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Every weekend, Oliver stood in the games shop and looked at the DS games. He really wanted a DS; it had been on every Christmas and birthday wishlist since they came out. He particularly wanted a blue DSi but told his mother he would be happy with any kind.

It was mid-November when he peeked into his mother’s cupboard and saw the carrier bag from the game shop. He moved the edge of it ever so slightly, just enough to see the box for a brand new DSi, then closed the door and ran up to his bedroom to celebrate.

From that day on, his new DSi was all he could think about. He was pretty sure his mother would have bought him at least one game with it; he had enough pocket money saved for one more. He wondered if his mother had arranged it with his other relatives, his grandad perhaps, so he’d have more games. He started marking the days off on his calendar, keeping count of how long it would be until Christmas Day.

November dragged on and finally December arrived. The house was decorated in bright lights and foil decorations, and a chocolate advent calendar made counting down the days even easier. There were only three doors left to open when the sirens sounded.

It was the middle of the night, and the whole street woke up and came out into the street, heavy coats slung over pyjamas and nightdresses, and they all gathered before the flames. The firemen kept them back; their shouts mingled with the devastated sobs of the family who’d lost everything.

Oliver saw a little boy standing just beyond the fire brigade’s cordon. He didn’t know him very well, even though they lived so close together. The other boy was two years below Oliver at school. He saw tear tracks on the boy’s soot stained face.

“Mum,” Oliver said, tugging at the sleeve of her coat. “Mum, I know you got me the DSi I wanted for Christmas.”

She stared at him, wondering what on earth was going through her boy’s head to be talking about his Christmas present now.

“I want you to give it to him instead,” Oliver said, pointing at the little boy behind the cordon.

“What?”

Oliver’s mother knelt down and looked Oliver right in the eye.

He nodded. “Really, mum. He’s lost everything. Look at everything we still have.”

Oliver’s mother hugged him. There was nothing else she could say.

© Kari Fay

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