A Color to Match
The morning sun broke through the window, landing on my face and startling me awake. Yawning I stretched out my four limbs, trying to cherish the feelings left over from my dream before having to join the rest of the world in wakefulness. Padding over to the mirror hung up on my door I stared blankly at my reflection.
A mutant Lupe stared back, jarring me silently to full wakefulness.
The memories of my dream fresh in my mind washed over me again. It had been about the first time I’d ever opened my eyes. I remember blinking harshly in the light of the new world, the first thing I was able to see was my owner’s face as she smiled widely.
“I’ll name him bloodfur_208” she chirped happily.
The feeling of melancholy grew as I stood staring back at my gruesome appearance, pushing away the good vibe of my dream. A day didn’t go by that I wasn’t grateful and overjoyed that I was not only brought into the world but that I was lucky to get an owner such as Rellexia, who gave everything she had to her family which motivated me to do the same.
Yet still every morning I woke up, and every morning I stared at the mirror before going downstairs with the same feeling ached in my heart, the same thought popping into my head.
I hate being a mutant!
I was almost ten years old now, and I’d been with Rellexia through it all. She was young when I was first created. Excited by seeing me open my eyes for the first time that she blurted out a name instantly. I remember on the way home Rellexia kept chattering excitedly to me on how she was a huge fan of these books where creatures lived together in groups called clans. She was such a huge fan of the books that she named me as if I were a character in the world.
I’ve walked by her side every day since then, never leaving and never wavering. Our family changed. Pets left to new owner’s and Rellexia adopted or created new siblings to join the household. Their personalities ranged from irritable, to stern, and to shy; but each new sibling was a handful in their own way. I was the oldest, and so I grew in to the responsibility that came with being the big brother. The big brother is meant to be the caretaker of the family, strong and dependable.
Or so I thought.
I’ve been through so many colors that I forget honestly, I think even at some point I was Christmas. Rellexia never stopped obsessing over finding me a look I could stick with, one that matched my name. We’d sit at rainbow pool for hours browsing colors of different species trying to find a form to match. We both knew that my name was a far cry from my demure. I wanted to tell her, beg her not to pick a color based off of my name but to instead pick it from who I was.
Too nervous to disappoint I never brought it up, regretting it the second she came home one day with a smile on her face and a potion in her hand.
From that day on I’ve had this appearance. Now every day I go out with Rellexia on dailies wary that it might be one of the days I run into a child that shrieks in fear, one of the days where new owners clutch their pets protectively close…one of the days where I’m not able to forget what I look like.
Rellexia hadn’t known better, how could she? I never told her how I felt. I didn’t pick out any colors that I’d prefer and just told her whatever she liked would be fine. I was too scared to cause her trouble, and I’m still scared.
“It’s too late now” I tell myself “What’s done is done. No matter what you look like there are people depending on you and you need to get it together”
I gathered myself and finally pushed open the door to my room, walking down the hallway to the stairs that led into the kitchen. Rellexia was sitting at the kitchen table, coffee cup in hand while she gazed thoughtfully at the Neopian Times. As I walked down the stairs and into the kitchen she turned to me with a soft smile on her face.
“Morning Bloodfur. I’m going in to town today to hang out in the Neoboards, would you like to come with me after we finish our dailies?”
Her coffee cup was empty, she’d been waiting for me to come down so that we could go together. We always did.
“Sure, I’m ready now if you are”
“Great!” She beamed “Let’s head out now then.”
She quickly folded up the newspaper and placed the empty cup in the sink before heading out the door. The light hit my fur, warming me up and dazzling my vision. It was a perfect day to run dailies and head to Neopian Central, lazing about in the company of other neopians. The Neoboards was a fun place owners gathered together to discuss different topics. They were all allowed one Neopet to go along with their owners, and it was a rare day Rellexia didn’t bring me with her as she knew how much I enjoyed meeting the other Neopets of all species and colors.
We continued down the pathway from our neighborhood to all the daily destinations, completing them one at a time before heading into town in the direction of the Neoboards. We passed shop to shop, gazing through the windows at the merchandise. The sun was high in the sky now, blazing down on the people below. Rellexia’s red hair lit up in the sunrays, appearing as bright as a streak within a sunset. Looking down at my own fur I noticed that even under the intense rays of sun my bleak fur remained dull.
“Oh, yes?!” I snapped my face up, noticing Rellexia staring at me with a concerned expression “Did you say something? Sorry my thoughts were drifting off” I said guiltily.
“I was just saying how I’ve been thinking of enrolling you in the training school, does that sound like something you’d like?” Rellexia asked, biting her lip nervously. She was worried about me I could tell, I never could hide my mood from her.
