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by: 
Sierra, Teen Contributor

Bianca’s heartbeat reverberates in her ears. She slowly leans forward on her foot, preparing to spring into action if need be. The bustle of the city melts away, and the sights of the innocent civilians disappear as her eyes narrow on one thing and one thing only. Him.

Campbell shuffles nonchalantly down the street a few feet ahead of Bianca, hands in his pockets and headphones on his neck. A sloppy beanie cap lazes on his bald head, and his baggy clothes hang loose on his body. They hide all his insecurities and his intentions. He could have been just some uncaring and distracted old guy. But Bianca knows better. 

Years ago, Campbell was clean. He was well-dressed with a crisp polo shirt tucked into neatly-ironed pants and Oxford shoes so shiny you could see your reflection in them. He used to always look you in the eyes and greet you with a smile. He always used to turn around calmly if you called his name, and wait patiently for you if you fell behind. He kept his hair longer then, and often pulled it back into a little ponytail to keep it out of his face.

Back then, he was infinitely more charming than he is now. He was more charismatic, more electric. But no less dangerous.

Campbell suddenly stops walking, and Bianca nearly grabs her gun at the sight. She feels far too jumpy, and releases a hesitant breath. She breathes in again with more conviction, then breathes out her nerves, and breathes in clarity. She relaxes her stance, but narrows her eyes. He glances at a billboard nearby and tilts his head slightly while reading it. Bianca can’t help but smirk; she forgot he liked to read sideways.

They met at a charity party, a high-end affair on the east side of the city. Bianca had been hired as a security guard and manned the front entrance. Campbell quite literally ran into her, and the two crashed into a nearby bush. Papers that he had cradled in his arms flew into the air around them. He profusely apologized, and when their eyes met, they shared an utterly clichéd moment where their hearts caught in their throats. He asked her to join him for dinner, she asked him to join her for lunch the next day. Weeks passed and Bianca began to notice the tiny details about Campbell: the way he always tilted his head to the side to look at her, the way he left his silverware askew when he ate, his lopsided smile. They were younger back then, and more naïve. Bianca was naïve.

Campbell begins shuffling down the road again, though now Bianca notices a limp in his left leg. Had he been walking that way the whole time? He seems to be protecting his right side pocket, as if he holds something precious. Bianca had been a police officer for too long to pretend she didn’t know what was in his pocket—a gun. She trots after him.

He had begun to get pushy after three months. But Bianca didn’t want to believe it. She ignored his hands that started at her knees and then crawled their way up her thighs like a spider. She overlooked his adventurous lips that crept down her neck and collarbone, and treated her shirt like wrapping paper on a Christmas present. She didn’t want to believe he would go too far. He was a gentleman, he always had been. Those were the words she whispered to herself when he finally ripped off the wrapping paper and feasted on his gift, the words that got falser and falser with every passing moment.

Bianca shudders. She shakes her head to dispel the memory. The one she never reported because she always felt like she asked for it. She had every means of stopping it at her disposal: her taser gun, her trained fists, and even her words. But she never told Campbell to stop; she never said “no”. As she watches him wandering aimlessly along the streets of the city, she wonders if she even has the right to be hounding him so closely. Sure, he’s carrying a gun, but so is she, as well as roughly 10% of the city’s population.

Just as she decides to let him go, Campbell whips around and stares crookedly into her soul. Her heart catches in her throat, and before she can think, he dashes towards her. Her eyes widen, the fear of the past, the regret, the anger, the resentment, the panic, they all flash in her eyes and she can’t see anything except him, coming closer, closer, too close, too close, stop stop stop, he was a gentleman, he always had been, he was a gentleman, he always had bee—

 

Bianca snaps back to reality, and sees her ex-boyfriend lying on the ground with blood pooling in his shoulder and onto his chest. As he writhes on the concrete, Bianca stares unbelieving at her shaking hands that cling to her 9mm for dear life.

 She abruptly rejects the weapon, dropping it like a hot potato, and sinks to the ground on her knees. They lock eyes, and in the moment she sees something in him that she never thought he had.

