Monica opened her eyes and grinned a huge grin. It was morning, and she was happy. She sat herself up and bounced on her bed. Once, twice – and she hit her head on the ceiling.
Monica fell back onto her bed and screamed.
Merryl came running.
“What’s the matter, sweetie?” she murmured as she picked up Monica, half-asleep. Then she opened her eyes a little bit, saw the blood, and screamed herself.
Kyle came running, eyes crusty and legs wobbly.
“What the hell’s going on? What’s wrong?” he yelled.
Merryl pointed to the blood all over Monica and her cot.
“Scalp wounds always bleed like buggery,” the old doctor smiled as he tied the last stitch. “She’ll be fine, though, babies are tough little blighters. And you can’t stop her flying, it’s bad for her development… just tell those ruddy nannies to be more careful, OK?”
Merryl sighed. Two nannies was proving to be far too few… but the finances really couldn’t stretch any further. They’d already used up most of the money they’d gotten selling baby photos to New Idea. That magazine name was such a misnomer, she thought, distracting herself from her troubles. It hadn’t had a new idea since it was carved onto stone tablets!
Monica screamed and brought Merryl firmly back to the real world.
“Give ‘er some panadol every four hours, she’ll be right as rain tomorrow,” the doctor nodded. “She’s a tough cookie, gorgeous too – looks just like you, you know!” He winked at her.
“Well, she’s lost some hair and looks like a member of Addams Family…” Merryl told Kyle later. “But she’s fine… we’ve just got to work out how to deal with the nannies… cripes that woman slept through us two screaming and you collapsing, she must be exhausted… she wasn’t drunk, I tested for that. Drugs, too.” She sighed.
“Awwww…” Kyle smiled, and snuggled his little girl. “You’re still gorgeous, little one – even if you are a right handful! Now, lemme give you back to Mummy and work out how to put a roof on your cage – I mean COT! See ya, Cutiepie Addams!”
Merryl laughed in spite of herself.
“HA!” yelled Merryl triumphantly.
Kyle came running.
“What now??” he panted, and sat down, winded.
“I’ve got the perfect solution to our problem!” Merryl grinned.
“Mutual suicide pact?” joked Kyle.
“Aunt Helgifna! She was so ruddy keen on us having kids… we’ll make her fairy godmother and then ask her to babysit every day!” she cackled.
“What if she says no?” Kyle asked, spotting the obvious flaw in the plan.
“Ha – there’s no way she’ll refuse to be godmother!” Merryl exulted, “And then she’s magically bound to look after her whenever we want – standard godmother clause, doofus!”
Kyle frowned slightly at the doofus remark. Then the rest of the sentence percolated through his irritation, and he grinned. HUGE grin.
“You’re a genius!” he yelled, and grabbed her for a huge bear hug. He waltzed her all around the loungeroom, grinning maniacally.
Aunt Helgifna materialised with a *ping!* in the dining room. Kyle marvelled – he never thought he’d hear that *ping!* without a mental shudder at the very least. But how amazing! He was actually pleased to see her – even though she’d materialised with her usual finesse in the middle of the dining table… sitting in the cream, to be exact.
Merryl and Kyle beamed at Aunt Helgifna and helped her off the table.
“Welcome, Auntie!” gushed Merryl, “Bet you can’t wait to spend time with Monica, can you?”
Aunt Helgifna giggled. “I’m so honoured, darlings… we’re going to have SO much fun, aren’t we sweetie?” She pounced on Monica and swung her up in the air, muttering overly cute baby talk at Monica. Monica had the bad taste to giggle and kick her legs enthusiastically.
“Well, we’ll let you two run off and play, then,” smiled Kyle, “We’ll be upstairs if you need us, OK?”
Merryl nibbled on Kyle’s bare shoulder and smiled drowsily at him.
“Ahhhh, that’s just what the doctor ordered,” she sighed happily.
Kyle jumped. “He did? Why? What were you talking about?”
Merryl laughed. “You’re so paranoid, love… figure of speech, dammit!”
“Oh,” Kyle relaxed and snickered.
The door burst open with a *BANG!* and a wild-haired, panicked Aunt Helgifna ran in and gibbered. Kyle grabbed a pillow and covered up fast.
Merryl jumped out of bed, grabbed Helgifna by the shoulders, and sat her down on the bed. “CALM DOWN!” she screamed in Helgifna’s face.
Surprisingly, it worked – Helgifna stopped, sniffed and gazed at Merryl, tears streaming down her face.
“NOW,” Merryl said firmly, “What the hell has happened? Is Monica OK?”
