Chapter 1

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"Come back before six, Bella!" the girl heard her mother yell out as she slammed the old, typical wooden door behind her small frame. The whole house rattled from the impact. Her feet made a dull, scraping noise as they slid across the cold surface, her pink sandals glistening blindingly in the sunlight. She chuckled as she gripped her teddy bear, Mr. Rose, and ran along the front yard sloppily. With each step, her excitement rose, and the sun seemed to burn brighter, illuminating the figure of the young girl. A pure, innocent soul. She looked like a child that would end up dedicating her life to volunteering and charity.

Her destination was the park, the only place her parents allowed her to visit on her own. A few of her friends visited the park quite often.

She blew her long, chestnut hair out of her face as she pretended to open a gate that didn't exist. Nobody in her neighborhood had a fence, but she'd always liked fences, so she kept pretending she had one. Jenny had one. Jenny also had a big house, and she could play everywhere!

But Bella's house was small, and she had to share a room with her big brother. He didn't like sharing a room with her, so she spent a lot of time in other rooms. If 'outside' was a room, it would be her favorite by far.

Her tenth birthday was a few days prior, and that's when she'd gotten Mr. Rose. He was her bear, and she refused to let anyone touch him, and always had him held securely in her hand. The fur on his hand where the girl held him was already worn and seemed like it was about to break apart. Its glossy button-eyes were dim and misty, full of tiny scratches.

She swung her hands around as she walked along the sidewalk, hoping her friends would be at the park. She lived close to it. It was right around the corner of her street, being the centre of her neighbourhood.

After a minute of her jolly jumping and stepping on quite a few chewing gums on the pavement, she was at the corner. She had a habit of stopping before it and pretending she was a princess going on a grand adventure, and that magic and danger waited around that corner.

The corner-house was where Mrs. Johnson, a nice old lady that her parents sent her to sometimes, lived. She liked her because she owned a bazillion cats. The girl liked playing with the old lady's cats.

She wanted to drop by, but very well knew her parents would be mad. They told her not to wander off and to head straight for the park. Plus, she didn't want the cats to dislike Mr. Rose, since she hadn't gotten a chance to dress him up yet.

She straightened her posture and walked around Mrs. Johnson's house, prepared for the sight of the park. Her eyes shone brightly with pure excitement as she caught sight of beautiful green trees growing everywhere, providing a shade for the children playing on the swings, running around, and laughing everywhere across the park.

The girl's heart leapt in excitement, and she got the urge to run straight there, but her mother's sweet, caring voice echoed through the child's mind: "Always look on both sides before crossing the road, Bella!".

She stopped near the edge of the pavement, looking at the zebra crossing in wonder. The caring girl felt sad for the poor zebra. Everyone walked all over it.

She looked to her right, then her left, and repeated the process a few times, making sure she didn't miss a car. Once Bella was sure she was safe, a huge smile appeared on her small, chubby face, and she stepped onto the road, jumping over the white lines to spare the zebra. The girl didn't want it to feel more pain than necessary.

Once she was safely on the other side of the road, she walked over the grass towards a bench. Instead of sitting down, she climbed onto it, admiring how the pale blue color remained untouched.

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