Guilt.

And she’s certain he can see it in her eyes too.

A passerby calls 911 and an ambulance arrives, as well as some members of the NYPD shortly after. People begin to crowd around the scene, forming a curious but cautious ring around Bianca and her assaulted ex. The paramedics quickly lift him onto a stretcher and load him into the ambulance, and police members from a different branch begin to survey the civilians in search of witnesses. They eventually come around to questioning her, though her answers blur in her mind.

She knows exactly the case she could make. He was a rapist, and in the heat of the moment she shot at him in self-defense. It could make headlines. But she also knew he had once been world-renowned in his field, and that very few rapes were ever reported. Would the press say it had been another case of police brutality, of her prejudice and subconscious racial profiling? Or maybe they would use her gender against her, saying that she was profiling against men. Or they could twist it to say that no women are safe, not even fully-armed and defendable police officers.

But no matter what, no newspaper in the world would print the truth. Campbell and Bianca had been running from their past, and when they collided again they had fought too much to recover their lost love. The absolute trust that she once had for him had broken, and his absolute faith that she would never hurt him had shattered.

 

It’s funny, really, Bianca thinks to herself, how desperately this story could have been a revenge tale. And yet how much it felt like a mistake. 

by: 
Corey, Teen Contributor

With fall upon us, Corey gives us a glimpse back to autumn 2016.

by: 
Joseph, Teen Contributor

When I woke up I felt energized, but then I remembered the state of the predicament I was in. I first had to start by checking my injury; my paw looked like it was scabbing over so I left it alone. I decided to make a plan for getting home and I also needed a plan for finding food and shelter. At last I was on my way to home in California. “I hope I still have one”, I thought. As I was walking, my stomach started to rumble. I thought to myself, “I am hungry, I need food, and that sausage did not fill me up”. I set out for more food. As I was walking along I started to hear a river, and as I followed the sound I was thinking I wanted fish for breakfast. When I came to the “river”, which was actually a small stream, I was disappointed. “At least it’s fresh water”, I said in a starving voice. I took a couple sips of water and when I was done drinking the water I saw some wild blueberries across the stream. I was crossing the stream and felt something swim across my paw.  When I looked down there was nothing there, but I saw the shiny scales of a fish coming toward me. I had an urge to pounce, so I did. I snatched the fish up in my paw and bit down. I carried it to the shore of the stream and ate every bit of the fish except the bones. I also added a few dozen of berries.  I was full then, so I kept on walking.

I had come to the outskirts of a city, the sign said that the name of the city is Jamestown.  As it started to get dark, I told myself, “I need more food.”  I went to a neighborhood to beg for food at one house and was given some stale cheese puffs.  I was still hungry, so I went to another house and had a broom thrown at me, then finally I was given a meat and cheese sandwich.  I was full after that so I went to go hunt for a place to sleep.  I found a house with a deck and a hole in the side of the house that led into the crawl space.  I went in and found that it was very warm in there.  I fell asleep quickly.  As I slept, I was dreaming that I was playing with my family.  We were all playing Frisbee.  I was about to catch one when I heard a car start.  I woke up when the owners of the house left.  I started to ask myself what time it was. “How would I know?  I have at least the sun to look at ...I guess.”  I saw that the sun was all the way up so I guessed it was about 11:30 - 1:30.  I was disappointed to see that half of the day was wasted by sleeping.

