What a way for the first night in his new room to begin, Lor thought to himself as the fog billowed from under his bed, strange tentacles flailing about and grabbing at his ankles.
“Mum? Mama?” he called, voice quaking. There was no response. Slowly he backed away from the bed, reaching behind him for the door handle. He needed help, and fast.
“Mama? There’s a monster under my bed and I’m scared.”
“It has tentacles and it keeps making strange noises.”
Lissa yawned and slid out of bed. “Don’t worry, sweetie, I know exactly what to do.”
Lorcán re-entered his room with every bit of bravado he could muster and confronted the monster.
“My mama is coming and she’s going to get you! Just you wait!”
The monster merely continued to slither menacingly. The door opened, and Lor turned his head, relieved. However…
“Mum? Where’s mama?”
“She’s getting cake. Apparently the monsters that live under beds on her planet are easily bribed with desserts, but do you know what?”
“I grew up on this planet, and I know just how to deal with this little monster.” Morgan brandished a spray bottle and advanced on the unsuspecting creature.”BACK, FIEND!” she cried, spraying the tentacles with the liquid inside.
The monster let out a hiss, and slid away. Lor could have sworn that he heard it mutter ‘wow, rude’ as it faded away and the fog cleared.
“SuperMum to the rescue!” Morgan said, and struck a pose.
The next day dawned bright and early, but Lorcán was still suffering from his adventure during the night. Growing up was scary!
“Good Morning. Did the monster stay away?”
“It did – that bottle really worked! What was in it anyway?”
“That, my boy, is a secret. It’s a special recipe, passed down from generation to generation. One day you, too, will learn it.”
“Will this happen every night?”
“It may do, but I’ve ordered something special that should keep it away for good.”
“It’s a magical lamp. It has the symbol of the bed-monster’s mortal enemy inscribed upon it. It won’t dare go near you anymore.”
“I still don’t see what was wrong with my cake idea, Momo.”
“It was a lovely idea, stargirl. Sadly the monsters here don’t appreciate baked goods as much as sixan ones do.”
“Don’t worry Mama, it isn’t coming back. Can I have the cake instead?”
Lissa smiled. “Maybe later”
Chess in the Centauri household was a battle of wits, strategy and risk-taking.
It was also a battle of cheaters. They’re both as bad as each other, Lissa thought as she watched her two favourite people from the dining table. She had a feeling that Morgan was just playing along when Lor did it, but her inner goofball had to give as good as she got.
“Mama! Mum’s sulking because I won again~”
“Am not” Morgan said, purposefully exaggerating her pout to get a laugh out of her son. She soon started giggling, though, which only increased when she spotted her wife. That had to be the most undignified face she’d ever seen.
“C’mon, Lor. It’s story time. You’ve beaten me enough for one morning, I think.”
“Lord of the Swings?”
“Lord of the Swings. This is the book that helped me get your mama, so let’s not tell her about it. She still thinks I made it up.”
Lor listened, spellbound. This was indeed a book of power. One book to rule them all, in fact. Morgan loved having such an attentive audience, but eventually the call for ‘just one more chapter’ became too much.
“Now, sweetheart, you don’t want to hear it all in one sitting. Sometimes the anticipation makes things better, and anyway my voice is beginning to go.”
“I can see why you got Mama! Did you refuse to tell her the rest of the story until she married you?”
“Lorcán Centauri! Do you really think I would use such an underhanded technique?”
When did he get so cheeky, she thought as she mock glared at her son. “Actually, she proposed to me. So there” she said, sticking her tongue out.
“Love, I believe the phrase is ‘If you keep pulling that face it will get stuck that way’. And Lor, have you finished your homework?”
“I’ve done most of it.”
“Well, go finish it off and then you can have that piece of cake you wanted.”
That was all the incentive that he needed, and he ran off to the table where his books were still spread out.
“By the way, love, how did you get rid of that monster last night?” Lissa asked. A monster that didn’t want cake was a completely alien concept to her.
“Magic spray bottle.”
“I see… and what was in this bottle?”
“Promise not to tell Lor?”
“It was just water. I mean, if you got sprayed in the face with water by a random person you’d get offended and leave too, right?”
“Actually, I’d probably think it was a local thing and go find my own spray bottle.”
“… I love you.”
“Love you, too”
Morgan walked over to the table to check on Lor, and Lissa turned back to her garden. Her plants were magnificent now, full of healthy leaves and fruit and herbs. There was one strange plant that she wasn’t quite sure what to make of, however. Watching it grow was certain to be a MOO-gical experience. Lissa giggled. Puns were far too much fun.
“How’s the maths going?”
“I’ve just got one more question and then… done!”
“I’ll go fetch the cake then. Well done, starboy.”
“Mum, are you really going to call me that?”
“Do you dislike it that much?”
“Then yes, I will. I won’t use it around your friends though. Deal?”
Lorcán sighed. “You promise?”
“Why do we even have this much cake still?”
“I still can’t believe you bought this, Momo.”
“Hey, I got promoted. If I can use the bonus to make you smile, then I’m going to do it, love. I know you’ve missed taking photos, but now that Lor is going to school you’ll have some time for your hobbies again. Plus, I was kind of hoping we could do some family pictures whilst everyone’s still around, you know?”
Lissa hugged her tight, she knew all too well. “Why wait, then. Let’s start now.”
“I see grandma! Should I get her for you?”
“That’d be great, Lor.”
“Mama! I’ve got her!”
“I have indeed been ‘got’. Now where’s this camera of yours? We’ve got to get my good side after all.”
“Mum, all of your sides are good.” Morgan said, hugging her. “We’ve just called the others, so we’ll start soon.”
“Just be careful, Dominic acts like he hates having his photo taken but you won’t be able to get him to stop posing once you start.”
Morgan turned to Lissa. “It’s true. He loves the camera.”
“And the camera loves me!”
Dominic had arrived, followed by Siobhan and Sergio. Clara and Summer hadn’t been able to make it, but Rashad was wearing his finest hat and ready to go.
It was photo time!
Everything is going really well down here. My garden looks amazing, Lor’s just started school and Morgan is back in the field. She really didn’t like being stuck behind a desk again, so it’s good to see her coming back from work with a smile.
Morgan bought this AMAZING camera, so I spent a day taking pictures. I think I got some pretty good shots. Lor keeps asking when he’ll get to visit Sixam, and I haven’t the heart to tell him that the shuttle broke down. Hopefully by the time he’s older we’ll have a new way to travel.
I miss you
p.s. It’s a good thing you got an email address when I left, isn’t it!