A Boy's World

by Jason Redfeather

Chapter 16

I awoke sometime in the night to that familiar feeling of someone sucking me. The barn was quiet and dark, except for the few neon lights on the main floor. I was stiff as iron and, in the gloom, I could see a dark head bobbing and weaving over me. At first, I couldn't think who was pleasuring me, I didn't recognize him in the dim light. His tongue circled and flicked me with delightful expertise - the same sort of style Josh had taught me. I laid a gentle hand on the side of his head.

Suddenly, he looked up into my face and I saw that he was Kevin. He jumped up and backed away, heading for the ladder, his creamy, naked body taking on a soft, ghostly glow as he moved into the light at the edge of the loft.

"What's wrong?" I whispered.

He started down the ladder in a frantic race to get away. I hopped up and started to follow.

"It's OK," I whispered. "Come back!"

He was scared; he looked this way and that, and back up at me, as if looking for a quicker means of escape. The third-level loft was about four feet narrower than the second-level and, looking down over the rail, I had wondered more than once if I could jump down; it was only about eight feet. 'Let's find out!' I thought. I swung my legs over the rail and stepped out into deep air.

For a long second, my nads climbed into my belly, then, with a solid thump that reverberated through the whole barn, I landed on the lower loft. From the ladder, Kevin looked at me with panic growing in his eyes; his mouth dropped open and he jumped the rest of the way down.

I chased him down the stairs, just an arm's length behind him; he was a wiry kid and fast! As he headed for the front door, I wondered if he would really run outside stark naked, and how far would he go? Fortunately, we didn't have to put that to a test; in the green glow of the last neon light, just a few meters from the door, I caught his arm and pulled him to a stop.

He jerked away and backed toward the work bench; I followed, more slowly this time. "It's OK," I repeated. "Relax - I'm not gonna hurt you!"

He turned and ran, not toward the back door, but to the work bench, beneath the green light. He grabbed the edge of the bench, sinking his fingernails into the stained and pitted surface; he looked back over his shoulder at me, terrified and bracing for some horrific punishment that was coming in his mind.

I reached him quickly, but didn't try to grab him. Instead, I pushed him hard against the bench and began rubbing my stiff shaft up and down the cleft of his tender bare butt. He moaned and his slender body trembled. I felt the tender, moistness of his hole and started pushing into him. He groaned softly, then his hole relaxed; I slid right inside him and the warmth and moistness of his body engulfed me, as well as my mind. I reached around to his front side and grabbed his boy, which was stiff as steel. As I began thrusting in and out of him, I let his young boner slide through my hand, stroking him with the same rhythm I fucked him with. His breathing and soft groaning matched my rhythm. Kevin looked back at me with fear in his dark eyes, his slim, tight body trembled, his moaning growing louder with each inward thrust. My pace quickened and, as he got louder, I covered his mouth with my other hand; I thought he might wake everyone in the barn! His hot breath rasped through my fingers; I was getting close!

My orgasm swept through me, twisting my belly and setting my mind on fire. I thrust hard into Kevin's body, pushing him firmly against the bench. He groaned as I held him there, I throbbed and twitched, my sperm gushing and spurting deep inside him.

After I finished, I slowly pulled out of his skinny backside. I took my hand away from his mouth and he looked back at me again, tears streaming down his face, his lips grimacing.

I turned him around and pushed him back against the bench again. He was still stiff. I knelt before him and, in one wet, open-mouthed move, engulfed all five inches of his timid lust. I drew back, pulling his foreskin over his swollen cap, then pushed it back as I swallowed him again. My tongue circled and flicked his bare helmet, making him quiver. A few more strokes like that and he was moaning again, this time with pleasure. He caught his breath and tensed up hard; his body trembled and bent to his left. My mouth was flooded with rich, salty boysyrup, which I swallowed eagerly.

Kevin's flow ebbed all too soon and I milked the last drops from him with my lips, licking him until he was squeaky clean. Then I stood before him.

Kevin's face was downcast, his eyes on the floor, tears still streaking his cheeks. I lifted his chin and fixed his dark eyes with mine. His eyes still held fear and doubt.

