Steven Kerning - The Caged Bird's Memory: Dust to Dust

These are stories that take place prior to the main story. While important in fleshing out characters, they do not necessarily need to be read to understand the story.
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Mr. Blackbird Lore
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Steven Kerning - The Caged Bird's Memory: Dust to Dust

Post by Mr. Blackbird Lore » Sun Jan 02, 2011 5:57 pm

“Do not go where the path may lead. Go instead where there is no path and leave a trail…”

Moving on to the next step in one’s life is always intimidating, change is always frightening. Whether by force or by choice, deep down no child wants to leave home. Aboard the shuttle that transported all of the children to their new lives it was quite evident that many of them were very frightened. Their dismal looks and occasional tears went unseen by Steven, for he spent majority of the trip sleeping in the back. But even he was not spared the odd feeling of loss, for even in his unconscious mind he was plagued by old memories. Best friends, annoying rivals, lost loves, his grandparents; they were all there, all pulling at Steven’s heartstrings. A few in particular stood out above the rest.

Steven is five years olds sitting on his grandfather’s lap as they sat in the reclining chair by the fire. Steven was listening to his grandfather tell him stories about the ‘glory days’ back when he was a sergeant in the navy and commander of Green Squadron. It was the usual story that Steven had heard dozens of times, but when it was finished his grandfather started to tell him a new story. This was the first time that Steven’s grandfather would tell Steven how Marcus, Steven’s father, had met his untimely end. Of course his grandmother protested, but his grandfather felt it was time Steven learned the story. His grandmother was probably right about it being too early, but it was still the day that confirmed Steven’s ambition. It was the day Steven got the motivation he needed. It was the day Steven knew he wanted to be a pilot.

More memories past, before they stopped once more.

It was 4:30pm on a hot summer day, Steven was thirteen years old and surrounded by a bunch of older boys from school. It was the same as usual, he always got picked on. This time Steven was receiving a confession from a girl he had had a crush on for quite a while. It all seemed too good to be true, and it was. Just as Steven stuttered out a response a water balloon full of ‘water’ flew over the fence and hit his shoulder before breaking and splashing its contents all over Steven, and this was soon followed by several other people who went to school with Steven came out from behind the fence. All of them laughing hysterically, and Steven was mortified. At once he turned on the spot and ran as fast as he could, but he made it only a few paces before he tripped on one of his shoelaces and fell flat on his face. Everything was in a fog after that. From what he managed to remember the guys from school continued to laugh for another minute, or was it two, before they began to suspect something was wrong. Whether it was the fact that Steven wasn’t responding, or if it was the small puddle of blood forming around his head, Steven couldn’t say. But the guys hesitantly backed away and ran off; only the girl who had tricked him went for help. Steven was unsure when help arrived but he did know that he heard running footsteps coming towards him, and his grandfather’s strong hand turning him over. There was a worried look in his grandfather’s eyes that Steven had not seen before. That is when he blacked out once more. He woke up a while later, a day and a half he eventually found out, in a hospital bed with stitches in his forehead. The girl had fessed up and told what had happened. The boys got in trouble, and the girl transferred to a different school shortly thereafter. She paid Steven a visit a few weeks before Steven was to head to the naval academy. She told Steven that her family was moving off planet. Not unusual at the time, with growing fear of being so close to border space and being so close to Drathonian space, many families moved away towards safer space. Apparently she was going around visiting old friends to say goodbye. Needless to say Steven was surprised, but they spent the day together and parted with a friendly hug and she gave him a kiss on the cheek. Her family left the next day.

More memories came and went, Steven saw the day he received his acceptance letter to the naval academy. He saw birthdays, anniversaries, holidays, he saw friends he had forgotten, and friends he would miss greatly while at the academy. No longer were the memories slowing instead they picked up pace, but one thing stood out in particular. It was his parents. They were not memories for they stood still while the memories continued to pass. No they were there with Steven watching the memories go by. They were watching his life go by, they were watching over him still, comforting him when he was sad, lifting him up when he did well, and finally they turned to him. His mom gave him a warm smile and his dad gave him an acknowledging nod of the head, and they were holding out their hands to Steven.
Just as Steven reached out to take their hand when he was woken up by a sudden pain on his face. He opened his eyes to the sight of a very pissed looking girl giving him a glare of pure evil. She had just slapped him. Very confused, Steven was about to ask why she had hit him when he moved his eyes away from her face. He saw a hand grabbing her chest, and that hand, to Steven’s surprise, was his own.

“I don’t suppose saying sorry would help, would it?” Steven asked timidly. She slapped him again; his hand was still on her chest. The girl stood up and moved to a different seat, and Steven felt a little embarrassed. He would have been mortified had it not been for the silver lining on this dark cloud; Steven had managed to feel up a girl in the process.

Less than an hour later the shuttle touched down at the intended destination. Steven waited until he was able to be the last one off, he wasn’t sure why but the sight he saw when he stepped off of the bus was beyond words. Rolling green planes, forested bluffs, shining blue sky, everything was beyond words. The academy itself was located in a deep valley and was built into the side of the hills themselves. A loud voice snapped him out of his trance. It was a guide calling for all the new students to form up and get on the shuttle that would take them down the valley to the academy. It was time for everyone to start their new life. Steven followed wordlessly, anxious to get to his new home; the dreams already fading from his mind, no longer could Steven see the faces of his parents.

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