[2Fold] The Mystery Present
- Charlie stirred. Her dream was a distant echo now, replaced with the sobering reality of consciousness. Whatever it was, she couldn’t recall. All she knew was that the little digital clock on her night stand read 5:59 AM, which meant that any second now Caprice was going to come bounding out of her room, whooping and hollering about it being Christmas morning.
- Except, she didn’t. It wasn’t uncommon for there to be a bit of noise around the Shiften household. Some would say even a lot of noise. But today, the house was dead silent. Charlie watched as her clock ticked over to 6:00, and listened intently for the slightest sign of her daughter’s waking. When no such sign came, Charlie slipped out from under the covers, wrapped herself in her dressing gown, and snuck over to Caprice’s room.
- “Caprice, honey?” Charlie whispered, knocking slightly on the door. It was ajar, so she peeked inside. The bed was empty. Had Caprice already gotten up and headed downstairs?
- Charlie ambled downstairs herself, looking and listening for any sign of activity from her AWOL daughter. There was no one in the hall. No one in the kitchen. No one in the living room. But there was a large box-shaped present that hadn’t been there the previous night, placed next to the Christmas tree.
- Charlie arched her eyebrow. Where had it come from? A closer look revealed a tag on the gift, labelled ‘To Mom, love Caprice’, with Caprice’s name stylised to include a top hat. Also affixed to the present was a sign reading ‘Do NOT open until Christmas’. Charlie stifled a laugh. This was definitely her daughter’s handiwork.
- With a smile on her face, Charlie tugged at the ribbon on top of the box. The bow came loose and the ribbon fell away, allowing her to tear at the haphazardly-joined wrapping paper. When the last of it came off, Charlie was left staring at a plain old cardboard box. Amusingly, the ‘this side up’ notice pointed towards the floor. The top of the box (or bottom, to be exact) was unsealed, so Charlie began to open it up…
- “MERRY CHRISTMAS, MOM!” Caprice cheered, bursting out of the present like an oversized jack-in-the-box. Mid-leap, she threw her arms around Charlie in enthusiastic embrace. “Didja know it was me in there? Huh? Didja?”
- “I had a feeling,” Charlie chuckled, lifting Caprice out of the box and into her lap.
- “I bet you’re wondering why, though, right? I’ll tell you anyway! See, I wanted to get you something with my allowance but I didn’t know what to get you. So I thought about all the things you love and I knew that you love me the most of all so I decided ‘I should fill a box with all of my love’! But none of them were big enough until I found this one and wouldn’tcha know it, it was just the right size for me to fit in! And that’s why I was your present! ”
- Charlie smiled, nuzzling Caprice’s nose. “I couldn’t have asked for anything better.”
- MERRY CHRISTMAS TOPHAT~!
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