I almost smiled as a new thought came into my head: I enjoyed chasing this naked kid around the barn, as if I had caught him in the act of doing something very bad, something seriously punishable! It had an extra sense of naughtiness about it; I would have to try that with Jeffy and some of the others!

Of course, there was a serious side to it, as well; I had to wonder if that was the way his family had treated him before he came here. How many times had he been caught doing things with other boys; how many times had he been beaten for it? Well, never again would he be beaten for it - not here - not with me! He was mine, now!

I reached behind him and slipped a finger into the cleft of his butt. Finding his slick hole, I swiped across it and brought my wet finger up to his face.

"See this?" I asked. He nodded nervously. "That's my sperm. It's in you, now. That means I've marked you; I'm in you; you're mine!" I grabbed his wrist and pulled him back to the stairs. With a swat to his bare fanny, he began ascending ahead of me. On the second-level loft, he started to go his own way, back to where Josh and Danya were sleeping. I grabbed his wrist again and pulled him to the ladder. Another swat to his backside started him climbing.

On the third-level, I pulled him to the nest of blankets where Jeffy awaited. The sweet, young blond was propped on one elbow, watching both of us carefully.

"Kevin belongs to us, now," I said. "You need to fuck him and mark him with your sperm, then you can suck him all you want, and you can make him suck or fuck you, too!" Jeffy smiled and nodded.

I turned to Kevin. "You will stay by my side always," I said. I laid down next to Jeffy and pulled Kevin down beside me.

Immediately, Jeffy crawled over both of us and pushed Kevin onto his belly. He lay on top of him and gently wiggled as he guided himself into Kevin's backside. Jeffy began humping him and they moved together, panting, moaning, crying out softly, until Jeffy caught his breath and thrust hard, holding the boy in trembling arms. Once again, Kevin was marked. With a squeaky release of his breath, Jeffy settled on top of Kevin, kissing his neck and resting his head on Kevin's shoulder.

After resting for a couple minutes, Jeffy slid off onto his side and pushed back into me. I spooned the slim, naked boy and wrapping my arms around his silky body. I felt him push back into me and relax; my face came against the back of his neck and my nose was filled with the musky, boyish scent of him.

Kevin rolled onto his side and pushed back into Jeffy, also spooning himself into the younger boy.

"You're mine," Jeffy said, echoing my words. "You will obey our orders, and we will take care of you."

Kevin pushed back more firmly into Jeffy, pushing him more into me; I could feel both boys' bodies folding into mine; I took that as a sign of willing agreement. My dick, which was still hard, slipped between Jeffy's thighs and rested behind his tender balls; it never seemed to tire! Though my body was tired, my mind was racing with new possibilities; my gang was growing.

I awoke with Jeffy and Kevin pressed against me; Kevin lay half on top of me, with one arm across my chest and one knee between my thighs, my arm was around his shoulders and I could feel his hot, stiff sex against my hip; Jeffy had his back to me, with my arm trapped beneath his smooth, bare butt. My mast was again at standing high and at full sail, aching to piss.

I lay there thinking and looking at Jeffy, then to Kevin and back again. Both boys were totally adorable, both were beautiful and sexy in their own ways, and both boys desperately needed someone to look up to. Both boys had chosen me for that roll. I wondered if I hadn't made a mistake in claiming Kevin last night; I hadn't been ready to take on Jeffy and his needs, how could I take on Kevin? Nor had I been ready for the depth of love I now felt for Jeffy, would I feel the same way for Kevin? And what if I began to love one more than the other? That wouldn't be fair. Would they fight each other for my affections, as siblings sometimes do? I certainly didn't want that; I didn't want them competing with each other, I loved them both! Oh, there it is! I love them both. I wanted them both - differently, because they were different boys, different personalities, yet, I loved and wanted both. Now I was beginning to understand how some parents feel when they have more than one child. How do they cope? How do they decide how to love each one, yet divide their affections equally?

How would Dagwynn handle it? 'Oh my God!' I thought. 'Dagwynn has four boys to care for now! Holy shitskies! What's he gonna do?'

