Stripes and Spirals

"Hey, 6, do you think you'll be alright here for a while? I've just got to go and check something out..." 5 said. He turned and began walking away from 6 slowly. 6 tried to walk away, back to the Cathedral- he wasn't going to stand, alone, in the middle of emptiness whilst 5 fought off some terrifying monster(or whatever he was planning to do)- but 5 could hear a pin drop.

"No, 6! Stay there..." 5 warned him. He turned again. 6 took a second step. "STAY!"

6 turned back to 5. He looked up at him, his optics shining. "5 Angry?" He said in a timid, squeaky voice.

"No! Look, 6, I'm sorry! It's just, I really need to go and-"5 was rudely interrupted by a sudden crashing noise over in the distance. He immediately darted off towards the source of the noise, telling 6 to 'wait there' (again) as he ran.

6 was alone. He knew he couldn't go back to the Cathedral; 5 would only be angry with him again. 6 didn't like making people angry. He made 1 angry quite often. When 1 was angry there was nothing to stop him doing what he liked. Except 7. But even she had been unable to stop 1 when he'd banished 6 to the emptiness...

But that's another story. 6 was safe now; thanks to the help of the other stitchpunks, 1 had let him back into the Cathedral (but 6 still wasn't treated any better by 1 than before). But he didn't feel safe. The others had warned him- anything could happen to a lone stitchpunk with no weapons in the middle of the emptiness. That's why he'd never been allowed out alone. That is until now.

6 sat on the cold ground. He began shaking uncontrollably. 6 was scared. He didn't know what to do. He had to stay where he was, but he didn't know what was out there in the cold, vast emptiness. 6 decided that the best thing to do would be to go to sleep. That way, he wouldn't have to sit and worry, but he could stay where he was as well. So 6 curled up and drifted off into his dreamland...

"Snoring!" A voice giggled.

6 jumped. Where had that voice come from? Who was it? 5? No, it was a girls' voice. 7? No, this voice sounded too... squeaky.

6 sat up. There was no one there. "H-hello?" He stuttered.

No reply. 6 shuddered. Maybe he was still asleep, and this was just some random dream. 6 pinched his arm to check this theory. "Ouch!"He squealed. So 6 wasn't dreaming. Well, he was probably just hearing things. 6 curled up again and-

"Stripy!" There it was again. The same voice. He couldn't have imagined the same voice twice, could he?

"Scared." 6 shuddered again. This was scaring him. He hugged his legs to his chest and tried to calm himself. This was working for him, and after a few minutes he hadn't heard the voice again. His hearing was just playing tricks on him and-

6 felt a hand grab his shoulder. "Surprise!" Squealed the voice. 6 turned. Stood right in front of him was a little stitchpunk, maybe a few inches shorter than him. She had a wide, childish grin on her happy face, and, like him, she had oddly sized optics. But the most amazing thing about her was the beautiful spiral pattern sewn up her body. Its' intricate detail and elegant swirls fascinated 6.

"Spirals!" 6 said, amazed.

"Stripes!" Giggled Spirals.

"Explore?" 6 asked. He thought that maybe 5 had forgotten about him by now, so there was no point hanging around being bored for any longer.

"Sure!" Spirals smiled a smile that was miles wide.

So off wandered the two stitchpunks, both positively beaming with glee. 6 was happy to have made a new friend, especially at a time when he had been feeling particularly alone and frightened.

After wandering for about an hour (having little conversation since, as 6 had found out, Spirals could only answer with words beginning with the letter's') they came across a small wooden shed. And, this being an even more unusual thing to find in the emptiness, they found that the shed was in pretty much perfect condition, except a shattered window here and a missing plank of wood there.

"Shed!" Spirals exclaimed with delight.

"Inside?" 6 enquired.

Spirals nodded. The stitchpunks, being so small, had to pull very hard to open the wooden door. But once it was revealed what was behind it, they knew that this was worth their efforts.

Shelves and shelves lined each and every wall in the shed. There must have been about half a dozen on each wall. But what was most amazing was what was on these shelves. Tubes of paint of every colour imaginable lined two of walls. 6 stared at these and in his head he named each of them; he knew all of the colours from a brilliant book about painting that the twins had lent him from the library. On the other wall were tubs of plasticine, which were also in many different colours.

"Super!" Spiral beamed; she was also astonished.

Then they saw a small woven basket over in a corner of the shed.

"Collect paint! Collect plasticine!" 6 beamed. After all, no one would even own the shed anymore, so they weren't stealing.

So the two friends pulled the basket over to the shelves. Spirals clambered up onto the lowest shelf and carefully dropped tubes of paint down into the basket that 6 was holding down on the floor. She repeated this until this until this shelf was empty, then clambered back down and ran to the shelves of plasticine, and collected these too, until the basket was full of their materials.

"Now, Cathedral!" 6 exclaimed. They pushed the basket, which was now quite heavy, out through the door and back into the emptiness. As they heaved, 6 explained what they were going to do with the paint and plasticine when they got back to the Cathedral (and for that matter what the Cathedral was):

First, they would paint the walls of the throne room in many different colours, to brighten up the place a bit.

Then, the two friends would make a plasticine model of each of the other 8 stitchpunks, and give them all to them as gifts.

"Several stitchpunks?" Spirals asked. She didn't know there were others...

"Yes. You will see..." 6 smiled suspiciously.

When they eventually arrived back at the Cathedral (which Spirals thought was 'Super!') 6 ran to a loose floorboard next to 1's throne and heaved it up. Below this floorboard was a collection of his drawings, which he had hidden here secretly a few months ago. 6 pulled out a drawing that he done at the stitchpunks' annual Christmas party. It was of all of them, even 1 (who happened to be wearing a Santa Clause costume- also another story...).

