Chapter 2 - Part 11: Hi Tek Girl

The house was full of partiers as another birthday was being celebrated in the Cagley family.  Flora's teen debut was upon them.

She invited over several of her friends as well as family.

A party was no excuse for not doing your homework, Julius thought.  He plopped himself down in the middle of the floor and got to work.

Vincent couldn't help but laugh at his brother and was using the excuse of the party to not do his own homework.  Any excuse he could take to put off that chore, he usually would.

Aunt Khalilah brought her current boyfriend to the party who constantly took pictures of Morand, who still held on to some of his fame from being the Fire Chief for so many years.  The old man didn't mind so much, it felt kind of nice to know that his work from the past was still being appreciated.

Faith had invited Drake as well, who arrived as the sun was beginning to set.  The two old friends spent a little time catching up.  "You have such a beautiful family, Faith, you are quite lucky," the old soul told her.

She looked around the room and couldn't argue that fact.

Everyone gathered around the birthday girl as the candles were lit on her cake.  Khalilah was overly excited while her father, Cecil, seemed to be in his own world.

As Flora was trying to come up with an adequate wish, Morand came up behind his granddaughter and whispered something into her ear.  The girl giggled and turned back to her cake.

Flora leaned in and blew out the candles, surrounded by friends and loved ones.

After everyone had their fill of cake, it was back to partying.  Khalilah grabbed her man and drug him to the living room to dance.

Faith got a chance to catch up with her older brother, hearing about how well her newest niece, Leanne, was doing.  "She looks a lot like my mom, from what I've heard," Cecil added.

Flora cornered Drake.  She had heard a lot about this man from her mother and knew that there was a history there between him and her family.  She was curious by nature, but he held a certain allure that she was finding hard to resist.

"Thanks for coming to my party," she told him.  "I have to admit, I've wanted to meet you for a long time.  In fact, I've been helping my mom with her garden lately.  I believe we still send your supply of Plasma Fruit from our personal plants."  She was rambling, she realized, but he made her slightly nervous.

Drake looked the teenager over, "that must be why they were the best tasting fruits I have had."  

Flora blushed while Morand kept a watchful eye on his granddaughter.  He still didn't trust the Vampire people and wasn't sure how he'd feel about Flora getting involved with one.  Even one that Faith seemed to trust.

After the guests had gone and the boys were sent to bed, they were too riled up on a cake high to get any sleep.  Instead, squeals and laughter could be heard coming from their room.

Vincent took a little too much pleasure in beating his brother over the head with the pillow.  It wasn't long before Julius had to call a truce and the boys finally climbed into bed after a long night.

In the quiet that followed, Morand sat down to help Flora with her homework as well as give her a bit of advice.  "You are a big girl now and are free to be friends with whoever you like," he said to her quietly, "just be careful around people of a certain type, you know?  Not all of them are nice, sweetie," he finished.

Flora wasn't sure where this was coming from, after all, his mother had known Drake since she was in high school.  Did her grandfather know something that he wasn't telling her?  "I will, grandpa, don't worry," she replied.

He smiled and kissed her on the forehead, "that's a good girl," he said as he lumbered off towards his bedroom and a long night of restless dreams.

Flora has the gift (and very long fingers)!
Rawr, gimme cake!

The gnome family gets in on the celebration.

Title / Cosmic Cabaret

Chapter 2 - Part 10: Bad Science

Fortunately for the boys, their birthday fell on a weekend, so school was put off for another couple days.  After donning outfits from their new costume chest (a gift from Cecil) the children ran outside to play with Morand's Gnubb set.

Just because they were kids didn't mean that the old man had to take it easy on them, however.  He easily beat them at the game, teaching them the important lesson of being a gracious loser.

The next morning Flora got up bright and early and met up with her mom outside the garden.

Faith was surprised to see her daughter up so early and in what seemed to be gardening clothes.  "Good morning, honey.  What are you doing out here?" she asked her.

"Can I help?" the girl replied.

Faith was actually pleased to see the girl taking an interest in the hobby, "Of course you can, just be careful not to step on any of the plants."

Flora stood by and watched as Faith tended to her garden, harvesting the plants, pruning the trees and pulling out the intrusive weeds.  The whole time she was working she was explaining to Flora what she was doing, passing along the little tips and tricks she'd learned as well as some of the secrets of her research.

The young girl was fascinated by the idea that you could grow pretty much anything you wanted - you almost never had to go to the store!

Nice weather meant that Faith could be heard yelling "You kids go outside and play!".

Flora drew out a hopscotch court on the front walk and taught her younger brothers how to play.  Julius, being a rather smart young man took to the game rather quickly, but his twin Vincent couldn't quite get the hang of it.

Naturally Flora was the best, having mastered the game long ago.  This upset Vincent.  He didn't learn much from his grandfather's lesson, remaining a pretty sore loser.

Julius tried to ignore his brother when he suggested they take Flora out of the game, for good.

When he couldn't get Julius to help him, he decided to get a little revenge on his own...

The sinister little boy watched with barely contained glee as his plan went off without a hitch.

As Flora sat down on the couch a loud and embarrassing noise came from the seat.  Turning beet red, she looked around, knowing that the noise hadn't come from her.  After a little bit of poking around, she found the whoopie cushion underneath the seat.

She had a hunch who'd put it there, but this definitely required more investigation.  She was now a girl on a mission.

