Author's note: I realise that there have been no posts in this blog for a year. Surprise! And sorry about the long wait.
The sun was barely peeping over the horizon when I gave up and got out of bed. It was early than I wanted to be up, but if you can't sleep, what's the point of being in the bed?
The light coming from the disk went from dull to very bright. I really have to remember to talk to it more regularly. Jericho had pulled out his disk as well.
We needed to experiment a bit. See if the two holosprites could keep other company and stay happier. They really didn't like being off a lot of the time.
We were half way through eating breakfast when Anemone found us. I don't know who was more surprised by the encounter. Jericho and I thought the kids were all safely home. Anemone didn't know her dad was a clown for a day.
"What are you doing here?" I asked.
"Monica was being extra bossy this morning. Goby refused to tell her to be nicer. Plus I found Dad's flyer for the resort and read that the buffet included pancakes. All that we were going to have at home was boring cereal," Anemone told me.
I sighed. So much for just a nice quiet weekend with my husband. Where one child was, more were bound to turn up. Or the rest of the children had better turn up. Monica and Goby were supposed to be watching over their younger siblings. The fact that Anemone was here and not home meant they weren't earning any money for the weekend.
"So did you tell anyone where you were going?" I asked.
She shrugged. "Goby started arguing with Monica about washing the dishes. They didn't notice me at all. So I left." She looked at Jer. "Are you performing for a party? I didn't know you were a clown, Dad."
"I don't perform as a clown," he replied. "It's just a temporary thing. Eat your breakfast. We'll have to find out if your sister or brother have realised that you're gone."
We finished our breakfast. "Anemone, stay in sight," Jer said. "You will be in a lot of trouble if you wander away from us too." He waited for her to nod before we left the table.
"It's all right, Sam. I don't think any of this went to plan." He sighed. "This stupid clown thing for one. I had never even heard of such a curse before."
"I'm sorry, it's still just really freaky." I looked up again. "I'm glad that the kids won't have to see you in this outfit for too long."
"Speaking of the kids, it's time to ring home. See if either of the teens noticed that they've lost a child," replied Jericho.
"You're right, love. I'll do it." I pulled out my cell phone and moved away from Jer. It was the first time that I needed a bit of distance between us.
It took eight rings for Monica to pick up her phone. I was just beginning to think it was going to voice mail when she finally answered. "Hey Pop."
"Just checking in. How's everything at the house?"
Monica was using her 'bright and cheery' voice. "Everything is fine, Pop. Nothing to worry about."
Strike one, that was a lie. I decided to push just a little to see if she was going to keep lying. "So, what are Seahorse and Anemone doing now? Playing inside or outside?"
For one moment, I thought my phone had broken. Then I realised that Monica was sobbing. "Hey, hey. Monica, it's all right." All thoughts of scolding her flew from my head. She was properly worried about her missing sister.
"It's not all right, Pop. We've looked everywhere and we can't find Anemone." Monica stopped and I heard her sniff a few times. "Goby and I have checked every room, in and under everything nearly big enough for her to hide. We can't find her."
"Monica, you and Goby can calm down. Anemone wandered over here to the resort. She's with us." I waited for a response. "Monica? Did you hear me?"
"Oh Pop, I'm so relieved. Just let me tell Goby."
"Wait, Monica. Just go ahead and grab your siblings and come over to the resort. Since half the family is here already, you might as well come too. Bring swim things."
"Yes, score. We get money and Sunday off," said Goby.
I shook my head at Goby. "Goby, you don't get any money."
"But Pop, we did look after the kids all day yesterday," he complained.
"You lost one today," I said. "If you want to earn money for looking after your siblings, you can't let one of them wander off."
"But she came here. Anemone was perfectly safe."
"Be thankful for that. If she hadn't come here and found us, the two of you would be grounded for a month," I replied using my best tough cop voice. "She could have wandered anywhere on the island or have gone for a long swim. How would you have found her then?"
"Pop, you worry too much. Everything was fine. Are you sure we can't get half payment?" Goby pleaded.
"No half payment. Next time, do the job right." I didn't tell Goby that swimming away was one of the things I worried about with the Strider children. Monica was never going to run away from home by swimming. But the rest of them certainly could. There was a lot of ocean and I've seen the sharks.
"Is all the homework done?" I asked.
"Yes, Pop," they all replied.
"In that case, let's just relax. It's our resort, you can have free run of the place. Stay on the grounds or within sight of the resort at all times or I will be cross. You don't want me to be cross, do you?"
"Right then, go have some fun."
The rest of the afternoon was spent enjoying the place.
Unlike me, she actually knew what she was doing.
The 24 hours can't be over soon enough for me.
It seems to still be in fine working order but you have to test these things to be sure.
As the light faded from the sky, we sent the kids home. Jericho had finally passed the 24 hours and no longer had the tragic clown effect.
"Oh Sammy, that sounds dangerous. A thought? Did it give you brain fever?" Jericho said with a wide grin.
"Nope, baby fever. Now that I know we really did travel to the future, I was wondering if we should find out about the future of baby making. See how they take care of it many years from now."
Jericho's grin got even wider. "Babies? It's time for babies?"
"Of course it is. Now that Seahorse and Anemone are in school - we need someone to fill those cribs." His grin got wider. "Of course, we have to have twins. I can't imagine having a single baby at a time."
"Oh Sammy, that's a wonderful idea. When?"
I shrugged, "Why not now? We'll be back just a few minutes after we go. That's the interesting thing about time travel."
Our normal car is an old junker. I spend enough time in the police car during work that I don't like to drive. Jericho usually swims unless he really can't get somewhere that way.
I guess when Monica and Goby want to learn to drive, we will have to get a better car. More modern with every last safety feature that I can find. All of them, no matter how 'uncool' it makes the car.
They can live with 'uncool' or not drive. I prefer the second option but I doubt I'll have my way on that.
We discovered that in the future, any couple can go to any hospital at any time to make babies. The downside is that the hospital charges quite a bit for the service. The science lab takes a bit longer for the results but I guess they still consider it an experimental procedure and don't charge for it.
Still, we came home with two brand new members of the family. Their names are Polly and Coral. They are beautiful babies and we couldn't be happier that our family has grown some more.