Sitting on a roof in the middle of winter was very cold when you were in your pyjamas.

Riley looked down into her backyard, which looked like a neat postage stamp divided into lawn and garden edges. The lights on the fire truck bounced off the fence as her mum shouted at her. Her dad was shouting at her, too. Even the firefighter was shouting at her. Everyone wanted her to get down from the roof, but she was going to catch the Pegasus that had been thundering across it every morning for a week.

Her mum said it was possums, but Riley knew better. Whenever she heard it land, with a loud ker-thump and a rattle of roof tiles, she’d leap out of bed and race to her window, pushing it open and sticking her head out just in time to catch a glimpse of large wings against the early morning sky as a rush of downward air flattened her curls. And once she had thrown some apples up onto the roof when no-one was looking, and the next morning she’d woken to find a jar sitting on her desk, on top of her homework. The jar had a rainbow in it. When Riley opened the jar, the rainbow wrapped itself around her wrist, like a bracelet, and her mum had asked, ‘Where did you get that pretty bracelet from, Riley?’ as they ate breakfast.

‘The Pegasus gave it to me,’ she replied, and her mum had shared a look with her dad that had a smile in it, so at school that day when her friends wanted to know where her bracelet had come from, she lied and said it was a present from a relative in Nepal, because it sounded clever.

Now she had a whole bucket of apples, fresh from the crisper. The bucket handle was cold in her hands, but she held it tight as the firefighter began to manoeuvre a big ladder against the side of the house, near her dad’s potted tomatoes.

Her mum stopped shouting at her for a bit to apologise to her neighbour, who was standing on his veranda in a dressing gown, his tufts of grey hair sticking up at strange angles. Their neighbour was doctor, but he didn’t look like a doctor when he was in his dressing gown. He just looked like a sleepy old man that wanted to go to bed and pull his pillow over his head.

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