The noise of pod number two became gradually louder as if announcing the next visitor and then the noise became silence. Stooge looked to the pod. There was someone inside, perhaps they were-
Someone jumped out and with a loud voice roared "Merry Christmas!"
The clone was a large man wearing a green robe. Thick red curly hair covered his head and joined a equally thick red beard on his face. His eyes sparkled with happiness and a large smile was on his face.
Stooge was surprised. 'Oh...err....yes...Christmas...' he stammered.
'Christmas is now!' the clone said, his voice strong and booming. 'I am the clone of Christmas Now.'
'But it is...' Stooge began.
'Dinner time!' the clone finished. He clapped his hands. The scene changed.
Bill Catchit sat at the end of a table. At the other end was his wife and at the sides were children, one very small and pale.
Stooge and the clone stood in the corner of the room watching.
Bill Catchit was dividing a small amount of food between them all.
'How was your day?' his wife asked.
'Like other days,' Bill replied. 'Mr Stooge is not a Christmas person.'
'No, he is a grumpy person,' one of the children said.
'Children, we must be grateful to Mr Stooge. Without him your Father would not have money for our food.'
'I feel sorry for him,' the small pale child said. 'He must be very lonely.'
'Oh Tiny Tim,' Bill said smiling sadly. 'You always see the good in people.'
Stooge looked to the floor. He saw his feet. He felt small. He looked back up. The people and the table were fading. Soon they were gone.
Now Stooge was at the house of his Nephew who was with friends. They were talking, laughing.
'So did you invite him?' one of the friends asked.
'Of course,' the Nephew replied. 'He said he was to be busy.'
'And you felt...?'
'Relieved,' the Nephew said. Everyone laughed.
'How can he live down in that bunker?' a woman asked. 'It is so dark and gloomy.'
'He feels at home there,' the Nephew said.
Everyone laughed again.
Stooge turned away. He felt shame, sadness. He looked to the clone. The clone looked different. Older. His face now lined with wrinkle, his hair now grey. A light on the collar around his neck was flashing. There was a strange smell in the air.
'What is happening to you?' Stooge asked.
The clone ignored the question and asked one himself. 'Did you meet them?'
'Meet who?' Stooge responded.
The clone lifted his robe. The robe revealed two children dressed in torn clothes hiding under, both starved and ill. Their faces grey with eyes sunken. 'Meet Ignorance and Want,' the clone said his voice now weak and trembling.
Stooge looked with shock. His shock turned to horror as the clone and the two children began to dissolve in front of him as millions of nanites started their work. A minute later they were gone.
Stooge turned in horror and found the blanket covered his face. He quickly sat up. He was back in the bed in the bunker.
The lights in the bunker stopped. Darkness. Stooge gripped the blanket tightly. The light returned, on, off, on, off, they blinked. In the flashing of light he saw the light above pod number become on. The pod began to hum. Another clone was coming.
Something was different. Stooge wanted to jump out of the bed, run out of the bunker and keep running but was frozen with fear.
This was no dream. It was now a nightmare.