rating: +75+x

Timothy Dalton's young hands shook with the exuberance that only a child can feel. It had been two weeks to the day. To the day! And now, it should finally be here! He ran home, grinning the entire way, dragging his backpack behind him.

He rushed to the mailbox, opening it and peering inside, his smile falling away. It was empty. He sighed, slowly dragging his bag after himself, walking up the step of his house. He dropped off his backpack on the kitchen table and got a glass of water, sipping it as his mother walked into the room, leaning over to kiss his head. When she stood back up, she frowned gently. "What's wrong, hun?" she asked. She only called him 'hun' when she wanted to be sweet to him.

"Did I… get any mail today?" he asked.

She shook her head. "Were you expecting something?" she asked. "You didn't sign up for something, did you?" she asked, more sternly.

"N-no…" he lied. "I was just… hoping to hear from my penpal…"

She didn't believe him, but his disappointment was enough to ease her anger. 'Probably just a stupid mailing list again…' she thought. Already, he'd gotten Mormons, Jehovah's Witnesses, Scientologists… Ever since he'd learned his address, they'd been getting mail and fliers.

She kissed his head again. "Maybe tomorrow…" she said. "Now, head up to your room and take care of your homework."

He nodded, taking his bag and heading up the stairs, tossing it onto his bed. He walked over to his desk and sat at it, turning on the old computer his parents let him have, almost not noticing the box sitting to the left of it.

It was wrapped in brown paper, with a string around it. It looked like a package out of a movie. With trembling hands, he reached for it, taking it and pulling off the paper quickly, stopping and tugging at the string, frustrated until it broke with a quick snap, opening it and seeing…

It was beautiful. Shining silver—who cared if it was plastic?—with lights running up and down either side. It looked exactly like the picture. He pointed it out the window, pulling the trigger and grinning as all the lights flashed and a high pitched sound, just like from a movie, issued from it. His grin stretched from ear to ear as he slipped it into his pocket, hurrying out of his room and down the stairs again, shouting to his mother as he flew out the door: "I'll be at Johnny's house!"

"What about your homework?" she shouted back, but he was already gone, running down the street, eager to show off his new acquisition.

When he got there, he found Johnny in the yard, playing with his imagination, running and gunning. Tim smiled, jumping out from behind a tree and shouting loudly, intending to scare as he pulled out his new toy. "I'll fix you, Space Man!" Johnny jumped, turning and then frowning, angry at having been sneaked up on.

"That's not funny, Ti—"

His voice died away as Tim pulled the trigger. He stopped for a moment, then slumped to the ground, falling in a heap. Tim smiled a little, laughing and running to him. "Johnny! Johnny! Isn't it neat?!" he asked, laughing and smiling.

But Johnny didn't respond.

Simon Hayden opened the box, smiling and grinning as he took out the toy, eyes wide and expectant. He turned, showing to his little brother who's face practically glowed with envy. "Hey! No fair! Where'd you get that?!" he said.

"Isn't it cool!" he said, smiling. "It's free! You just have to go to this website and give them your address and they send you free stuff!"

His little brother got a greedy glint in his eye. "What is it?! What is it!?!"

Simon smiled, ruffling his hair playfully—and because it annoyed him—and grinned. "Just go to…"

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