A week had past.

A surprise ash storm had broken his return to childhood and forced him to seek shelter. Holed up in a dirty, damp cellar he thought about what was to come.

Shopmas was going to be one to remember this year.

He had had time to think about it. He’d been good. He’d been so good, and they didn’t care. But that’s because the world had been bad. So his small acts of goodness wouldn’t count.

But that wasn’t fair. Why should he suffer for them? Why should any of the good people suffer?

He picked at the crumbling wall, watching god knows what insects scramble for some more darkness. Diseased mutant things.

He had grown up with the belief that 54N74 was real. That they came from somewhere else. Then he had heard that it was a con. Just the Gov-Corps keeping people quiet.

It had broken his heart – to think that something so … good, was just a cheap ploy. His childhood had seemed a lie.

He peered through the useless windows. They didn’t show him anything outside. And he didn’t want to risk opening a door and blowing his work.

“Shit”

He twitched, shook and, then, took deep breaths to calm down.

Now he was older he realised it didn’t matter if it was aliens or if it was corporate subterfuge. What matters was that it stopped. Well, he was going to make sure he was so bad that something had to happen. Because if he was going to suffer. Everyone else was going to suffer too.

He slipped his knife from inside his boot and started scratching numbers into the wall.

He paused, wondering if children counted as one, or as half.

He scratched double lines for the children – because their gift was going to be very special.