Joy Of Fingerpainting


s_delia_icon.gif s_matt_icon.gif

Scene Title Joy Of Fingerpainting
Synopsis Bob Ross hasn't taught these two how to paint happy little trees… but they've figured out how to paint happy little dogs made of cheese.
Date January 11, 2011


Colorful footprints mark the white rug like steps on the floor of a dance studio. There’s red for the cha-cha, green for the tango, blue for the polka, yellow for the waltz, all mixed into a glorious pattern on the carpet.

It’s not on purpose. In fact, it’s quite by accident.

In the oversized bed, lays the catatonic figure, still staring at the inky haired black stick figure pasted to the wall. She doesn’t blink or move, covered in a shadow that acts like a veil between her and the fun times around her. Shading her from enjoyment and protecting her from laughter. Her cornflower blue eyes are unblinking, making it difficult to discern whether she is real or simply a mannequin or wax figure.

The little girl will never tell.

“No Cheza… right here!” The squeaky chirp of the springy haired child instructs the large dog beside her. Sitting, the half-wolf is nearly as tall as she is. “When you paint a picture you have to put your signature there.” And a mottled green-brown handprint is placed against the paper in the lower right hand corner. “See? That says DEEEE-LEEEE-AAAAAHHH.”

The canine’s quizzical glance at the little girl accompanies the sharp bark and a tongue loll of happiness. The scent of lavender and mint is overwhelming in such a small place, infusing everything with its scent. Her scent.

The dog’s long tail thumps against the carpet, spilling one of the little pots of finger-paint and creating new and fresher prints against the carpet. It doesn’t seem to bother the little girl in the least. Wrapping a blue hand around the dog’s neck, Delia presses her head against Cheza’s cheek and they sit there for a long moment. Contemplating their work of art.

There isn't much difference between the floorplan of apartment 504, where the young red-headed woman lies sleeping, and that of apartment 404, where the only young woman who could possibly call it home is currently in the luxury complex's gym. That leaves her father to do what single fathers do best when left alone by their teenage daughters.


But Matt like many when faced with a menial task, Matt's mind wanders. And a mind like Matt's wanders to the minds of others, if only casually. But the faint, familiar texture of a mind he's met before in a completely different context makes him pause as he reaches under Molly's bed to grab balled up socks. Slowly, so as not to break the gentle touch he has on that mind, he pulls his hand back and reaches out further with his mind, stretching to find it.

That's when he looks up.

Three minutes later finds Matt precariously balanced between Molly's headboard and night stand, his fingers touching the white ceiling of the otherwise pink and purple room. The closer he can get, the better. The closer he can get…

What is it?

The voice is a whisper that echoes from somewhere nonspecific, curious and gentle, yet without any real indication of form.

Both the dog and the little girl look around the room simultaneously, as though their heads were attached together with an invisible wire. Wide blue eyes roll around in eyesockets framed by delicate brown lashes, giving the child an appearance much like a china doll. Wiping the muddy green hand down the bib of her dress, she glances to her playmate and catches the canine’s jade eyes with her own.

“Chay-zaaaah… did you talk?”


The confused mewl of the half-wolf is an answer that only the little girl can understand… or maybe just pretends to understand. “Really? But Queen Mary Unicorn doesn’t talk like that. She towks loike this~ Loike she’s singin’ a music~ In Eenglish~! Because awl propah queenies are English you knew~.” The sing-song operatic voice is off tune enough that the dog’s ears flatten to her skull and she curls a lip in complaint. “You think we should answer?”

Looking at the pink sock rabbit, Delia shrugs and shakes her head… is if answering a silent question. “I dunno…” Then she looks up to the ceiling and calls out louder, “It’s a mountain of diamonds and hooters!” Sure enough… on the paper is a triangular shape made of blue, filled with little brown thumbprint owls.

There is a pause before the voice response - a pause that is tense with restraint. Then, right before the whisper echoes out again, the tension releases with what might be a sigh.

I knew a queen once.

The echoing whisper that seems to come from everywhere and nowhere all at once causes the young girl to frown and hug the dog tighter. "Cheza… I think Santa is watching us." It's after Christmas but the little girl didn't get to celebrate, she's still holding out. "Quick! We have to clean up!" In a rush to pick up sheets of painted paper that are scattered all over, two more pots are spilled on the carpet. The red and yellow ooze together, marbling before mixing to create orange.

