"Help me!" cried Ashley from somewhere off in the distance, followed by maniacal laughter.
Henry inhaled slowly, trying to think clearly. The bloody wound in his side made it hard to move, but he gritted his teeth in pain and slowly stood-
"No!" Ashley put her hands of her hips, blue eyes flashing. "Why would I be in trouble?"
"Because the bad guy has you." Henry tried to explain to the five-year old. "And that means that I have to rescue you."
Ashley frowned deeply. "And why doesn't the bad guy have you?"
"Because I'm older, that's why."
"And how did you get hurt, anyway? Falling down the stairs."
Henry looked put-out. "No. What happened was that I-"
"I know!" Ashley's eyes suddenly sparkled. "There's a big ugly creature sneaking up on you! It was drawn by the scent of your blood!"
"Because I had just gotten into a fight with a T-rex and barely won!" Henry interjected.
"And now it's gaping jaws are drooling death-" Ashley's eyes widened in terror. She jumped on the couch and held her forefinger and thumb like a gun. "Run, Henry! Run! I'll blast its brains out!"
"Where did you hear that language?!"
Both Henry and Ashley froze like thieves surrounded by the police. The big guy stood in the parlour doorway, glaring down at the two of them.
Ashley quickly jumped down from the couch and hid behind Henry. "We were only playing a game."
"No we weren't. You were messing it up." Henry muttered.
"Ashley Magnus and Henry Foss." The Big Guy slowly approached.
Henry thought about running for it, but the only doorway in sight was behind the huge housecleaner/nanny/nurse/pretty much everything you can think of. He figured it was probably better to stay and talk things out; he might not get in so much trouble.
Ashley, on the other hand, was thinking of what chances she'd stand in a fight. She was thinking that she'd have a very good chance of knocking the Big Guy unconscious. After all, they play-fought quite often and she always won.
"You two are supposed to be in bed."
"But that's mom's rule." Ashley said, widening her eyes to make them look even bluer. The mermaid said blue eyes were hypnotic. Maybe Ashley could hypnotise the Big Guy...
Henry bowed his head, trying to look contrite. "I know. But I wasn't tired and then Ashley came to my room, and I thought that if we ran around the Sanctuary a few times that we'd be all tuckered out."
"Hey!" Ashley jumped away from Henry, a look of the upmost betrayal on her face. "You said that we were going to play a game!"
"Of course, playing a game while running around the Sanctuary would make it so much better, because then our fun would be done for the night." Henry was quick to add.
The Big Guy's face twitched and Henry was certain that Ashley's excessive noise had done them both in.
"All right, you two. It's time to get to bed now."
"But that's mom's rule. Mom's not here-"
"But I am." The Big Guy gave her a piercing glare, and gathered them both under each arm. "I don't want to hear any noise from either of you for the rest of the night."
He deposited them in their separate rooms, and walked down the hall chuckling and shaking his head. When he agreed to watch the two of them for a week, he had no idea what he's be getting himself into.
Meanwhile, as Henry tried obediently to go to sleep, his door opened. A small figure crept into his room and jumped on the bed.
"I guess we showed him what-for!" Ashley whispered excitedly. "But look! There's a giant cockroach coming after you! Quick, run Henry! I'll get a giant shoe!