The Advent of Trouble

            Tek raced down the stairs, past the holotree, and straight to the shining box in the corner. Bouncing with excitement, he pressed the button to open the gleaming door. Instantly, it popped out and a glowing 8 appeared. Then, a tall thin man with strange black and red clothes, a tall black hat, and a stick appeared.
            “I gottsa man!” Tek yelled. He thought the man looked kind of funny, but he didn’t care so long as it was better than what his brother got.
            “It’s a toy soldier,” Rin corrected in that annoyingly superior older-brother tone.
            “Nuh-huh!” Tek thought that was the stupidest thing he’d ever heard. “Soldiers don’t look like that!”
            “They used to.” Rin’s calm response made Tek glare.
            “How do you know?” he sulked, wishing he’d never shown Rin in the first place.
            “We’ve been studying it at school.” Rin shrugged as if the whole conversation were beneath his notice and left the room. Tek sat on the floor abruptly and shoved the shiny door closed.
            “Stupid soldier.” He glowered at nothing. Finally, he said, “Research Christmas calendar thing.”
            “Searching.” The hollow, emotionless voice echoed around the room. “Search found advent calendar, a historic way for children to count the days before Christmas. Commonly made of paper, advent calendars had 25 doors to be-”
            “25!” Tek shot off the floor, leaving the voice to speak to itself. “Mom! Mom! I want an advent calendar!” He tapped the screen frantically until he got a response. She blinked at him through it.
            “You have one,” she mumbled, “the box in-”
            “It doesn’t have enough doors! It’s s’posed to have 25 doors!” That was 24 more doors than his brother had. “And it’s made of paper!” He didn’t know what paper was, so it had to be amazing.
            “You want a paper one?” She stared at him. “But you have a holo.”
            “Yeah, but it’s supposed to have 25 doors,” he fumbled and spluttered, trying to get the thoughts out. “That one’s realer!”


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