Kevin stirred and thrust his hot boner hard into my hip, his body quivered and he thrust again. He quieted with a soft sigh. I raised my left side, pulling arm and shoulder away from the warmth of Jeffy's backside, then carefully slipped out from beneath Kevin's long arm and leg. He moaned softly as I laid his head on the warm spot where my shoulder had been. I stood up stiffly and lurched toward the wide open window at the far end of the loft.

Once again coming into full, hot morning sunlight, I pointed my eight-inch boner north and let fly a golden stream into quiet air. As I stood there, where decades ago, colonists hoisted supplies up and down, I realized I still hadn't really done much exploring on the Strip, and none in any of the other surrounding blocks. I remembered seeing a camping outfitter store across from the Golden River and, now that I had some money, I could think of a hundred things we needed that would make this old barn more livable.

I shook the last glittering drops from myself and turned back to the loft. I had walked passed another tangled group of boys, Brian's clique of four, sleeping nearby, they were the ones I'd seen yesterday, fucking the girls. I didn't know them, they kept to themselves. 'Would they try to steal whatever I bought for us?' I wondered. 'Maybe I should buy a few things for them, too? Spiff! All the kids here need stuff!'

Suddenly, I was excited. I went back to our little nest of blankets on the floor; I wanted to wake Jeffy and Kevin up immediately: we had some shopping to do!

Jeffy looked so sweet and vulnerable; he was curled into a ball with his knees to his chest and his hand to his chin - he almost looked like he was sucking his thumb. Kevin had rolled over and pushed himself back - I think he was searching for me, but backed into Jeffy instead. Both looked completely adorable.

I knelt beside Jeffy and gently pulled one ankle down until I could get into his warm crotch, where I began slurping and sucking his sweaty morning wood. From the first touch of my tongue, he tasted salty. I lavished swirls of lust all around his soft, rosy cap, loving the feel of him, the shape of him - not to mention, the little, salty hints of nectar that oozed from his tiny, rounded cleft. 'I love boys' cocks!' I thought, as I swallowed his entire four inches. 'Beautiful, sweaty, yummie boy cock! I wish I could suck every boy on the Strip!'

Before I knew it, Jeffy heaved a groan, his eyes as big as saucers, his body doubled over and my mouth was flooded with his rich, salty pearljam. I wasn't sure he was really even awake, but his body quivered and shook as I watched blue-eyed bliss invade his dream state. His squirting stopped, but his body continued to tremble, then finally, he relaxed and laid back, panting.

"Oh my God!" Jeffy breathed, staring at the rafters above us. "What an awesome way to wake up!"

I crawled up along his body, his golden, hair-stippled belly rolling up and down, the glittering swirls on his chest heaving. "Did you like that?" I asked, smiling, and I kissed his cheek.

He looked at me with bliss, love and gratitude mingled in liquid blue; his lips met mine and stayed, until his breath forced an opening.

I put a finger to his lips to shoosh him, then got up and moved over to Kevin, who was still sleeping peacefully, facing away from us. I moved beside him, then bent down to put my face to his crotch. I could feel the heat of his boy boner on my lips as I drew near.

I touched him tenderly, kissing the light pink tip, then pushed the foreskin back with my lips. I flicked his smooth cap and circled around it with my tongue. Just as I had done last night, I swallowed his five-inch shaft and felt his foreskin roll over the tip as I drew back. I would need more practice at "skinning" him, but still, I loved it. I loved the feel of his extra skin, and the extra little salty sweat beneath it; I loved the way it rolled up and down his shaft, even though I had to be careful to give him the right amount of friction, and not rely just on the rolling of it; and I loved the way I could feel his hard shaft inside it, like a thin, warm bag of feeling and sensitivity over a rod of steel.

As I worked Kevin's stiffy and caressed his tender balls, he woke up. He propped himself up on his elbows and smiled down at me as I circled and flicked and swallowed him. In about two minutes, I was rewarded with more mouthfuls of wonderful, salty kidcum spurting into the back of my throat. I gulped from his fountain of youth until the last dribbles were gone, and I was left with a breathless, naked boy with his legs spread wide and satisfaction on his sweet, smiling face.