Helgifna burst back into hysterics. Kyle, panicking at the idea of Monica hurt, threw the pillow aside and launched himself out into the corridor, naked and not caring a bit. He left a trail of screams from not-so-modern-minded maidens behind him as he pelted toward Monica’s nursery.
Merryl left Helgifna to her hysterics for a second and rummaged in her bedside table. Rescue Remedy! Perfect. She shook it gently, then sprayed a large dose straight in Helgifna’s face. She relaxed and smiled immediately – the magical version had a bit more kick than its mundane cousin.
Kyle burst back into the room, carrying something furry.
“LOOK WHAT SHE’S DONE!” he screamed.
Nestled in his arms was a very cute, very fluffy kitten – with fairy wings.
Aunt Helgifna swayed and smiled vaguely. “Yes, a spell backfired rather badly… I meant to give her a kitten, not make her one!” She giggled, lay down and started snoring.
Merryl sat on the bed and put her head in her hands.
“Bloody hell,” she said, “This wasn’t such a brilliant idea, was it?”
Kyle quivered, lost for words.
Kyle and Merryl walked into the hospital. Kyle carried Monica and the nappy bag – Merryl carried a litter tray, newspaper, saucer and milk.
“OI!” An officious, extremely wide nurse bustled up to them, looking outraged. “You can’t bring that cat in here, I don’t care how dressed up it is! OUT! OUT!”
Merryl glared at her. The nurse wilted slightly. Kyle was impressed – usually that glare turned people into wibbling jelly within seconds. Merryl shoved past her, ignored an unimpressed volley of regulations, and stormed toward the elevators. Patients and nurses scattered. Kyle followed meekly, trying to hide Monica in his tshirt.
Upstairs, Merryl stomped along the corridor, glaring at anyone who looked as though they might show some interest, and Kyle strolled along behind her. Monica was getting a little restless, squirming and mewing quietly. Finally, they reached the right door – the plaque on it said:
Dr Alistair Hunny
Director of Atypical Medicine
They ducked inside and shut the door quickly.
The short, suited man inside looked up from his computer and smiled widely.
“Merryl! Kyle! How wonderful to see you both, sit down!” He turned to the coffee machine and pressed a button.
Kyle sank into a chair, while Merryl stayed upright to pace.
“Uncle Ally, we’ve got a -” Merryl started, before getting interrupted by enthusiastic banging on the door.
“Hunny dear, you OK?” A large, trollish head poked around the half-open door. “We heard there were a couple of psychos on the loose with a tiger?”
Monica peeped over Kyle’s shoulder and mewed cutely.
The troll snorted and smiled. “Geez, some tiger, mate! Rip me head off as soon as look at me, obviously!”
Doctor Hunny laughed. “It’s all fine, Nigel, they’re invited guests – did Lucia set off another alarm? That woman’s getting to be a menace!”
Nigel saluted sharply, removed his head and shut the door.
Doctor Hunny sighed. “Now, what on earth has happened to your cat? One of Helly’s spells go haywire again? And why couldn’t you take it to the vet?”
Merryl took the kitten from Kyle and placed her on the desk, where she settled down to chew on some paper.
“Because nothing’s happened to our cat, Uncle Ally… this is our daughter Monica!”
“Indeed!” she agreed.
“Well, Helly’s outdone herself this time,” Dr Hunny shook his head, “Lemme see… bicarb soda, vinegar, food colouring, 3 mosquito larvae and a hair…” He tweaked one out of Monica’s shoulder. Monica, figuring it was a new game, flipped over, grabbed his hand in her claws and started chomping gently.
“OW!” He muttered. “You’re cute, but deadly… like your mother, alright!”
Merryl poked her tongue out at him.
Dr Hunny shook the potion with his good hand. Foam was spilling over the top of the test tube by the time he stopped. Then he seized Monica with his chewed hand (earning a kitten-sized claw swipe in the process) and poured the potion over her. A bright red cloud obscured the kitten as she mewed angrily at the treatment…
… then the mewing changed to crying, the cloud dissipated, and a naked baby lay on the desk screaming with outrage. Kyle grinned and grabbed her for a snuggle.
“Ta – DA!” Dr Hunny grinned.
Merryl ran around the table and hugged him excitedly.
“Thank you so much, Uncle,” she sniffled.
He patted her hair and muttered “there, there”s until she calmed down.
“No harm done!” he said heartily. “I’ll give Helly that – she may have a screw loose, but her spells are never half-assed!”
Merryl chuckled weakly.
Kyle was still snuggling the newly-humanised Monica. “Awww, Cutiepie, you’re back! Although you were a damn cute kitten, you know, maybe we should’ve left you that way. You were housetrained…”
Monica peed on him and giggled happily.