Brothers: A Story from the Spiral Part One

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Literature Text

by Kristy Cunningham

This is the tale of how James and Christian first meet, and how they become "brothers-in-name".  Some of this might be told in the comic later and snippets of backstory might be construed as some to spoilers, so be advised.  But for those that need more now, enjoy the short here.

James Hartwell sat on a rock on a strange planet waiting for his mother to return from a visit with an old friend.  He'd never been to any planet Earth before, but decided he didn't like it on account of how loud the inhabitants were in his mind.  The voices were so wracked with choices that this planet alone must be responsible for half of the worlds within the Spiral.  He had to work hard to push the voices and feeling out, which was much harder for a four year old Named One than an Elder.  He held his breath, concentrating on the wind moving through the curls of his white-gold hair and the kiss of the soft yellow sun on his pale skin.

As the voices subsided, he closed his eyes slowly, curious as to whether his initial thought about Earth was true.  When James closed his eyes, he could see the possible pasts and futures falling like a snow of manifold destinies around him the way the Named always had.  However his own trajectory, a right and wrong way beamed before him like a lighthouse on an empty shore.  He knew there was something special about the way he moved through the Spiral.  He played them out, moving them and turning them in his mind, simultaneous and infinite, and his fingers danced the air. "Playing the Universe" they called it, and even among the Named to do so was a rare and often passing Gift.

It was how his Name emerged from the Spiral, resonant. At least, that was the story he could read in the Melody, spinning in a record of divergent, resonant Times.

It wasn't his name though, that emerged from the melody of silence to interrupt his play. It was an intruder's.

"I'm Felix."

James blinked, the possibilities drifting to the ground deadening before his lavender eyes.  There was a boy in front of him, taller, stouter, with a broad grin across his face.  James thought he looked a little like a Named One, but somehow different ... Earthier was the word that crossed his mind.

"Hello?" the younger boy queried.

"Hi, I'm Felix."  James thought this was an odd repetition, but he could feel the older boy's confusion as he looked into his cheery green eyes.  James knew he was missing the point of this strange interruption from Felix's emotions, but had no idea what he was supposed to do.  Felix extended his hand in an unfamiliar, open-palmed gesture.

"Felix is my Name," he continued, with the bolt of resonance that told James exactly what he meant by that. One strange breach of etiquette followed another, as Felix took James's hand forcibly and pumped it up and down.

Felix twisted his lips into a strange frown, running his thick fingers through a mop of bowl cut plain brown hair.  It struck James as a very human color, then he wondered what the word human meant.

"It is nice to meet you?" James finally mustered.

The other boy's smile returned as he nodded, that odd brown hair tipping up and down.  It seemed like such a strange color to James.  "Now you tell me your Name.  I haven't met you yet."

"My name is James," he replied.  He knew exactly what Felix meant, but it was unreasonable to ask someone for their Name like that.  There were only handful of reasons to give anyone your Name and meeting a stranger was not one of them.  He knew that from his mother and the incredible press of the Culture of the Named Ones on his mind.

"That's your common name, no fair. I didn't give you my common name first." The other boy's eyes bubbled like he was about to cry at what James could feel was an incredible injustice.  "I could have just said, 'Hi, I'm Christian' or 'Hi, I'm Christian Rafferty' but I told you my Name."

Felix/Christian looked about to burst with unfairness, which was over-dramatic but genuine. James had never felt such a wave of that kind of emotion.  His kind restrained emotions because of their capacity to feel each others' in times of duress. It made it easy to recognize true need.  However, Felix's emotions seemed to be on high voltage at all times.  This was overwhelming to the young Named One and he frowned sympathetically, trying to decide.  He wondered if he played the Universe if it would tell him to concede, but he couldn't concentrate on his Gift with Felix's intense emotions flooding his mind.

After what felt like hours, which was really only seconds, James conceded to what was a very ridiculous request.  "If it means so much to you ... my Name is Derkesthai."

The other boy brightened immediately and he gave James a heavy smack on the shoulder that he guessed was a gesture of happiness.  "Great, we're brothers now!" he declared, and then embraced the shocked younger boy.


"We have each others' Names and now we're brothers."  That incredible grin was back and Felix's joy flooded over James almost like nausea.  He had to work not to be overcome by the emotion and reflect it back at this new found relative.

"That's not how that works ..." James muttered.

"Why not?"

"Because ..." The boy realized he didn't have a good answer.

"Can't we say it does?"

"Um ..." James opted to answer a question with a question. "Why do you want to be brothers?"

The older boy paused and scratched his head.  James now could see how strange his clothes seemed, trousers keep straight by strange straps and a grass stained shirt half untucked and his buttons were all out of line. Was this how humans dressed?  He got the feeling that again he was missing something important about Felix.

"It's meant to be?" he finally suggested to James.

James raised an eyebrow.  "But you're ... human." He tasted the strange word on his tongue.

"Not all! I'm half like you." That resonance struck James again. He was half human and half Named One, with a strange tie to James' own Name.

"It is written," James sighed.

Felix wiped his arm across his brow, which smudged dirt across it.  "Deep. Wanna play?"

To avoid another outburst, James nodded.  His mother would be able to find him with his Name anyway.

"Come on, then, I know this great old tree that's fun to climb.  You'll like it."  Felix dashed off toward a line of trees at the edge of the grassy meadow where James had been told to wait.  James followed, cautiously, wondering if he could find a way to escape his new "brother." He'd much rather be "Playing the Universe."
Next: [link]

This is the tale of how James and Christian first meet, and how they become “brothers-in-name”. Some of this might be told in the comic later and snippets of backstory might be construed as some to spoilers, so be advised. But for those that need more now, enjoy the short here.

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SpiraxDracowolf's avatar
I really love this part! It is so sweet and innocent. You've written the scene wonderfully and the concept of swapping names and becoming brothers reminds me of how kids really do play together. I'm off to read the second part now!
Have you thought of releasing the story as a book on its own too?