"OK, you two," I said. "Get showered and dressed, and let's get some breakfast. I have a few things I want to do today!" While they were at the end of the loft, peeing out the window, I scrambled down to the main floor and out the back door. There, I walked into twin showers of golden piss that arched from above. It was warm and smelly, but I rubbed it all over me anyway. When my boys' streams stopped, I turned on the faucet and caught my breath as I stepped into the cold spray.

A moment later, Kevin and Jeffy emerged from the back door with towels and liquid soap. The three of us lathered up and fondled each other, then rinsed and dried.

Back on the second-level loft, Kevin went to retrieve his meager belongings from Josh and Danya's area. Jeffy and I continued up to the third-level loft.

I rummaged around my rucksack and pulled out my last clean shirt - a blue-checkered, button-down shirt that I almost never wore because most of the buttons wouldn't stay closed. I pulled it over my shoulders, not bothering to button it, then grabbed the same cut offs I'd worn yesterday and pulled them up my legs.

I heard a thump from the top of the ladder and looked to see Kevin climbing up over a big, tangled wad of clothes; the thump having come from a heavy belt buckle that flopped on the floor. The naked adolescent gathered up his stuff and came to my side, depositing his things beside my rucksack.

"What should I wear, Master?" Kevin asked.

"Master?" I echoed. "You don't have to call me master - unless you want to."

"Yes, Master," he said.

I chuckled. "You can wear whatever you want."

"I want to look good for you, and sexy," he said. "I want you to be proud of me!"

"I am proud of you," I said. "And I think you look sexy in just about anything you wear."

From the pile, he pulled out a pair of denim cut offs and held them up. "How about these?" he asked. He turned them around so I could see that the backside had holes worn in them.

"Oh, yeah, those look interesting," I said. "Let me see you in them."

He smiled and stepped into them. They fit very snugly and, when he turned around, I saw beautiful patches of bare, ivory skin, and even a hint of cleft just above the waist band.

"Oh, yes!" I said. "Very nice!"

"Just like Jimmy Legs!" Jeffy remarked.

"Who's Jimmy Legs?" I asked.

"A boy on the Strip," Jeffy said. "He wears holey shorts just like that all the time - he's really sexy!"

"You'll have to introduce me sometime," I said. "But for now, let's get some breakfast!"

Kevin grabbed a snug, holey shirt and pulled it over his head; it left a good six inches of his midriff bare. Likewise, Jeffy pulled on snug cut offs and a short t-shirt.

"I like this," Jeffy said, tugging on the opened edges of my shirt; his fingers brushed my bare belly. I grabbed the front of his shirt and ripped it wide open, leaving only the collar holding it together. I carefully tugged and pulled, and ripped the collar loose all the way around his shoulders, leaving it for him to pull off over his head. As soon as I finished with Jeffy's shirt, Kevin wanted the same, so I ripped his shirt open also.

"Jeffy, go down and get the twins ready, please," I asked as I continued to work on the collar of Kevin's shirt; his was proving a little more difficult. Jeffy scampered down the ladder, eager to show off his new look to the younger boys.

Soon, Kevin was also sporting the new look and we went down to meet the others. Jeffy had both twins ready, wearing red bikinis and short, white t-shirts.

"Tare our shirts, too!" Nick called as he ran to me.

"Yeah, tare our's, too!" Nathan echoed.

"Let's go to breakfast," I said. "I'll work on your shirts later." I herded them all down the stairs and out of the barn.

Once we were settled at a table in the buffet, with plates piled high before us, I worked on the twins' t-shirts, ripping them open and removing the collars. I drew a few odd looks as I ripped their shirts, but several people smiled or snickered as the twins strutted about showing off their new look.

Of course, our conversation turned to the boys on the Strip, where they hung out and what they did. Sex was very big around here; it was a major industry.

"Every time a boy cums, an angel gets his balls," Kevin said as we ate.

"What?" I chuckled.

"That's what my stepdad always said."

"Well, then, I guess I've given a lot of angels their balls!" I said.

Kevin giggled.

"Did he make you cum a lot?" I asked.

