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Free Fiction: Advent 2010 – Day Fifteen

December 17, 2010

(I must preface this by explaining that Trela is the Muse of Insanity. Some of the narrative might not make sense, since this is written from his point of view, but I try my best to word things in a way that still gets the meaning across. It’s always a challenge to get the similes and verb-switching to line up with their meanings when writing Trela, so please bear with me! I hope you enjoy this one! It, much like some of the other advent pieces, ended up much longer than I’d originally intended. XD)

Advent 2010: Day Fifteen

Title: A Special Gift
Characters: Brice, Trela
From: Muted Colors (WIP)
Word Count: 1497
Rating: G


Trela knew what Brice really wanted for the holiday of the long, starry night. Brice never had to say it; Trela just knew, as he knew many things that couldn’t be articulated. It wasn’t an easy thing, being so aware at times, and then losing himself to the insanity that was in his nature.

He rarely complained, though. He knew no other way to be, and it was only when he saw Brice’s heartache that he wished he could be someone different, be the one Brice needed all the time. He was that person most of the time, but not all, and when he wasn’t, he didn’t tend to realize anything was wrong. The clarity in his mind came and went without much warning, like the sunlight behind capricious waves of clouds, and if he tried to push it away for too long, the result was often harder for Brice to accept.

But he knew what Brice wanted as a present, and that’s why he had found Ranae, his pretty tippy-toe dancer of a brother. Ranae had helped him learn what all the little buttons on the picture block did. He was perfectly at home when the voices had spoken to him through the brick. Voices often came from the strangest places for him. He could always hear them on the edges of his mind, bits and pieces, words and images that would have made no sense to anyone else.

He had needed even more help when he tried to talk back to the voices that made the plastic brick vibrate. He had asked them to come over and make the voices speak near the paint and colors so sparkles would light up the blue eyes he loved.

It had sounded quite eloquent in his mind, and he couldn’t understand why the humans didn’t know what he meant.

Alex had come to his rescue and helped translate. Alex was always better at listening to his words. Maybe it was because Alex had lived for so long as a human but was still one of the Muses. Then again, Trela played human quite a lot when he wandered. It was one of his favorite games, but it hadn’t won him the ability to make his thistle-like words like fizzy bubbles so they would float from his tongue rather than remaining stuck in his throat. Maybe the game gave different prizes to each person. Trela was of the opinion that no one lost at life, everyone just got a prize all their own.

The jingle of the bell on the door to the art studio pulled him from his scattered thoughts, and it was like he had suddenly appeared on the stool, the lights bright in his eyes. He smiled, though, not disoriented by the shift. He’d left only a moment ago, but his body had stayed here in this place as he wandered in his mind and remembered the gift he was giving Brice tonight.

“Why the smile, baby?” Brice chuckled from the murky darkness beyond the lights. There were others walking the studio, looking at the canvases Brice had stretched and made colorful, but they didn’t matter so much to Trela. They were just faces tonight, and not the ones he was looking for.

“You make the colors, and they make the eyes sparkle and wheels turn inside,” he explained with a grin, twirling a finger near his head to indicate the wheels inside the mind.

“People like looking at art. The pieces you’ve inspired me to paint make their minds… glow and crackle with new ideas.”

Trela grinned broadly and nodded. He knew Brice was putting the words in a way he could understand, and it made his chest flutter like a net filled with butterflies. The bell at the door jingled again, and he looked over. He recognized these faces from the picture block that had spoken voices to Alex and him, and he bounced on his stool with excitement.

Brice’s words about staying still died like whispers lost in the wind, and he glanced at Brice, seeing that he had followed Trela’s gaze to the door. Brice’s eyes were wide with shock. “Mom… Dad… Sis. What on earth are you all doing here?”

The young woman at the door grinned and shuffled forward, her two children in tow. “We all got phone calls from a certain someone, along with airline tickets in envelopes with colorful designs drawn on them in crayon.”

Brice looked over at him, and he couldn’t help but blush as he bounced down from the stool and closed the distance between them. “You stole my cell phone and flew them up for my art show?” Brice asked, his voice watery in a way that would have made Trela worry if it weren’t for the way his eyes lit up and his lips curved into a smile.

Trela tilted his head. “You said it was a time for presents. My present couldn’t be wrapped like the ones under the glowy tree at home, but…”

“It’s perfect, Trela,” Brice laughed, pulling him close for a kiss that sent his thoughts fizzle-popping.

When they parted, Trela didn’t mind that Brice’s attention went to the group. He just sat down on the floor and watched. This made Brice’s niece and nephew look at him funny, and he grinned at them.

“You’re the one that drew on the envelopes?” the boy, Tristan, asked suspiciously. Trela nodded, and Tristan’s nose crinkled. “You’re not as good at coloring as Brice.”

“I thought it was pretty,” Jenny argued. She was smaller than Tristan, but Trela instantly liked her. Brice had described her, and he’d liked her then, too. They exchanged a smile, and she pulled away from her mother’s arm to sit on the floor next to Trela. “Uncle Brice says you make him happy. I got to ride on a plane for the first time to get here and visit. You’ve made all of us happy, too.”

Trela rocked on the floor, his knees pulled to his chest. “I like making eyes glitter. Then they go hand in hand with the globes and lights in the trees. They match.”

“Mommy calls it Christmas Spirit, wanting to give just because making other people smile makes you happy. Santa’s like that, too,” Jenny gigged, understanding him without Alex there to translate for him. Children were always easier to talk to, and their minds moved at the same fast pace as his, taking in everything at once and wandering with bright imaginings. “Do you like the snow?”

“Yes!” Trela gasped, glancing out the windows to where the white flakes fell through the night air. He stopped rocking in order to cross his legs, his inhumanly green eyes sparkling with joy.

Jenny grinned and stood up. She tugged at her mother’s sleeve. “Mommy, can we go out and play in the snow with Trela?”

Several pairs of eyes turned to Trela, and he blushed. It hadn’t been his idea, but they all wanted to blame him for it. He hoped Jenny didn’t mind. After a few seconds, everyone agreed there was no harm in having some fun in the snow while the adults caught up. Brice insisted his brother-in-law go as well, just to keep an extra eye out on them in the park across the street, and when Trela stood, ready to dash out into the snow, he found himself pulled aside.

“You,” Brice breathed against his lips, “are amazing. Bundle up and have fun. I love you.”

Trela grinned and kissed the lips that were so close, loving the way Brice’s stubble scratched lightly against his face. His present was making Brice happy, and that’s all that mattered to him. Well, getting to play in the snow mattered, too, but not nearly as much. His mind was lucid and clear as he whispered, “I love you, too.”

Brice helped him into his brightly colored scarf, gloves, and coat. Trela hadn’t remembered where Brice had stowed the warm clothing, and it made him happy to rediscover the patterns and colors as he was dressed for the snow. He took Jenny’s hand when she reached up for him, and the bell rang as they were herded out the door.

Looking back through the snow-lined window of the studio, his eyes caught Brice’s, and he could sense Brice’s happiness like a deep laugh wrapped in multicolored fragments of glass that caught the flashing lights strung up all over the snowy park and lamp posts. It was an emotion that warmed him through, and after a couple seconds of just basking in it, an impatient tug at his hand brought his attention back to Jenny.

They skipped across the street to the park and all but dove into the snow. Brice might have been worried about how Trela would act around his family, but if Jenny was any indication, Brice had nothing at all to worry about. They were family.

Trela’s gift was complete.

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