‘You’ll be fine,’ said Mrs Crow.
‘Fine? Fine? I haven’t even been out of Bloxwich,’ said Joe. His heart was beating hard in his chest. Sweat was pooling in the small of his back. Please, please, he thought, let me wake up. Let me wake up!
‘Are you sure about this?’ asked Morana. ‘He doesn’t look too well -‘
‘He’s all we’ve got,’ said Mr Crow, with a shrug. Mrs Crow gave her husband a sharp kick under the table.
‘I’ll go with him,’ said Lucifer.
‘And me,’ said Marcus, ‘I am the War Horseman. And I do know my way around the Under-‘
Mrs Crwo shot out of her seat waving her arms around maniacally. ‘No, no, no!’
‘DON’T. BE. STUPID! She knows who you are you moron.’
‘Well,’ said Marcus, his face like thunder, ‘I’ve never -‘
‘Okay, okay,’ said Morana, her hands spread in supplication, ‘let’s all take it down a notch. Let’s all calm down -‘
‘When, in the whole history of calming down, has anyone ever calmed down by being told to calm down?’ asked Mrs Crow. At that moment, Joe couldn’t decide if he hated her or admired her because she did have a point.
Morana sighed heavily. She closed her eyes and rubbed the bridge of her nose.
‘She has a point you know,’ said Febris, moving her mask aside to speak.
‘Okayyy. Who’s in favour of sending Joe down into the underworld?’
‘Just fucking do it and let let me get on with getting my scythe back,’ snapped Mrs Crow.
Everyone except Joe raised their hands.
‘That’s eleven for. Okay, motion -‘
‘Do I not get a say?’ Joe could feel his insides shaking. This was so typical of any adult that he’d ever met. They never fucking asked. Always telling. Always moaning at him. Always yelling.
‘What?’ asked Mrs Crow. ‘You want to go back to your miserable existence? Go on then, Joe.’ She pointed at the door. ‘There’s the door. Use it.’
‘Corvina!’ Morana slapped her hands on the desk. ‘Stop!’
‘Go on Joe, run back to the stepdad that hates your guts. And your mother who wishes you’d never been born.’
‘CORVINA!’ Morana jumped up. Her chair fell backwards and hit the floor with a thud.
‘So? What are you waiting for Joe? Go on. Leave. Leave like you always do.’
The anger was boiling inside him. He could feel it burning in his chest.
‘I’ll do it,’ he said.