Kevin's demeanor instantly changed, becoming downcast and somber.

"I'm sorry," I said. "I didn't mean to bring up bad memories."

"Our cousin made us cum!" Nick said.

"Yeah, and he got into lots of trouble for it, too!" Nathan added.

"His name was Davey," Nick said.

"He was fourteen," Nathan added.

"We were camping," Nick said, "and Mom caught him sucking our dicks."

"When we got back home, they took him away," Nathan added. "We never saw him again!"

"He fucked me a lot," Kevin said. "Every day... but whenever I cummed, he would whip me with a switch!"

I took his hand and squeezed reassuringly. "I'll never whip you," I said. "I love it when you cum!"

After breakfast, we went down the block and across the street, to Hansen's Planetary Outfitter Store. I noticed a sign in the window, saying they could outfit anything from a simple camping trip to a full expedition and colonization project. As we entered, I made a mental note that I would come back here, if I ever got the chance to develop Grandpa's star system.

Inside, my eyes were greeted first by a row of sparkling, brightly painted air bikes. Nick and Nathan immediately squealed and climbed onto two of them, straddling black leather seats with smooth, golden-haired legs and taking handlebars with hands a little too small for them. Their eyes gleamed with excitement and their smiles were unbridled. Jeffy and Kevin both seemed a bit dazzled by the sight, too, and I had to admit, both bikes and boys looked delightful! That is, until I flipped over the tag on one of the bikes and saw the 3,699 price!

"Sorry, guys," I said. "These are a bit too expensive..."

"Ahhh," they moaned together and slowly dismounted, sliding little, bikini-clad butts from black leather.

I saw a number of hoversleds nearby; I grabbed one and started up the first aisle. To my left, along the wall, were numerous small shelters set up and above them, hanging higher on the wall, were many small tents. Posters showed much larger ones available by order.

To my right was a row of shelves with all sorts of camping equipment, from sleeping bags to cook stoves. I came to a stack of boxes in the middle of the aisle and discovered they were one of the very things I was looking for: inflatable beds! I picked up one and read the description on the box: queen-sized, electro-inflatable, no frame needed... Even the price wasn't too bad: only 38 credits each! I did a quick mental count of the kids in the barn and piled six boxes on the sled.

We moved up and down two more aisles, passing all sorts of sporting equipment. I picked up a volleyball and net, a couple soccer balls, a half-dozen hoverballs and a couple dodgeballs.

The next four aisles had racks of clothing of all sorts, light and heavy. I wondered who would wear such heavy clothing on a hot, desert planet like this! Then I saw a poster of snow-covered mountain tops and skiers, and realized there must be more to this planet than I had seen. I made a mental note to not limit my thinking only to what I saw around me!

Then we came to a long rack of swimwear, everything from deep-diving suits to thongs. I told the boys to pick out whatever they wanted. The twins immediately went to the tiniest thongs they could find, with what I called nut-bags barely bigger than my credit chit!

Both boys quickly pushed their bikinis down their legs, leaving them naked from the chest down, and started pulling the thongs on.

"Hey, guys?" I said. They looked at me quizzically and I pointed to the mirrored dressing rooms just behind them. With thongs tangled about their knees, they hobbled into one small chamber and slowly pulled the tiny garments up around their tender, pink boyhoods. They turned this way and that, posing and admiring themselves in the mirrors, pulling and adjusting the strings that slipped into their cleavages. With the dressing room door wide open, I saw that the thongs, one royal blue and one emerald green, barely contained them.

"What do you think?" Nick asked, turning toward me. Both boys posed and turned fully around, showing off their stretched-out nut-bags and bare butts.

"Very nice!" I said. "But there may be a problem..." I rubbed both boys' crotches, feeling them swell and stiffen in my hands. Even at only slightly over three inches, their bulges pushed the soft fabric away from their abdomens, allowing for tantalizing glimpses at the edges of their sweet, pink boysacks. I slipped a finger inside each one and tickled them lightly, making them aware of the view. "Yeah, OK, that's just about perfect!" I said. They turned to the mirrors and smiled, rubbing themselves further.

