The snowflakes fell silently, settling quickly onto the London Streets, the chillingly cold night air stung Adam’s face as he hurried home after staying late at the office. The pavements were already slippery and he was glad when he finally reached his front door, the warmth that met him as he entered his house was comforting. Taking off his coat and hanging it in the hall, he went into the kitchen to make himself a hot cup of tea, it was times like this that he wished he had a girlfriend or wife to come home to, dinner on the table waiting for him and someone to share his day with. Adam had always been a bit of a loner though, there were girls he had fancied at work, but he was more into computers and gadgets than things that women liked to talk about, so he found it hard to chat to them. One girl, Poppy Jones had been very friendly, buying him a coffee and asking him about himself, but he thought that she was just being kind, as she was very pretty, and he imagined that she was out of his league anyway. “Oh well, I can dream”, he thought to himself as he sat down in front of his computer and sipped the hot tea. He could relax for a few days now, it was Christmas Eve and he didn’t have to go back to work until the New Year.
Instead of getting himself something to eat, Adam decided to log into Second Life and see if there was anything going on. He had only joined the previous week so he was very much a newbie. He had first rezzed into Hyde Park in Virtual London and he found things a little confusing, but the people were kind and he soon found a ‘Greeter’ welcoming him and also giving him a make-over with a new skin, hair and clothes. He had called himself Charlie Moongazer in SL, even if he did say so himself, his avatar looked quite handsome. He had stayed by the Dell Café in Hyde Park most of the time as he was still unsure about exploring, but he liked to listen to the chat going on there too, even joining in now and again.
Logging in, he was once again in the park near the café, but the place was deserted, they must have re-started the sim and told everyone to leave, he thought to himself. The park looked different, with a scattering of snow on the ground, and just like real life, snowflakes gently fell, only this time he wasn’t getting cold, he was cosy and warm with his cup of tea as he sat at his keyboard. He decided to hang around and see if anyone came by, so he stood for a while near the water’s edge. He began to feel very lonely, where were the usual crowd? What was going on? Suddenly he heard the soft fall of horse’s hooves on the snowy grass. Peering through the trees he could see a large white horse heading towards him, it was only as it got closer that he could see that it was no ordinary horse, but a mystical unicorn. The unicorn avatar was called Twilight Mist and he stopped a short distance from Charlie gazing at him.
Pawing the snow with his hoof, Twilight said “Charlie, how are you this fine Christmas Eve?” Charlie was pleased that Twilight wanted to talk, the sim was getting tedious with no one there and it was too early for the Underground Club’s special party tonight. “I’m fine” said Charlie “that’s a great avatar you have by the way” he added. “Ah yes, said Twilight, I have mystical powers too with this Unicorn shape, if I told you a little secret you would probably not believe it” he chuckled throwing his head back and whinnying. Charlie laughed too, he thought how funny it was that people really got into role playing, even believing they have magic powers.
SL appeared to be quite deserted tonight, people had probably gone late-night shopping for last minute Christmas presents and some may have gone out for the evening to see their friends and families, or just thought they would watch those seasonal repeats shown on the television each year instead of venturing into SL. Twilight gazed at Charlie through his soft brown eyes and using his very real magical powers he could see into Charlie’s soul, reading Charlie’s shyness. “Do you want to come for a ride with me?” Twilight asked “we can explore some of the Christmas sites and see who we can find.” Well why not, Charlie thought, it sure beats standing here where there is nothing going on, “Yes” said Charlie “I’d really like that!”. “Jump up onto my back” Twilight said, and Charlie climbed on clutching the long white mane on Twilight’s neck. He noticed that the unicorn had the tip of his golden horn missing and wondered why this should be, as whoever made the avatar would surely have completed the horn. But he thought he had better not ask.
Twilight flew up into the air high above the London rooftops and suddenly sped off, dashing like the wind! Charlie hung on as best he could, as they crossed the vast SL ocean until they reached a snow covered landscape with a sparkling crystal castle set high on a hill. The unicorn began to slow down, landing softly into a large open area. “Charlie we will have a little rest here” Twilight said, as Charlie leapt to the ground. A gentle whinny was heard, as another smaller unicorn came to greet them. Twilight and the little unicorn, called Mistletoe Song, nuzzled against each other with their soft velvety noses. The little unicorn looked like crystal and her white coat shone in the moonlight. Mistletoe said hello to Charlie as she stood close to Twilight. Twilight said “Mistletoe and I have to leave you Charlie, have a look around before you go” and before Charlie could answer the two unicorns melted into the frosty grass leaving a trail of silver stars in their wake. It was then that Charlie noticed the newbie girl sitting on a bench, she sat staring at the floor and seemed very sad.
Charlie went over to the lonely figure and said hello. Pansy Moonstone looked up at Charlie and smiled. “Hi Charlie, nice to meet you” she said. She liked the look of Charlie, he wasn’t one of those six foot muscled avatars covered in tattoos, he looked more normal and friendly, more like the sort of person she would like in real life. She had seen Charlie arrive with Twilight and told him that Mistletoe had also found her alone and offered to bring her here for a ride. They laughed together at the thought of matchmaking unicorns in SL, but thought it was nice of Mistletoe and Twilight to try to help people.
Charlie found that he could talk to Pansy without feeling embarrassed, she too found Charlie easy to get on with, as if she had known him before, their conversation just flowed. There was a small ice rink just outside the castle walls and Charlie asked Pansy if she wanted to skate for a little while. Getting the free skates at the edge of the rink, they got onto the ice and Charlie offered his hand to Pansy as they skated around laughing and smiling as they told each other about themselves. Pansy and Charlie soon realised that they both came from London in real life and as they chatted it soon became apparent that their paths had crossed in the real world too. Charlie was stunned as Pansy told him that she worked for the same company that he did and Pansy was equally surprised. Out of this vast SL grid with it’s thousands of people the two of them had been brought together by two strangers, Twilight and Mistletoe. Pansy was Poppy Jones the girl that Adam had fancied in work. They found that talking in SL had been so much easier as both of them had been a little bit shy in real life and this gave them a chance to see that they had so much in common, Adam found that he could chat to Poppy and they really enjoyed being together.
Adam asked Poppy if she had any plans for tonight and she told him that she was just staying in. He suggested that they meet at the giant Christmas tree in the London Square near where they both worked and Poppy readily agreed, she had liked Adam for a long time, but had never managed to get him to talk to her much in work.
Later that evening they met up, the Christmas tree looked beautiful, covered in twinkling white lights and people had gathered around it to sing Carols and meet their friends. Poppy and Adam held hands just like they did in SL, both of them feeling the excitement of new beginnings and happiness that they had finally been brought together. Walking closer to the tree they could see the ornaments, bows and shiny glass orbs between the white lights. Then Adam spotted a couple of ornaments hanging closely together from the spiky Christmas tree branches, two little unicorns, one with the tip of his horn missing the smaller one looking like crystal. Adam held Poppy’s hand tightly as he pointed out the unicorn ornaments. They could not be sure, but they thought they both heard a soft whinnying sound from the tree. “Thank you” mouthed Adam to the tiny figures and Poppy smiled at him with tears in her eyes. They could not find the friendly unicorns in Second Life, the names did not exist, so Twilight did have magical powers after all!
A Very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to Everyone in Second Life!