I ran to the other side of the city and saw a gas station to rest at.  I overheard some people talking.  One man said “I am going to Denver all the way with no stops but for gas.” The other person said, “I am going to Las Vegas.” The first guy said, “Cool!”  I decided to go with one of them.  I chose to go to Denver because he had a truck, while the other person only had a SUV.  As he started his truck I hopped in the bed of it.  I was happy that no one saw me jump into it.  We got on to the highway and I felt like I was home in our family car.  I fell instantly asleep to the hum of the engine and the little bumps in the road.  I was jerked awake when we stopped moving, he cut the engine, and slammed truck door.  I looked up to see the truck driver had found me and covered me up with a blanket.  When he saw I was awake he patted me on the head.  He was so kind that he gave me some tuna with cheese on the side.  He started to speak, “I had a dog just like you once, and he was a golden lab.  He was my life, my friend, I miss him.  So that is why I am trying to take care of you little doggie.”  While he was getting gas he said, “One more stop and we will be in Denver.”  I said “Yeah!”, but in his mind I only barked happily. He pet me very softly and I jumped out to use the restroom. When I got back in, his truck was full of gas and we sped off so fast we left a cloud of dust.  When we finally got to Denver, he stopped at a Holiday Inn. Then he said this is our last stop, I barked a goodbye, and left.

Image Credit: Ryan McKay on Flickr

 

by: 
Corey, Teen Contributor

Corey took this picture at his high school. The flowers were a gift for the graduating class of 2017.

by: 
Joseph, Teen Contributor

I'm lost. I've been gone from my home for quite some time. I'm somewhere in between New York and California, I'm in a big city it is full of people, some that are mean, some that are nice. Once I got hit by a broom, another time I was given a meat and cheese sandwich. I ate it appreciatively... wait, let me tell you what led up to this…I was walking with my family through a city in New York, when all of a sudden I smelled a cat in the alley ahead. I went after the cat, but I was stopped by my collar. I kept on pulling my collar, but it was breaking. I didn't care so I kept on pulling, then my color broke.  I went after the cats for 7 blocks; I kept on chasing the cat until it went through a pipe. I went in after the cat because it was the alley’s only way through. The pipe only led me to the entrance of an abandoned warehouse. The warehouse had holes the size of a small wastebasket in the sides of the walls. The holes in the walls were big enough for a cat to fit through, but too small for a dog like me to fit through. At first I did not hear the hissing behind me,and then when the cat went through the crack in the wall I gave up.Then I decided to walk home,but when I turned around the entrance was blocked by a dozen or two of mad cats. I felt paralyzed in fear. When they attacked, I  fought to get out of the alley. However, when I was out I realized I was lost!

 

The second I started to walk away my front left paw felt like it was being cut.  When I looked down I saw blood in the shape of my foot on the paved asphalt of the alley.  I had to limp to a park so I could rest on the grass.  As I was walking to the park I was also leaving a trail of blood.  

I chose to lay at the base of a tree because the shade was cool.  As I was laying there I decided to look at my cut and as it turned out, I had a headless thumbtack stuck in the main pad of my foot.  As I tried to get out it seemed to go farther in my foot.  When I was finally able to get the broken thumbtack out, it was dusk.  Even though I was in pain, I had to find food and a place to sleep.  I went to another alley to check for food.  When I rummaged through the trash of a deli, I found some sausage links that were not too old-looking.  After I had eaten one link I heard a menacing low growl.  So I slowly turned around and from the shadow of another dumpster I saw the golden eyes of a pit bull.  

When he came completely out, I could see that his ear was halfway ripped off and was hanging down.  He spoke in a low gravely voice.  “This is my turf! Who are you?” he said.

“I am Jackson. Who are you?” I said in a trembling voice.

“I am a pit bull as you can see” he replied.

“That is not what I meant” I said.

“Then what did you mean?” he growled.

“I meant what do they call you? I answered..

“Who is they?” he said sarcastically.

“What do the other animals call you?” I replied.

“I don’t have a phone to talk to the other animals with.” he laughed.

“Ha Ha, how about this, what is your name” I desperately said.

“Oh, they call me the killer” he growled.

“That is all I wanted to know.” I said as I smirked.  Which dogs can’t do so I failed.  I looked down to see if the sausage was still there.  It was.  I looked up and the killer was gone.  Then the smell of sausage was disappearing so I looked down again and it was gone.  So in fear I left the area.  I was surprised to see that for how dark it was outside it was still crowded.

