Pilot Candidate Fan Fiction ❯ Cold and Still ❯ Cold and Still ( Chapter 1 )

[ P - Pre-Teen ]

Cold and Still

It’s strange to feel so cold. All my life, I’ve felt as if something inside me was burning, continually devouring parts of me, and flooding me with new energy and life. I’ve always been a restless person, so when life suddenly stands still in a gut-wrenching moment, when I scream out your name, but you can’t hear – when life freezes perfectly still, and sudden falls apart like glass. The shock freezes everything inside me, Ernest.

I can’t hear you. But it’s worse than before, the before when you hit me and yelled at me. The harsh words trying so poorly to mask their concern when you grabbed my arm, tried to hold me back just a little with a tender tense grip, and a few angry words.

“Don’t be foolish out there, Garu.”

I didn’t listen then, did I, Ernest? Even when we were out there looking for Victim, the lava in me surging and confused, my Goddess unsure and out of touch with my very fear and anger. The memory of that boy-candidate who had stolen her from me. I wanted to destroy him. I wanted to destroy Victim. I wanted to destroy myself. But most of all…

Wanted to believe your voice that tried to pull me back from the edge of the abyss.

Quiet voice. Half-afraid voice, which called out to me. I didn’t heed your words at all. I didn’t hear your voice at all. Even now, the timbre of your speech, the colorful tones of emotion that laced every word you once said to me, I begin to forget. It’s not fair, Ernest. You know I was never a good listener, but even though I never caught your words, the feeling behind them was never lost.

I march down the corridors, towards your funeral.

When the nuances in your remembered voice become fuzzy, my mind turns away. Instead, it tries to recall other things, face, body…soul. And old meetings. We’ve known each other a long time. Longer than anyone else on board GIS. Our first meeting beat the one between Leena and me by a day. I was afraid of you, did you know? So powerful, yet so unsure and scared of something so simple like the brush of a hand. It was strange to view you, Ernest. We were like negatives. Your ashamed blue eyes, darting away from my open gaze. The blond hair that hid your face so successfully, trying to shield you from my intensity.

But the you inside was strong. The me inside was weak.

I smiled a cocky grin, anyway.

I’m not smiling anymore, Ernest.

The staff at GIS think I am stone. They look at me as I walk down the hall with such calculated, even steps. They think I am a horrible person, Ernest, not to have visited your casket before they send you off to space. To be swallowed by the huge, dark, star-glittering space that’s beautiful, but so empty. So empty, like me.

Tune’s crying over you. Leena told me with sad eyes. She watches me carefully. I’m not going to cry Ernest. I don’t cry over dead bodies. Dead things. If I saw you in your bed of flowers, and looked at your pale face, I could almost believe that was you. And I might cry. But I tell myself it’s not you. Not the Ernest I know, the Ernest who was my comrade for three years, the Ernest who saw the weak me and was still my friend anyway. The Ernest that still smiles or looks flustered in my memories. But most of the time, when I think of you, I see your anger and your fear.

I enter the room. And feel guilty. Did you feel that way because I did, empath?

It’s okay to come back now, Ernest. I don’t feel angry anymore, I don’t feel like banging my fists against something cold and hard until they bleed. I don’t even worry about Eeva Leena anymore. Because you’ve gone away, and one day I will too, because no one can be a pilot forever, and that kid who stole my Goddess, he’s going to have it in the end, no matter how much Leena tries to hold me and coddle me from the truth.

The hymn is playing, and your coffin is being loaded to be shot through space like a glowing metallic star.

Come back, Ernest. Come back. Because I don’t feel angry anymore, or sad. I don’t feel anything anymore, just cold and still as your falling star of a casket drifts towards the sun, and not the promised land of Zion. It’s going to burn you to ashes, Ernest. To ashes.

Cold and still.

“All salute, Ernest Cuore!”

Cold and still.