Steven Kerning - The Caged Bird's Memory

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

Post by Mr. Blackbird Lore » Sun Jan 02, 2011 5:53 pm

((Nowhere near as violent as Blackbird's, but just as...if not more...sentimental))

“If one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours.”
-Thoreau



“Someday my precious child, you will spread your wings and fly off towards your horizon, and I can only pray that your father and I will be there to see you off.”
“Mom?”
“I can see it already Trisha! Our boy definitely has the eyes of a great pilot! Don’t you think?”
“Dad? Where are you guys I can’t see you? Wait! Please, where are...”


“Wake up you lazy boy! If you end up being late for that transport, God help you!” shouted a voice from the other side of a closed door.
“Ah shut it Grandma! I am already finishing getting dressed!” a different voice replied, this one from under a pile of bed sheets. Waiting for the footsteps of the person outside to fade away down the stairs, a young boy around the age of sixteen threw the sheet off and swung his legs out of bed. Shuddering as his bare feet touched the chilly hard wood floor of his room he went about his morning routine.
“What in the world is taking you so long?!” the voice from before shouted from somewhere downstairs.
“Grandma! I said shut it! I am almost finished!” the boy shouted back.
“Do you want me to send your grandfather up there?!” the voice shouted again, sounding more and more disgruntled.
Ignoring the last threat made by his grandmother, the boy finished dressing. As he hurried towards his bedroom door he stopped quickly in front of a small mirror and straightened his hair with his fingers before continuing downstairs.
“Well it is about damn time,” the boy’s grandmother mumbled as the boy shuffled his way into the kitchen. Grunting in reply the boy sat down in a chair at the kitchen table with an exaggerated sigh. Not a moment later he went to town on a plate of eggs and bacon that was sitting in front of him.
“OK, do you have everything ready? Are you finished packing? Do you have your toothbrush and other toiletries packed?” his grandmother asked him as she sat two more dishes down on the table and sitting down in a chair herself.
“Yeph, evy tins finched,” the boy replied with a mouth full of food. After seeing the annoyed look on the face of his grandmother, he swallowed the mouthful and repeated what he had said, “Yep, everything is finished. Nothing to worry yourself about Grams.”
“Oh I know, but I cannot help but worry about my little grandson.”
“Ah, stop that Grams, I am almost seventeen.”
“Yeah, I know that too. But it seems just like yesterday that you came to stay with your grandfather and me when you were only two. And look at you now, almost grown and off to the Naval and Officers Academy.”
“Quit it Grams, I mean it.”
“Your grandfather and I are so proud of you, and your mother and father, peace be with them, are proud of you as well.”

“Can it Sarah, the boy already knows, and doesn’t need you to remind him all the time,” said a new voice. It was the boy’s grandfather.
“Morning Sarge,” the boy greeted the man with a half salute, toast in hand.
“Morning kiddo,” his grandfather said ruffling up the boy’s hair, “So, I wont ask if you are ready because I am sure your old prune of a grandmother has already run through the checklist. But we are all proud of you. And all the guys down at the veterans’ home wish you luck as well.”
“Well tell them I said thanks,” the boy said as he finished off the last scraps of food left on his plate and downing the last bit of coffee in his mug.
“Go brush your teeth, I will load your stuff into the car,” his grandfather said ruffling the boy’s hair again then walking out of the kitchen.
With that, the boy hurried down the hall to the small bathroom to finish getting ready. In the quiet that followed the boy found it impossible to keep his mind clear. He kept thinking about all the things he had gone through in life to get to where he was now. He rubbed the scar above his left eyebrow reminiscently, it was only one of the many triumphs, or in the scar’s case, embarrassments that made up his childhood. But what he thought about the most was his parents. Orphaned at the age of two, he had almost no memories of his father, and none what-so-ever of his mother. So he wasn’t really feeling sad about the fact that they were gone, it was more along the lines of disappointment that they couldn’t be there with him at such a pivotal point in his life.
He stopped brushing as he became more and more lost in thought. His parents. His mother, Trisha, had past away when he was six months old. His grandma had told him that she had always had a weak immune system, and after giving birth her immune system all but failed and she past away after an onset of influenza. His father, Mark, had been seriously wounded after a mechanical failure in his scimitar during a routine test flight, and had consequently died shortly thereafter.
It was because of his father that the boy is where he is today, preparing to go off to the Naval Academy to receive advanced training in hopes of one day becoming an ace pilot like his father and his grandfather before him.
“Come on now, quit your daydreaming and get a move on!” shouted his grandmother snapping him back to the real world. “Less than half an hour before the transport leaves!”
Drastically picking up his pace, the boy hurriedly finished brushing and quickly combed his hair with an actual comb. Packing up the toiletries he rushed outside to find his grandfather’s old beater truck pulled up and his grandmother waiting by the door to the house. Once everything was loaded into the back of the truck the boy walked over to his grandmother and gave her the largest hug he had given her in a long time.
“Thanks for everything Grams,” he said as he continued the embrace.
“Anytime you are in trouble or need help, just remember that there will always be a home here waiting for you,” she replied as she returned the embrace. The boy, usually not prone to being the sentimental type, couldn’t help but sniffle a little before breaking away. As he climbed into the truck with his grandfather he waved goodbye to his grandmother and his home of fifteen years, and continued to think about both long after they were out of sight.
The twenty minute drive to the shuttle hub was relatively quite. Neither he nor his grandfather were willing to break the almost awkward silence between them. And it was only after they had reached the hub and found the transit shuttle that would take the boy off to the Academy and a new life was waiting.
Once in sight of the shuttle, the boy saw many boys and even some girls around his age forming a line by the door of the shuttle. It was now, for the first time that the boy could remember that he was feeling terrified and wanted to turn back, but just as soon as the thought of running had entered his mind his grandfather came up behind him and put his wrinkled and calloused hand on the boy’s shoulder.
“I still remember when I stood in this line at this very station fifty some years ago. I also remember when your father stood in this line at this very station almost twenty years ago. Now it is your turn to make the choice. Get in that line or get back in the truck. It is up to you alone to decide your next move,” his grandfather said with a warm smile. That was all the encouragement the boy needed. Extending his hand to his grandfather for a handshake farewell, he was a little surprised when his grandfather took his hand and used it to pull him forward and give him a hug.
“Take care kiddo,” his grandfather said.
“I will gramps,” the boy said, sniffling once more.
After a few more parting words, his grandfather waved goodbye, got back in his truck, and drove back towards the house. The boy, turning back towards the shuttle that would take him off planet and to the Naval Academy. Rubbing the scar above his left eyebrow again he walked towards the shuttle’s conductor.
“Name?” asked the conductor.
“Kerning, Steven Alexander reporting for role call,” the boy said with a wide grin.
“Okay, you’re all clear, please step aboard and take a seat. We have a few more kids we are waiting for,” the conductor replied without looking up from the datapad.
With that Steven stepped aboard the shuttle and waited patiently for departure.

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