This stops the little girl in her tracks.

"OoOoOOooo! Orange!" A quick look toward the dog and two little hands an one paw dip into the gooey paint, squishing it into the white fibers before slopping what remains onto a fresh piece of paper. "Look Cheza! It's like CHEESE!" Four stick legs and two green eyes later, another hand and paw print combo is stamped into the lower right hand corner. "See Cheza? It's you! Made of CHEESE!!"


There's a sound that can only be described as muted laughter, but the pitch is low. It's not hard to imagine a bowl full of jelly accompanying it. I'm not Santa, cuts through the general, if gentle mirth. But it is very pretty. Are you…

Do you still have Hugh?

There's a hangdog expression and the slide of guilty blue eyes toward the floor as the youngster toes the puddle of orange, dabbing little spots around the carpet. "A man with fire hands lighted him on fire and he ran out of the bogeyman's house and jumped into the river… I don't know where he is now." Delia's little orange toe scrapes the outline of a fat elephant into the pile of the rug. "I think the bogeyman still has him but I'm too scared to go find him. She won't let me leave my room…"

The shadowy figure doesn't move.

Silence again, and then an even quieter whisper breathes at Delia's ear. It's okay. I'm glad you didn't get hurt. But there is an unmistakable sadness in the voice, as thin as the veil that hides it may be.

Shame causes the young redhead to sidle over to the pink sock rabbit and whisper into his ear. Nodding twice to its silent reply, she lifts it delicately, presenting it high into the air. "Mister Peacock says it's okay if you want to have him. He's a good bunny rabbit… he's quiet…"

The dog pads over to the little girl and rests her long muzzle on the child's shoulder, letting loose a low whine. Delia sniffles once as she chokes off her words and takes a deep trembling breath. "I'm sorry I lost Hugh. If you want, I can go find him?" A glimpse is given to the unmoving figure in the bed.

It's okay, hon. Really. And for a moment, the voice, though quieter, carries a more familiar tone and pitch. He was old, and he went out in the…in the line of duty. A breeze gentle brushes past Delia, then doubles back on itself.

I'm glad you're safe. Happier.

The dog gives a low rumble and licks the young girl's cheek. She's not a puppy this time, more able to take care of the little girl. With another long sniffle, Delia lowers the rabbit and squeezes it into a very relieved hug. The rabbit's head lolls to the side as though it's a young boy trying to avoid a kiss. Wrapping her arm around the dog again, the little redhead pulls Cheza into the hug and nuzzles her face into the thick ruff of fur around the canine's neck. Cheza will never feel the tears that soak into her coat.

The woman in the bed still hasn't moved. She still hasn't blinked.

"She's not happier. She wants to go back. She hates it." The little girl's squeaky voice cracks with the shedding of salty tears that are licked off her face by her companion. "She— " An audible gulp is sounded off before the little girl's lips turn down into a sullen expression. "She's scared she's never going to get better."

But you're here. Not in the hospital. You must be better.

Then again, better isn't always the same as happier.

If I can help… but the voice trails off, smothered by the whispers of a maddening crowd of protests.

The dog's head cranes around Delia's shoulder, hugging her without the aid of hands as the crimson haired child begins to wail in high pitched squeals. Ears flat against her head, Cheza's patience while being hugged and handled in such a manner is beyond reproach. A low grumble from the throat of the canine is meant to soothe, meant to calm the little thing clinging to her like one of Harlow's monkeys.

"She won't let me out of the room! She's never going to get out of bed!" Still the figure doesn't stir, perhaps it is nothing but a lump of wax occupying a space between the blankets. "She doesn't want to hurt anyone anymore…"

The mind behind the voice can't find the body attached to the thoughts that weave together to make the dream. He's too far away, and to do this much is a strain. Still, it persists.

That isn't the way. I hurt someone once. Two people. Very, very badly. There's a pause, and the breeze that does it's best to embrace the child as much as the dog turns slightly cold. Their families too. It was hard to deal with. I was very sorry, and very sad. I didn't want to hurt anyone else, so I locked myself away. But I ended up hurting more people that way. My little girl, for one.

It's okay to be sad, but you can't be sad by yourself. It doesn't get better that way.

"I have Cheza…" the little girl answers, wrapping both of her arms around the neck of the dog into a tight hug. "Cheza n' me are going to stay together forever."

Or at least until the girl or the dog wakes up.

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