6 ran back over to Spirals and showed her the drawing. He pointed to each stitchpunk in turn and told Spirals who each of them were (she giggled at 8, who was dressed as an elf). They would use this picture to copy when they made the models.

"Paint time!" 6 exclaimed. He tried to paint stripes on the walls, but couldn't reach up very high. 6 hadn't thought this through. He sighed.

Then something amazing happened. Spirals' feet slowly and gently lifted off the ground, until she was almost above 6's head. Then she gently grabbed his hand and slowly lifted him to her height. They flew up and 6, armed with a brush and paint, painted the rest of the walls with a simple yet effective stripy pattern of blue and indigo. Spirals placed him back on the ground and 6 stood back to admire his work.

Then Spirals, never in lack of surprises, flew back up and paint an intricate white spiral pattern entwining with 6's stripes. It looked just like the pattern on her body. She dropped back down to earth and stood with 6.

The room looked amazing. The detailed spirals worked perfectly with the simple stripes.

"Wow!" Said 6.

"Super!" Said Spirals.

"Spirals fly!" 6 exclaimed, still in awe of his new friend.

Spirals nodded. She pointed over to the Christmas picture. Now it was time to make the models.

Copying the picture carefully, the friends made models of all of the stitchpunks. They were perfect. Each had the exact facial details. Each had the exact hands and feet. Each had the exact buttons/ buckles/ zips etc.

When they'd finished their work, Spirals and 6 smiled at each other. This confirmed their friendship. And it was to be a great friendship at that, even without a great deal of conversation between the two.

Just that second, the throne room doors flew open to reveal 1, standing in the doorway looking tired and grumpy (not much difference there then...!). He was just about to storm over to 6 and lecture him about 'not obeying his orders', when he noticed the walls.

1 stared at the walls. Although his face showed no emotions (except surprise), 6 thought he saw a glimmer of a smile. But that faded quickly...

"WHAT HAVE YOU DONE TO MY THRONE ROOM? How stupid can a stitchpunk be?" 1 screamed at 6. "So, first you think it's okay to come back here, before I say so, when you are meant to be out in the emptiness. And then, you paint my throne room with some stupid pattern! I mean, what do you think you were doing?" 1 blabbered on.

Spirals stood up. 1 hadn't even glanced at her. She wanted to stop his shouting; she knew it was upsetting 6, so it was upsetting her.

Spirals took a few frightened steps toward the elder stitchpunk, with the plasticine 1 that 6 and she had made just an hour ago in her hand. She took a deep breath and walked right up to 1.

1 looked at Spirals. He took a double take. "And you reckon bringing a friend back here without my permission is acceptable! I didn't even know there were any more..." 1 looked at his plasticine self, still in Spirals' hand. She held it out to him.

1 took the model. He studied it for a few moments, taking in its accuracy and detail. What 1 like most about his plasticine model was how it showed what a true leader he was, with his slightly billowing cape and tall staff.

But there was a significant difference between 1 and his plasticine self. Plasticine 1 was smiling.

"This is me?" 1 asked Spirals.

She nodded, still slightly cautious of the elder.

"Well, um, it's very, er..."

What 1 had meant to say was that this gift was satisfactory. Not brilliant, not generous, just satisfactory. He never liked to compliment people. But in the back of his mind, 1 knew that this was the nicest present he'd ever been given. It was also the most sincere; most of the presents he received were from stitchpunks who feared him, or his punishments.

Then the most amazing thing that had happened that day (except meeting Spirals) occurred. 1 smiled. He actually did. And it wasn't a sly smile, nor an evil smile. It was a true smile. Just like the one that he'd given to 9 at their funeral (7 and 9 had brought all of the stitchpunks back-teehee this is also another story...).

Then 1 left the room, probably off to find 8, still clutching his plasticine model. And in walked the rest of the stitchpunks.

"6! Where were you? I was worried sick about you!" 5 said to 6 in a voice that was both anxious and calm.

6 looked at the ground."Sorry,5. Exploring."

"Oh look, don't worry." 5 smiled gently at 6."Just tell me where you're going next time, ok?"

6 nodded. Then he remembered.

"Spirals!" He said, pointing over at the stitchpunk, whom no one had yet noticed.

5 looked at Spirals. Not once, in all of his days of exploring the emptiness, had he even imagined finding another stitchpunk.

"Well, hi there Spirals! Pleased to meet you!" 5 held out his hand to the young stitchpunk. She shook it shyly.

"Look!" 6 ran across the room and presented the rest of the stitchpunks with their plasticine selves. They all thanked him and smiled at how perfect they were. 2 began work on making tools for his model. The twins were waving their plasticine selves about in the air, pretending they were aeroplanes. 5 entertained Spirals with his, making it walk around and tell jokes. 7 hugged 6 and admired his work. 9 nodded and grinned at 6.

But there was something they hadn't noticed. 6 ran to Spirals and took her hand, and they flew up to the ceiling and pointed at the wall.

"Wall!" 6 beamed.

The stitchpunks stared at the brilliance of the newly decorated walls. And at the flying stitchpunks. They were amazed.

"Stripes and..." 6 began.

"Spirals!" Spirals finished.

The Interviews

So, what do you think of Spirals?

1: She's, satisfactory.

2: Spirals? Oh, she's a funny little one, isn't she now! I like her, she's great!

3&4: Clickedy-Click-Click! - Translation: Super!

(Spirals has taught the twins her favourite word)

5: Spirals, she's sweet. Very giggly.

6: Spirals! Friend! Amazing! Can fly!

7: Very smiley. I like what she and 6 did to 1's throne room.

8: *wakes up from afternoon nap* What? Who?

(8 has not yet met Spirals)

9: She brings true smiles to all of our faces. True smiles are always a good thing.