Kevin and Jeffy also picked out a couple of very skimpy thongs and came to crowd into the dressing room, pushing the twins out. Kevin pulled the door shut as Jeffy began pushing his cut offs down his silver-haired legs. The twins looked at a few other thongs, then wandered off toward the next aisle. I began looking through the thongs as well.

Moments later, the boys emerged from the dressing room, Kevin wearing a bright green thong and Jeffy a bright yellow one. As with the twins, the small, stretchy nut-bags barely contained them. As they posed and modeled for my approval, my hands went to their crotches and rubbed them into raging bulges. Again, the stretchy fabric was pulled away from their abdomens, allowing glimpses of their ticklish flesh, Kevin's pink and Jeffy's golden brown. "Yeah, I think those will be OK," I said as I continued to tease them. In a minute, both boys jerked and quivered, and thick, white boycream oozed through the tight fabric. "Well, I guess we have to buy those, now!" I said.

"Are you gonna get one, too?" Jeffy asked.

"Yeah, I was thinking about it," I said. "Which one do you think I should get?"

Jeffy and Kevin began looking through the many thongs and I rubbed their bare butts as we moved down the rack. I was getting harder and harder, straining at my cut offs and begging to be handled. Kevin picked out a nice blue thong and held it against my crotch. "It has to be able to keep this inside it," I said, pushing my bulging shorts into his hand.

Jeffy picked out a burgundy thong with a diagonal yellow stripe; the nut-bag looked big enough to contain my eight-incher. I took it and stepped into the dressing room. As I pulled it on, I heard a squeal from the next aisle; I wondered what the twins were getting into. I pulled the thong up and tucked myself into it; the stretchy fabric actually kept me inside and, as with the others, gave only a small glimpse of my ballsack. I opened the dressing room door and modeled it for Jeffy and Kevin.

With nods of approval, they went right to my dick like magnets to steel, and began stroking me. As I was about to explode, I heard another squeal from the next aisle. My cock throbbed and my white fountain spurted through the fabric of the thong, making pearly puddles on the carpet. My orgasm passed all too quickly, and with white goo hanging in a long strand from the front of my thong, which Kevin caught with his finger, I moved around to the next aisle.

I saw the twins in their torn t-shirts and thongs, modeling over-sized hats and sunglasses for each other, laughing and giggling as they posed. Kevin caught up with me and, with his finger, wiped more goo from my obscenely bulging thong, then put it in his mouth. Jeffy also caught up, having gathered all our shorts from the dressing room and piled them on the hoversled, which he towed with one hand.

"Thank you, Jeffy, for doing that," I said, kissing his cheek. He smiled and kissed me back. "OK, guys," I said, turning to the twins. "Put the hats back, unless you really want one!" They tossed the hats back onto the table and inserted the sunglasses back into their rack.

On the next aisle, more squeals erupted from the young boys, and Kevin and Jeffy moved slowly, in awe, mouths agape, eyes wide. Bright colors and gleaming chrome met our eyes; wheels, struts, handlebars, and spokes fired our imaginations; the gates of boy-heaven swung wide! Rows of standing and hanging bicycles stretched before us, to the end of the aisle on both sides.

Nick and Nathan ran down the aisle and pulled two bikes out, one blue, one red. They straddled them with bare crotches and smooth legs, riding a little wobbly back toward us. Kevin and Jeffy looked at me, seeking my thoughts.

"Go ahead," I said, waving an arm to the beautifully simple machines. As they went down the aisle, feeling the seats, squeezing the tires and looking over the frames, I began looking for one for myself also; after all, if they were going to be on wheels, I would have to keep up! I checked a couple price tags and found them fairly reasonable, one was 89 credits and another was 110. As the twins came to me, their eyes begging and pleading for bikes, I checked the tags and saw that both were about 95 credits. I gave them each a kiss and nodded approval.

"Yippie!" they cried together.

