Ky's Story

Ky's Story

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Ky Markham explains his background to Cassia through a series of drawings he sneaks to her. The first of these is on an ordinary brown napkin covered with cursive writing and drawings. The theme of this napkin is "two lives" (Page 178) Ky has drawn two versions of himself. The first is a younger Ky, looking up at the sky. The second is an older Ky, staring down at the ground. There is more writing along the bottom, questioning which life is the true one.

Cassia almost destroys the second part of his story which was drawn on the brown envelope that once held her compass. This drawing also shows two Ky's, one is the younger Ky that still lives in the Outer Province, the older Ky is the one that lives in Mapletree Borough. It is raining in both the photos, but only in the first one does he lean his head back and lets the rain fall into his mouth. In the second one he keeps his head down. He writes, "When it rains, I remember" (Page 207)

The third part of Ky's story is also written on a napkin and given to Cassia on their first day of hiking the Hill. This drawing also features the two Ky's, but it also shows bodies of people lying on the ground. The words "Mother" and "Father" are now written in the young Ky's hands. His face still looks upwards, but it is no longer water that rains from the sky, but ammunition. The older Ky wears plainclothes and is leaving his village accompanied by Officials. The napkin has a poem that Ky has written.

at first when the rain fell

from the sky so wide and deep

it smelled like sage, my favorite smell

I went up on the plateau to watch it come

to see the gifts it always brought

but the rain changed from blue to black

and left


(Page 222)

Ky gives Cassia the fourth piece of his story on the way down the Hill after their hiking activity. This drawing is different than the others; it is the first to include color. At the napkin crease it shows a red sun either rising or setting in the sky. The napkin no longer shows the words "Mother" and "Father" in the young Ky's hands. This drawing also includes a poem Ky has written.

they were too much to carry

so I left them behind

for a new life, in a new place

but no one forgot who I was

I didn't

and neither did the people who watch

they watched for years

they watch now

(Page 250)

The other, older Ky is shown in handlocks with Officials. There is also red drawn in his hands and the hands of the Officials. Cassia notices that one of the Officials is Officer Standler.

The final part of Ky's story is given to Cassia on their final day of hiking, when they reach the top of the Hill. She waits until before her family is relocated to read the final piece. This drawing shows only one Ky, with empty hands reaching outwards towards Cassia. This drawing explains that he now knows which life is real. It is the one with Cassia, who he loves.