Saturday, May 31, 2014


It's been so long since I've started the first Liberty Bell, and actually today three years ago is when I first wrote down the names Colter and Bellona. From there is where I started on a loooonnnngg journey and now three years later, I have a sequel in progress! 
*sigh* Anyway, I wanted to celebrate LB's 3rd anniversary, but don't have anything to do but babble about it so here is the first chapter that started it all. :,)



As a young girl, i had an immensely powerful imagination. I was very gifted when it came to academics, unlike my understanding to 'real world' events. I believed I was truly unstoppable and had the whole world at my feet. How time can change things.
 But, even my imagination couldn't interpret the trip I took with Colter. He told me that if I didn't write this down, I would forget everything.
He was wrong. It was too great a memory to let go.
*          *          *
            Two men argued over by the pretzel cart. A fleet of cars charged by with fury, some sounding their horns through the din. Fumes hugged the tall office buildings, obscuring the once beautiful blue sky. Men, young and old, clad in their crisp business suits rushed by, clutching a stack of papers or gabbing on a cell phone. Women strutted by in perfect makeup, designer clothes, and tall heels. The rest of the sidewalk was accompanied by lost animals, trash and kids walking home from school. Pigeons flew by, skirmishing over their scavenged loot.
I bring you, ladies and gentlemen, New York City.
If someone were to be dumpster-diving in an alley right off of a busy street behind Mama Mia’s pizza joint downtown, and for some reason fell out of the back of the dumpster at the end of the alley, two things would happen. One, they would suffer a tragic head injury from the pile of bricks laying there. And two, I would lose the trust of someone very special.
Thankfully, nobody has ever gone diving in my – our - dumpster. For as long as I could remember, I was alone. No one stops on the streets for a dirty little girl who could just be on her way home as far as anyone could tell. Together, as strange as it sounds, this dumpster and Colter are a couple of my main life sources; behind that rusty old thing is my home.
As for Colter, we were both five years old when we first met. I had been living alone for three years as far as I knew. He was walking home from a party in his kindergarten class. For the one hundredth day party, everyone was supposed to bring a hundred of one thing. Colter had been walking right past me with his bag of one hundred pieces of candy, bundled up against the biting wind. When he saw me huddled up in the corner of an alley on his route home, he stopped for a moment to look at me. I didn't have much clothing to keep warm in the flailing snow, and I was pretty sickly skinny from not eating.
            Staring at me for a moment, he pulled off his big winter coat and handed it to me along with the bag of candy, and left without a word. A few hours later, he came back with his older sister, some blankets, and a large bowl of soup which I gobbled up, telling my story in between bites.
            After that, Colter came and visited me after every day of school to tutor me in school and bring me supplies he snuck from his own home. He never told his parents about me, and his teenage sister had gone to college and forgotten about me. But one day early in his third grade year, we had been laughing and talking for so long that his parents sent out an APB for him in fear he had been kidnapped or even killed. Once his parents found him and realized that he had been going out of his way to talk to a dirty orphan girl on the streets, they took him out of school in order to keep an eye on him, mortified at the thought of ever letting him out of the house again. He told me he had never seen them so upset over nothing. He had made a friend; it was nothing to lose themselves over.
Ever since then, he was homeschooled by a Jamaican hypocrite tutor. What neither his parents nor his tutor knew is that he still skipped his daily trip to the library to see me.
*          *          *
Blinking the sleepy sensation out of my system, I heard a voice outside my door and crawled out of the small house of bricks Colter and I had built when we found that Mama Mia's Pizza had a large hole in the insulation. Pushing away the wooden flap, I scooted over so Colter could fit in. His bright, troublemaker smile shoved away a constellation of freckles, and his wild brown hair was unbrushed and falling into his deep dark brown eyes. He shoved in his Tutor Tree backpack he got from his Jamaican tutor before he slid in after it.
            Finding a comfortable enough position, Colter shuffled around in his backpack, still grinning at me without a word. I smiled back; I couldn’t help it, Colter always had that effect on me. We had been friends forever and he had been the only person I ever knew to betray his parents even just to come see me every day.
My eyes widening, I let out a breath at the tiny, wriggly, Golden Retriever puppy he produced from his jacket pocket and a bunch of toys and other things from his pack. The bundle of excitement in his hands leaped out and fell into my lap, licking me ferociously.
"It’s just like you!" I smiled.
"Well then, you better come up with a name worthy of me," Colter replied with a smile twice as big as mine. "Think of him as something to remind you that I've always got your back." On cue, the puppy shoved my back and started scratching my sweater.
            "I don’t know what to say," I hugged him tightly. "Thank you so much!"
            Colter nodded, hugging me back, the light in his eyes slowly fading. I happened to glance down at his hand moving over to take mine. Willingly, I took his hand, thinking that it was strange since he'd never done that before, and looked back to find tears.
 "Colter?" I ventured, my mind going back to his comment. "You're leaving, aren't you?"
            "Bellona," he began. "I'm moving to Washington to be closer to family after a little emergency a few months back. And unless I tell my parents about you and by some miracle they let you come, I won't be able to see you."
I considered that. "You still haven't told your parents about me after all this time? It’s been years since they found out."
"Just like I promised, Bell," his eyes exploded with that sparkle again. "But what will you do when I’m gone?"
“Someone thinks a little highly of himself,” I teased, sobering after a moment.
            We both sat in silence for awhile, letting everything sink in along with the everyday noise that Colter would have to leave behind. He was staying longer than he should, but neither of us gave a hint about the time passing. Being one of our last times together, it wouldn't hurt him to stay.
My new puppy barked and brought us both out of our deep thoughts and into the realization that we were still holding hands. Letting go simultaneously, we tried calming down the dog before the pizza shop owners suspected anything. Suddenly, a distant, familiar voice called Colter’s name, bringing me back to painful memories. We looked at each other, our eyes wide with fear and understanding as the sound of footsteps came closer.
            "You have to go!" I whispered fiercely. "No matter what, this will not be a repetition of last time!"
Opening his mouth, he hesitated and nothing came out. Though his eyes pleaded to stay, he squeezed my hand one more time and darted off.
Without a sound, I sat and listened as my best friend walked away with his family to go. It sounded selfish even to me to want to go out there and beg his parents to let him stay, but being the only friend I’d ever known, he only person to stop and help me without a nasty look, the temptation was hard to resist.
Finally, I poked my head out to catch Colter starting off with his parents down the road. But, he looked back one last time to smile at me with a tiny reassuring wave. Dodging his parents’ glances, I waved back.
When I turned back to my new puppy attempting to tear apart his new tennis ball, there was a small slip of paper where Colter had been sitting. Turning it over, I found a Washington address with a full name and phone number. My welled up eyes and choked back sobs finally escaped. The puppy nudged me gently, his dark eyes mirroring Colter’s wearing their same hopeful twinkle.
Who will take care of you when I leave?
            Sitting up a little straighter, my puppy did the same and wagged his short little tail, panting wildly.
You better come up with a name for him worthy of me.
            Looking down at Colter's full name, I grinned, the words on the slip of paper making my brain click. I crawled out of my little room for the first time in months; for the first time in my life, besides to meet Colter, I finally had a motive.
"Come on, Kyler," I called, patting my lap. "We need to go find my parents." Kyler ran in circles in excitement, making it nearly impossible to get his collar and leash on right.
I threw Colter's address back into my dumpy old bedroom and watched it flutter to the concrete floor before sliding my leg over the seat of Colter’s old bike, gliding down the hill to the library.
Colter Kyler Hayes