“That does sound fun actually” I replied, watching Rellexia perk up at my response. Training didn’t sound like a bad idea. I wanted to become reliable for my family.
The sound of chatter grew louder as we reached the Neoboards. As always groups mulled about discussing different things with varying passion. The pound chat was easily identifiable by the amount of racket and the large crowd that surrounded it. Rellexia veered away, heading in the opposite direction.
We continued to push through the crowds, passing groups of all sorts until we noticed off to the side of the courtyard a rather large gathering was taking place. I saw Rellexia bite her nail anxiously and I gave her an encouraging nudge in response.
“Let’s go see what’s going on over there Rellexia”
She smiled at me warmly before walking with me over to the crowd. As we neared the outskirts of the group we heard some girls mumbling about what was happening. A rich Neopian named Pac was apparently handing out gifts randomly.
“Wow Bloodfur, look at their pet’s outfits!” Rellexia said, peering into the center of the crowd “I want to know what dress her Draik is wearing”. She started pushing through the crowd towards the center. I squeezed through to catch up, and I felt her hand wrap gently around my collar for support until we made it through.
It was still warm out and Rellexia found a place to sit near the other owners who apparently were just as passionate about customization as she was. I curled up next to her, smiling to myself as I listened to her talk excitedly to the others about the things she loved as I began to grow sleepy.
I gasped, opening my eyes and quickly lifted my head up. Rellexia was there, giggling as I gathered my bearings.
“You fell asleep!” She said.
I got up, shaking myself in guilt as I noticed it’d grown darker.
“How did the chat go?”
“Oh it was great, everyone was so nice!” She said smiling wider than I’d seen in days “a couple girls even gave me some doubloons to start your training off!”
Rellexia and I headed back down the path, all the while she chatted to me about all the friends she’d made while I’d been asleep. I continued to listen to her until we got home, happy to see her in such a good mood. I’d made her so worried earlier it was nice to see her more relaxed and chipper.
“Goodnight Bloodfur” Rellexia called out to me as I padded up the stairs towards my room, snoring already audible from my siblings’ rooms.
I closed the door to my room, facing the mirror once again. Of course nothing had changed. Why would it? I sighed, dejected, and jumped onto my bed ready to drift off to sleep.
The morning sun blazed through the window, falling onto my face and once again waking me up. I blinked blearily as I forced myself up. I’d slept deeply, and without dreams managing to oversleep for the first time in years.
I glared at the mirror, not in the mood, and yanked the door open to make my way down to the kitchen. When I got there however the chairs were empty. Glancing around the room I managed to spot Rellexia through the window. She was at the mailbox standing quietly with her back towards me.
Concern shot through me, something felt different.
“Rellexia…?” I said, sprinted out the door and down the driveway towards her. As I got closer I noticed her shoulders shaking. She brought her hand up to wipe her cheek, the other hand clutching on to something I couldn’t see.
“Relly what’s wrong?” I said as I got up to her, circling around to face her “Rellexia?”
Tears brimmed in her eyes but when she saw me she laughed and broke out in the brightest smile I’d ever seen.
“Bloodfur! Look! Pac, the boy from the Neoboards the other day sent us a paint brush!”
I stared as she opened her arm to reveal a pirate paint brush. Rellexia was overjoyed, earning neopoints was harder for her than some of the other neopians but she was always working hard checking her stocks every day, playing games and dailies just so she could paint all her pets. Vaguely in the back of my head I started narrowing down which brush this pet must be for, or perhaps if she’d trade it for another brush instead.
“Come on, let’s start heading over to the rainbow pool!” she beamed.
“Who do you want me to go get?” I asked turning back towards the house “I think everyone else is still asleep I’ll go wake them up for you”
“No silly” Rellexia said softly “I’m painting you, if you’re ok with that…that is”
My jaw gaped open.
“Me? But I’m painted already!” I gasped. Rellexia kneeled down, placing a hand on my head affectionately.
“Bloodfur…I could always tell you didn’t like being mutant. I transformed you into that without taking your feelings in to consideration, I’m sorry”.
“N-no it’s ok-“
“I’ve been trying to think of a color that would suit you better...a color that you’d actually like” she said cutting me off “I was talking to the people at the neoboards the other day and they helped me think of some! Everyone really liked the idea of pirate” She finished, biting her lip nervously as she waited for my response.
Tears welled up in my eyes, spilling over as I reached out to hug my owner.
“No I love the idea, thank you so much” I choked out.
Now not a day goes by that I don’t smile in the mirror every morning before walking down the stairs into the kitchen where Rellexia is waiting for me. Not a day goes by that I don’t feel lucky to be part of this family that Rellexia and I share.