 

I had become frightened because I realized that I was a homeless dog.  I'm so used to being provided for that I produced a small whimper. t least I have the galaxy  above me and I get to sleep under it.  I started to feel tired. “My muscles are hurting” I said to no one. So I decided sleep under a bush because the clouds looked like it would rain. The bush did not work like an umbrella like I hoped it would.  I debated whether I should stay or find a new spot to sleep and decided  to leave. I went to the outskirts of the city and found a car junkyard and jumped into a car that had its windows rolled down. I went into the back seat to sleep for the rest of the night.

by: 
Corey, Teen Contributor

by: 
Annamarie, Teen Contributor

Kindred by Octavia E. Butler

We start in a couple's house in the 1900’s. Dana, our main character, is turning 26 with her husband Kevin. Suddenly she is whisked away and put in the 1800’s. Because of this she met a slave owner's son Rufus who was only a child at the time. She was apparently there to save him from dying, to protect him. However, every time she is on the edge of death or severely hurt she comes back home. On her second time back, Kevin comes with her. They were there for two months and each visit gets longer and longer. When she was in trouble she called out, but Kevin was too late. It was only hours that she was gone in real life, but in the 1800’s Kevin had grown to live there for 5 years. Kevin is so strange, so changed when they got home. On Dana’s final visit she does something so disgraceful…  

by: 
Izzy, Teen Contributor

 

 In the light of the shining moon, playing softly musical tunes

Nimble fingers type-type-typing, in a young mind her plot points churn

Characters with unforeseen paths, soon their futures will be bloodbaths

Such a sociopath sitting there writing with no grade to earn

Writing only for herself a purpose no one can discern

But inside crawls one thought: burn

 

The creeping urge to kill your craft, her lovely story now seems daft

But push it away she must do, for hours a slave to the quill

Mend and bend the fabric of plot, to extend a gift the gods brought

The disease of doubt and plagued thoughts shant wage onslaught on good will

Shant wage war upon a girl in love with words who types for thrill

But inside crawls one thought: kill

 

With force the writer continues, for practice on her craft sinews

The world is her writing prompt, descriptions of the acorn squash

Other's conversations transform, characters speak truth in her art form.

No more pain can be born; for the writer only words awash

Do not convince them that it is useless, as that is brainwash

But inside crawls one thought: quash

 

 

Image Credit: LIVEFREE on Flickr 

 

 

by: 
Valeria, Teen Contributor

Why do I act like I'm all high and mighty when I'm inside, I'm dying, I'm finally realizing I need help. But I just take a deep breath, count to three. A picture in my head of who they wanted me to be. They wanted me to be "normal" . Happy and kind. They never thought I would be blind. Not blind by the meaning, But blind in the heart.Blinded by darkness. Blinded by the dark. I walk around lifeless, my heart beating but dead. A walking corpse, but no one pays attention.  A walking corpse, I'm lost in my head. Voices all around me but I cannot hear. Things have no meaning, at least not anymore. I'm not how I was, how I was before. I'm one of the living, but one of the dead. A part of me is missing. And I can't seem to understand what is coming my way. Every thought is a battle, every breath is a war, and I don't think I'm winning anymore. I'm hiding all these scars with an "I'm fine." You should stop asking if I’m ok. I’m tired of lying. I just wish I could go back to a time when I could smile and it didn’t take everything in me to do it.  Your to late to save me. If you could only see, Then you might know what it's like to be me. If you could only feel,Then you might see what I have to do to deal.If you ever learned, I knows you would be concerned. I will never show you,So you will never know what i have to go through. I will never let you in, But i do apologize for my sins. I will never speak a word about it,Because then everyone will know I'm  a misfit.

 

Image Credit: Vanity Mirror on Flickr

by: 
Jen, Teen Contributor

Have you read the book? Join us for a movie!

 

Risk everything… for love. You and a guest are invited to the advance screening of EVERYTHING EVERYTHING, on 5/11 (tomorrow!) at the Denver Pavillions theater located at the 16th Street Mall .

 

Download your complimentary passes. (While supplies last. Passes do not guarantee admission as theater is overbooked. ARRIVE EARLY to line up for a chance to get in.) #EverythingEverything in theaters May 19.

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