While she was playing chess online, she went with a hunch and checked the browser history.  In it, she found that there had been a recent search for "tricks to play on my sister".  This was definitely a good clue, but still wasn't quite enough to prove her hunch.

There will be no rest until this case was solved.

It wasn't long until the kids were off on their next field trip, the first for the boys.  They were being treated to a movie and tour of the cinema.

Almost as soon as the doors of the bus were open, Vincent was running towards the theater, running inside before anyone else was even close.

Once the tour was over the class went to find their seats in the main theater.  As their chaperone, Jennie Boggs, sat down there was a loud and audible flatulence sound.  All the kids sniggered except two; Flora who looked apologetically at the woman, and Vincent, who seemed to look pleased with himself.

After heading home and finishing her homework Flora went to her room to find someone in it.  "What are you doing in here?" she asked her brother.

"Just playing," Vincent said, with the air of someone who'd just been caught doing something he shouldn't be.

Flora looked at her brother and knew he was up to no good, "I don't believe you.  And I know you were the one who pranked me and Miss Boggs."

"I didn't do it, nobody saw me do it, there's no way you can prove anything," he said to her calmly.  A little too calmly.

Flora could only stand there and huff in anger at him.  He might have gotten away with it this time but she was going to watch him like a hawk.
He quietly left his sister to stew in her anger, taking a small amount of pride in pulling one over on her.  However, he didn't want her to see him celebrate just yet.

He savored his victory over the queen on his own, once he was back in his private castle hideout.  The Prince of Darkness will reign over all!

The children pose for a family photo
"The Shining" anyone?? (Inside the theater)

Title / Lori Anderson

Chapter 2 - Part 9: Relativity

Almost the instant Flora had grown into a child, Morand felt it was his grandfatherly duty to dote on his granddaughter, going in for the hated "cheek pinch".  It was no use fighting it, Flora thought, as it was an inevitable fate of being the first grandchild Morand got to spend most of his time around.

Besides, it did have its perks.  Only after getting your cheek violently pinched did you get such a gigantic piece of cake.  Yes, this granddaughter thing was going to work out just fine, thought Flora.

All too soon it was time for her first day of school.  You would think getting to ride in grandpa's firetruck would have lifted her spirits, but all she could think about was how much of a waste of gas it was, considering they lived just down the road from the school.

Once they arrived, Flora quickly gave her mom a hug before running in the door.  She was definitely more excited than nervous about starting school.  There was so much to see and learn!  She apparently got her drive to learn from her mother.

Faith, on the other hand, wasn't quite ready to let go.  She tried to keep a brave face, but looked on with a tinge of sadness as she watched her big girl go off on her own.

It was only her first day of school, but already she was off on a field trip.  She listened in a state of controlled  panic as the bus driver told them that they'd be lucky to make it out of the cemetery alive.

"Not funny, Rob," her chaperone, Alyson told him as they left the bus, smacking him on the arm.

Regardless of what the bus driver said, the kids were looking forward to exploring Perpetual Rest, the ancient graveyard that served as the resting place for those that lived on the downtown side of the islands.

"My grandma Dixie is here," Flora told her classmate Constance, "I never got to meet her, though."

The other girl looked at Flora with a barely concealed grin, "I know over half the people in this place.  Personally.  That's what happens when you are a perpetual child," she finished.

Flora put on a confident front as the class was about to enter the mausoleum.  She didn't inherit the braveness of her grandfather, however she considered herself a tough enough girl.

"Don't be scared, little one, nothing will harm you," the curiously dark girl stated.  "They are all friends here," she finished as she gestured for Flora to go inside.

She couldn't help but take the girl at her word and slowly made her way into the mausoleum. 

As Flora was busy exploring with her classmates, Morand took to watching the boys.  They were practically inseparable.  If one of them wanted to play with the blocks, the other would follow.  If one got bored and moved onto the toy box, it wasn't long before the other joined in.  It was almost as if there was one mind controlling two bodies.

Pete, meanwhile, was busy with his latest creation.  Whenever he got stuck with what project to work on next, he would take a trip into the future for inspiration.  Things were so different there, so modern and mechanical, there was no lack of interesting things to look.

It didn't take long for the boys to reach their birthday.  It was a small celebration with just some family and close friends.

Flora entertained Uncle Cecil by showing him her many badges she'd earned from scouts as well as telling him of her harrowing adventures in the catacombs below the mausoleum.

"It was amazing!" she told him excitedly, "There were bats and bones and huge spiders and ghosts!  But I wasn't scared because my friend Constance knew them all, she made sure no one scared us."

Faith turned around to find someone standing behind her, "Holy sh-, Drake!  Don't do that," she laughed at herself for being taken off guard.

"I apologize, I forget sometimes that you humans can not always hear us arrive," the Vampire told her.  "I wanted to wish your sons a pleasant birthday.  When my sister, Constance, mentioned that she had seen your daughter today, it reminded me of the celebration."

Faith smiled at her old friend in his young body and said, "Of course, you are welcome here any time."

Faith and Morand brought the boys to their cake and helped them blow out the candles.

While they had been identical as toddlers, it soon became very apparent that they were not the same at all.

The prerequisite birthday mutation pics!
The gnome family grows!
A random ghost shows up to scare the paparazzi on the back porch.

Title / Grafton Primary