I watched as Kevin and Jeffy each pulled out a bike and admired it. Bare crotches sandwiched black seats, flip-flops found pedals, young muscles flexed and gave power. They came toward me, also a little unsteadily; they, too, were not used to riding. "You like these?" I asked as they came close. Both nodded eagerly. Brushing my hands up smooth, bare legs, I checked tags and nodded approval. Big smiles became bigger and I was rewarded with sweet boykisses and hugs. As they rode around the aisles, I picked out a bike for myself.

As I rode to the end of the aisle myself, the store manager met me there. Fortunately, I had the hoversled in tow, so I wasn't going very fast or I might have run into him! "Are you finding everything you need?" he asked.

"Yeah, we are," I replied.

"You're running up quite a tab, there!" he remarked.

"Don't worry, I can pay," I assured him. It was then that I noticed a number of small trailers made for bicycles; most were outfitted for carrying small children, but a couple appeared to be designed for cargo.

"Very well," the man said. "I'll be up front if you have any questions."

"Thank you," I said. He went back to the front counter and I went looking for my boys. I found them gathered around a manikin that was dressed in nothing but a black speedo and which had bright, multi-colored holographic butterflies flitting around it. Beside it was a small table with a couple dozen boxes stacked up in a pyramid.

I picked one up and read the label: "Halo," I said. "Personal holographic body art and protective sun shield. Filters out harsh ultraviolet light and other forms of EM radiation while entertaining with colorful holographic characters. Memory contains over 150 pre-programmed holographic patterns with many more available online. Patterns will shuffle automatically every five minutes unless altered. Recharges by solar energy or electric induction; a full charge provides up to 12 hours continual use. Can also act as homing beacon. And only 35 credits!"

I opened the box and pulled the plastic-wrapped contents out. I moved to Jeffy, unwrapping the parts of the Halo system, and looked quickly at the picture on the box: it looked quite simple to use. I pulled out four bracelets that looked like chain-mail; I slipped one on each of Jeffy's wrists and one on each ankle. I handed him the pink sunglasses that came with it and he put them on. A tiny button on the corner of the rims activated the system.

Suddenly, a deep, dark, rocky cave opened in the middle of Jeffy's chest. Jeffy looked down and watched as scaly hands with big talons grasped the edges of his chest. A green dragon emerged and launched itself into the air, circling around him, spewing red, yellow and purple fire.

"Whoa!" the twins exclaimed.

More dragons quickly joined in circling around Jeffy's body and others slid across his skin. I stuffed the plastic bags into the box and tossed it onto the hoversled, then grabbed four more boxes from the table. In less than two minutes, all of us were surrounded by flocks and swarms of colorful, holographic fish, birds, falling leaves, snow flakes, and geometric shapes.

I looked around as schools of blue and yellow fish swam before my face. I saw that the next aisle had rows of server-bots and survey equipment of all sorts; nothing I would need or could afford now, but maybe, if I ever got Grandpa's system back...

"I want to get some clothes for the other kids, too," I said, moving back toward the racks. "What do you think they would like?" The patterns around us changed and I found myself in a swarm of iridescent bubbles that seemed to pop out of my ears. Jeffy's dragons had crawled back into the cave in his chest and been replaced by orbiting planets, rings and moons. Kevin's birds were now mermaids and sea horses; the twins were surrounded by glittering jewels and winged horses. We went back and slowly made our way up and down the clothing aisles.

"I'll bet Danya would like this!" Jeffy said, picking out a turquoise tank top.

"And Josh would like this," Kevin said, pulling a royal blue button-down shirt from the rack. We picked out many shirts and shorts, even a couple things I thought the girls would like, and several pairs of flip-flops for everyone.

We made our way to the front of the store and rode our bikes slowly along the glass counter there. I saw many more things I would like to have bought, but I didn't want to spend too much money; I wasn't sure when our next holo session would be. We rode through the scanners and the total of our purchases appeared on the manager's holo display: 1,129 credits. I swiped my chit through the reader and moved to the side to transfer all our things from the hoversled to my little bicycle trailer.

When I finished, I headed for the door, passing the other boys, who were drooling over a number of big, shining knives in a display case. "Come on, you guys!" I said. "You don't have any extra fingers!"

Jeffy and Kevin chuckled and turned to follow me.

"What does that mean?" Nick and Nathan asked.

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