"Avery," she said, eyes flashing, "Avery, Avery."
I held the snake in my hands. "I need to take care of it. It's lonely."
"Animals belong in the outdoors, not in kindergarten."
"Then I belong in the outdoors, too!"
"Avery, if you continue this for one moment longer –"
"Don't worry," I whispered, almost to myself. "Flora will get you. Flora will get you."
She came a few minutes later, rage flickering on and off in her pale face. "What's all this?"
Miss Duncan glared. "Your sister brought a snake into a kindergarten classroom."
"What the bloody –"
"Flora!" I yelped. She jumped, and then swore.
"You little wretch," she muttered, turning.
I jumped forward. "You have to listen to me, Flora!"
"I've got to go back to class."
I pull her down, whisper in her ear. "Last...night...I..."
Her eyes widen as I continue.
"Fairies aren't real, Avery," she whispers softly when I finish.
"These ones are."
Flora's face flickers. Flora sees them too. Flora knows the secrets, hears their voices, plays their music and joins in their games.
"I have to do it. This is my last chance."
"You think this is the test they're giving you?" she says with concern.
"I know it is."
Flora knows. Flora understands. Flora walks me down the hall, snake in hand