The Stray Sheep
Mike Black Ch.1

A young, happy boy blew out his candles with joy and enthusiasm. It was his fifth birthday and he would never forget it. His life was perfect. This year, he wished for everything to stay the same. He squealed out in delight as he opened a brand new bike. That night, his loving father would take him outside to teach him how to ride. His family gathered around as his dad pushed him down the street and let go. The young boy looked back. He was proud, he was on his own. Suddenly, the bike hit a rock and toppled over, boy and all.
Surely this was a memory for the boy, young Michael Black. He looked at the picture of a small, happy boy as his present face reflected off the glossy coat. He was now in his teenage years and misplaced in a family that was falling apart. What had happened since then that had made the "birthday boy" so different?
Mike Black lived in Beaverton, Oregon. He had dark brown hair spiked up like a porcupine. If you looked into his forlorn blue eyes you would see the anguish of a shaken up world- and if you looked through these eyes, you would feel the torment of being shoved about and dispersed among the slings and arrows of a family being mangled by life itself. His mom and his dad were never there for him. He had been flailed into an obscurity where crying was bereft. Running away wouldn't help; he had tried it before. He was stuck in a dark corner, crying out for some friend, some savior to come and rescue him. As the world passed by, he could not grasp it. Nothing ever mattered to him, for everything was presumed hollow and hopeless.
He was bewildered. He didn't know what to think. Slowly he walked up to his dresser and pulled open a drawer. In the midst of socks and underwear there was a small wooden box hand-carved carefully. He stared at it for a while, then yanked it out of the drawer. He collapsed onto his bed and opened it. The smell of cedar invaded the room. He looked inside and saw pictures and paper clippings that portrayed seventeen years of life. The number of memories in that box echoed the amount of stars in the sky, but they had all been deferred. He looked at a photo of a happy family out camping. This family was once his, but it had changed since then. Mike slammed the box shut. He could smell cigarette smoke coming from the other room. A lump formed in his throat but he stopped it immediately. He didn't want to care. Caring had never helped.
A strange, familiar feeling swelled in side Mike's soul. It was a feeling he had long ago replaced with anger and hate. Before he knew it, hot tears were streaming down his face. He loved his mom.
Mike stared glumly at the pot as it boiled, bubbling and rising all hot and steamy. He just stood there and stared. It boiled over but he just stood there, watching it. It made him think of the anger inside him that was steaming and boiling over. He had a strange look in his eyes that seemed forlorn and incensed. He grabbed the pot and threw it across the room and watched it hit the wall. It spilled. His anger spilled. He had finally crossed the line.
He looked down at the old mutt. There was something congenial about his vacant brown eyes. "Oh, alright I guess I'll take you home." said Mike as he began to walk onward. The dog gave an ambiguous groan. "Aren't you coming?" asked mike. The dog mounted tediously to his paws and ambled up to Mike, then stopped beside him, laid back down, and looked up at him again. He smelled strictly like wet dog. Mike looked back down at the dog and got annoyed. "Fine, be that way! I don't even know why I'm talking to a stupid old mutt like you anyway!" Mike trudged up the hill. The dog got up off of his feet again and started following him. Mike looked abruptly over his shoulder and turned around as if he was going to say something and the dog halted as if he got the point. Mike just sighed and turned back around again to start walking; and the dog followed him the rest of the way home.
By the time Mike got home, it was very dark and dank outside. He went into the warm house and brought the dog inside. The dog went contiguously to the center of the dining room and stood in a cocked stance. "No you don't! Not in here-" yelled Mike but he was too late. Flecks of water splattered all over the room as the dog shook his furry coat. Mike stood shocked for a moment, but then let it pass. He went into the kitchen and washed up, then started making dinner. He wondered what he was going to do with that dumb mutt and if its former owners even missed it.
As he held his dad's hand, he watched the life slip though his fingers like Jell-o on a hot, sticky day. His dad's hand was soon stiff and cold; the doctors had given up doing anything for him. Mike sat for a while, then let go of his father's limp hand and watched it drop lifelessly to the side of the bed. As he ambled out of the gloomy room, he looked the nurse in the eye like a lost child and said simply, "No more dad." He then slowly walked down the hall.
"I'm sorry," called out the nurse.
As he strolled by, he saw various people all waiting and praying for their loved ones. Many of them were crying. He passed several doors, by one there was a very young women waiting for her little girl to wake up from a coma. He soon passed a happy family, hugging and laughing as an aged man woke up from surgery. He passed several rooms, most of which were sad.
He soon came to a room with just a small boy waiting outside. Mike could just imagine a young boy like this as he rode on a brand new red bike as his father had just let go. He could see the boy tumbling as he waited for his parents to come. The boy would look back, only to see them fighting.
Mike walked out the door. It was pouring down snow, something uncommon in Oregon. It was dark out and the house lights began to turn on as families rushed outside to see the occasion; but Mike was unimpressed by the sleet. He ventured into the forest to find a shortcut home. Ugly, horrid thoughts clouded his mind and spirit. His mom had cancer, his dad was dead, and he was on his own. As the forest lay still, he remembered himself as the little boy, not yet ready to be on his own. He was cold and scared, and all alone.
He wrapped his jacket around him and walked, faster and faster until he broke into a run. He could feel damp tears streaking his face and turning into a frigid glaze. He ran and did not look behind him. He felt like he was running from something but he did not know what from. He choked at his tears and ran faster. He quickly glanced behind him and tripped, leaving a bad scrape on his knee. He scrambled up quickly and ran again until he came to a cliff and collapsed on the frosty ground. He then crashed into a silent sleep –but not the peaceful kind of sleep, it was a restless sleep. He woke up to the sparkling stars. He looked at them and wondered how they really had been placed there so perfectly. "How could the earth be just right in temperature and distance from the sun? Why did the food chain fit so intricately together? What is mind? Where do the stars end?" he asked himself, "What was I placed in this world for and why must there be so much pain?"
He crawled to the edge of the cliff, and looked down. That is where his life was going: straight down. He had no friends, his dad had just died, and his mom was dying of lung cancer. He felt like no one would care if he disappeared into nowhere. He wanted to end all of the pain, right then and there. He could- NO, he WOULD! He rolled over and looked up again; no purpose, no friends, no comfort, he had it cut out for him, all he had to do now was jump. He stood up, breathed in deep, and told himself aloud, "I'll do it, I'll jump!" He ran back about ten feet from the edge, the ran forward, only to come to a stop, "Wait, wait," he said, "this may hurt just a teeny bit… I think I'll sleep on it-" CRASH! Without warning, the edge of the cliff gave way and Mike fell, only to land on a ledge several yards down. He was hurt, but not dead. He tried to get up, but a shrill pain jolted through his leg.