhelmed with shouts and screams. Fortunately, Mr. Haldie bellowed for silence just as I was about to be carried away and most likely murdered by the mob of angry parents.
"Elaenor--Explain!" He yelled to who he thought was his daughter's gentle supervisor. "Explain!" I reflected that he sounded very much like a greatly incensed Dalek.
"Okay, okay," I said, holding up my hands. "First off, my name's not Elaenor. I won't tell you what it is, because it would endanger all of you too much." I ran my hands through my short dark hair, and the next words came tumbling out unevenly, like an anti-gravity rockslide. "I'm a time lady, I have two hearts, I come from outer space and I just accidentally blew up your house." I was looking straight at Mr. Fenric as I said this. The poor man had only gone outside to water the petunias and now one of his guests had been abducted and the third floor of his house had been blown clear across the Atlantic.
Everyone stared at me. I twisted my hands awkwardly.
"You didn't really need that third story, did you?" I asked in a small voice. I could've sworn Mr. Fenric growled.
"But where is Fenella, Elae--I mean, whoever-the-hell-you-are? You were supposed to look after her!" Mr. Haldie looked to be almost in tears.
"Ah yes, about that..." my hand began slowly creeping their way down to my not-a-wristwatch. I kept talking as I went to keep their attention to my face.
"I did manage to save her life--" for some reason, this made the other parents, still dumbstruck, look even more horrified. Maybe they hated her as much as I did. "--but I did that by convincing the space trader she was the most valuable piece of humankind since Queen Nefertiti. Don't worry, I'm sure she'll be well cared for." I added, maturely I thought.
Mr. Haldie screamed a very unmanly scream.
And just as the angry mob was about to advance, just as the birthday girl freed herself (somehow) from the ceiling, just as every single well-cared-for petunia in the lawn burst into sudden violet flames, a tiny, reassuring voice from my not-a-wristwatch said, "Teleportation commencing. Don't panic." and I disappeared without a trace.