Chapter One: The Last Present

Dexter Douglas was an average teen on the bottom of the food chain; he had no physical friends, little family support and an older brother that would sooner punch him than answer a simple question. Things had never looked up for Dexter; sometimes it was like he was just a kid, trapped at the bottom of a pit and nobody cared.

At least he had his computer.

The last week of school a few of the football players had cornered him during lunch. Of course no adult was around when they slammed him into the lockers and demanded he hand over whatever cash he had. When Dexter's pockets were pulled inside out revealing he had only a few bucks for a burger they knocked him out with a single punch for wasting their time.

Duncan had made jokes about it on the bus ride home.

His reflection was pathetic, the black and blue shiner his only interesting attribute. Brushing his teeth he tried to think happy thoughts. Tomorrow was Christmas after all; something good had to come out Christmas. He'd asked for that new pinnacle chip for his computer and though Dexter was sure his parents probably forgot it was what he wanted, he could be optimistic until tomorrow.

He spat into the skin and rinsed the foamy mess down the drain. His life was like a drain in that everything spiraled downward. Dexter decided that instead of going into a chat room he would just go to bed early. Maybe he would have pleasant dreams of candy canes, sugarplums and…Steph. Steph was the girl Dexter had had his eyes on for years; she was so pretty, but popular. Popular girls didn't date guys who were forgotten in ditches.

The next morning Dexter woke up to the sweet smell of bacon and eggs. His mother never skimped on breakfast during the holidays; it was one thing she had going for her. Dexter slipped out of bed and headed downstairs. In the kitchen everyone was already seated with full plates. How nice of them to wake him up.

"Dexter, how nice of you to join us dear", his mother sing-songed as she set a plate for him at the table. "Come eat yer breakfast so we can open presents!"

Even when he sat at the table with his family Dexter felt alone. Duncan, who was chewing with his mouth open turned to him and began shouting. Dexter tried to shield his food from the soggy chunks flying out of his obnoxious brother's mouth.

"Way to go ya little fink", he grumbled. "You better not eat slow on purpose, I want to open my presents and see all the neat stuff I got!"

Soon enough the Duncan family was out in the living room and paper was flying everywhere. Dexter opened his gifts slowly unlike his brother who was tearing the packages limb from limb. Duncan jumped up with a new football and in Dexter's opinion was too excited to receive a present he had gotten every year since he was seven.

Looking down at his gifts, Dexter wasn't too surprised to find he had a package of new socks, some cologne and a card from grandma with five bucks in it. Yeah, what he had expected.

"Dexter, you forgot one dear", his mother suddenly said.

She brought him a small present, wrapped in gold paper with a large red bow. Dexter slowly took it from her, feeling somehow that this wasn't a package of new underwear he had missed. Peeling back the paper he found that it was a white box. Inside the white box was the only thing he had asked for all year.

The Pinnacle Chip.