Inspired by a line from one of Chocolate and Dramas fics.
Helen sipped a cup of tea whilst reading the morning newspaper, 12 year old Henry flicked through a comic book and a bored 6 year old Ashley flicked cornflakes at Henry across the table.
"Ashley, stop playing with your food and leave Henry alone," said Helen, not looking up from her newspaper.
"I don't like cornflakes," moaned Ashley, for what seemed the millionth time that morning, "I want Lucky Charms!" she demanded.
"There weren't any left in the store, they had all sold out," said Helen. That wasn't strictly true. Young children and Lucky Charms did not mix and Helen was sure the fixation Ashley and Henry had on the sugary, so called cereal, was not healthy.
"I don't like cornflakes," she grumbled, but carried on eating under her mother's forceful stare. When her mother had turned her attention back to her newspaper she stopped eating.
"Can I have the sugar please Henry?" asked Ashley, as sweetly and politely as possible so as to get in under her mothers radar.
The paper hit the table again.
"You've already got sugar on them Ashley."
"It's come off. Look, the milk washed it off," she insisted, tilting her bowl and spilling milk over the table.
Her mother just looked at her so she put her head down and carried on munching.
"Hey Ashley," said Henry, trying to help Helen by distracting the little monster from the unsatisfactory details of her breakfast. "Did you see the guy on the news who got tasered by the police? They shot him with a gun full of electricity. You could see the electric running down the wires and he went, 'ughguhguhguhguhguhguhg.'" Henry re-enacted the effects of tasering for his rapt audience.
"I saw one that was cooler," said Ashley, determined to outdo Henry's tasering. "I saw a man and he disappeared in blue smoke, poof."
Helen froze behind her paper. Trying not to show her alarm she slowly lowered the newspaper to the table and listened carefully to her small daughter's tale. Ashley noticed her and sat up straight, determined to impress her mother with her story as well.
"It was when we were at the beach and you were looking at the fish washed up on the rocks," explained Ashley, feeling important.
"It was a whale, not a fish," pointed out Henry. Ashley scowled at him for interrupting her story.
"Me and Henry were playing war on the sand hills."
"Sand dunes," corrected Henry.
"Shut up Henry, who's telling the story? And Henry was hiding and I had to find him and kill him and there was a man on the cliff and you know what?" She paused for dramatic effect. "He didn't have any hair!" She and Henry burst out giggling.
Helen held her breath.
"What happened next Ashley?" she asked.
The little girl stopped laughing and thought.
"Um, he was on top of the cliff just standing there and then there was this blue light and... POOF!" she shouted, making Helen and Henry jump.
"People don't go poof," said Henry, sceptically.
"He did," insisted Ashley, indignant that he didn't believe her story. "He disappeared."
Helen folded her newspaper, her heart racing. Was this one of Ashley's wild stories or did it really happen?
"Was there really a man Ashley?" She asked.
"Yes Mommy. I saw him."
"Did he speak to you?"
"No, he was up on the cliff top."
"Have you ever seen him before?"
"No," said Ashley, and she remembered a very important fact to impress her mother with. "I'm not allowed to talk to strangers," she beamed at her mother.
"Good girl," said Helen, unable to bring herself to smile.
"And then I found Henry in the sand and killed him with my machine gun!" said Ashley finishing her story.
"Eat up your breakfast you two. I have to go to the lab, I wont be long and you'd better have finished by the time I get back." She went off to double check that the EM field surrounding the Sanctuary was running at full capacity.
Ashley waited until her mother had gone and went and got the sugar bowl.
"You've already got sugar on them Ashley," said Henry.
"Mom said to finish eating my breakfast," she said, pouring sugar over the cornflakes.
"Did the man really disappear?" he asked.
She nodded with a mouth full of sugary cornflakes.
"And then I saw him do it again, afterwards in Morocco by the camels."
"Huh," said Henry, not believing her, and he turned back to his comic book.