Andy Michaels sat outside in his backyard, his dog Liberty sitting right beside him with her dark pink tongue lolling out of her mouth. The German Shepherd dog proceeded to rest her head on Andy's jeans as he stroked her head.
"They were at it again girl. You think I should start walking to school? Or maybe my bike. I bet I can make it with my bike, don't you think so?" Liberty only let out a low whine and nuzzled his leg gently, shedding some of her black fur on his brown shirt as her tail wagged. Andy sighed, and stood up, entering his house with Liberty on his heels.
Closing the sliding glass door, he walked into the living room where his grandmother sat in the hideous but surprisingly comfortable big green chair. The TV was flickering, with laughter and applause coming out of the small speakers. His grandmother had some odd obsession with watching "The Price Is Right" but in all honestly, Andy didn't mind it all that much. Though on occasion it would get a little old, his grandmother was the only thing he had left in his life, other than Liberty.
Andy's parents had died in a horrendous fire when he was only a young boy, and while somehow he had managed to escape, his parents had been forever lost in the inferno. He had gone to live with his grandmother, and then soon got Liberty as a stray puppy found on his grandmother's doorstep.
He gently kissed his grandmother's head as he passed through the living room, and she didn't really pay him much attention as he walked past. Andy knew he would be able to catch her attention after the show was over. He moved up the staircase to his room, and as soon as he went in he shut the door.
Posters of different bands, most of them heavy metal, coated the flaking paint walls. His few possessions lay on the old dresser and on the bed that lay unmade from earlier in the morning. Sighing, Andy moved over to his iPod and turned it on. After flipping through a few songs, he heard a low whining sound and a small scratch at the door to his room. Andy got up, moved to the door, and opened it. Liberty poked her head in and let out another whine. With a resigned sigh, Andy let her in and waited for her to leap up on his bed before he followed suit.
Lying on his bed, listening to music, Andy's thoughts drifted to school. It was his first year in Clarks Tide High School, just a freshman, and he was having a pretty tough time. He had a very late birthday, and so though the school year was already almost over, he was still only fourteen years old. His incredibly short stature didn't help the situation, and neither did his child soft and thin light brown hair. To make matters worse, braces adorned his polished white teeth, causing his green eyes to shine and sparkle.
While it made him cute, that wasn't what he needed to survive in high school. Some sophomore was giving him a hard time on the bus ride home from school every day, and making sure plenty of other kids did too. From what Andy had gathered, his name was Siren, even though most kids just called him Yell. But to Andy, Siren was nothing more than a bully.
What Andy didn't let anyone but liberty know was that this awful bullying that occurred every day, it didn't just brush right off. The weight of his parent's deaths and strict grandmother, mixed with problems at school made him weighed down and downright depressed. Andy refused to admit it, but he had begun to notice changes in his own eating patterns. Less and less food seemed to make it to his plate and then into his stomach, and when he ate he usually was provided with a nice bout of stomachaches. Everything just seemed to be a dead end, and he wished more than anything that Liberty could respond to his cries, because she was the only one who listened anymore.
Despite feeling manic some days, driven near crazy with pain and fear, Andy kept plodding forward. For such a small, bullied, and rather cute kid he had some big ambitions. Andy knew that he would shoot for a goal no less than being a published author, and winning the Newberry medal at some point in time.
Andy knew that his goals were ridiculous, and some might say that those goals were unattainable, but he was determined to make it come true. The way he thought of it was that if he had already hit his low point so low in life, high school, he had to be able reach his high point without a problem. But currently, Andy was just trying to find a way out of the dumps, a way to plow through the mud.
He heard a voice calling him from the downstairs, but he couldn't tell exactly what his grandmother was saying. Andy reluctantly got up, moved over to his door, and opened it. Leaning out of the threshold to his room, he called down the stairs to her.
"What is it grandma?" He heard some furious mumbles before the voice screeched back up at him.
"Andy Michaels, if you want to say something, come down where I can hear you!" Andy winced at the sound of her screeching, and sometimes rusty sounding voice before he bolted down the stairs. His kind but sometimes rather strict grandmother stood at the bottom of the stairs. Her frail arms were crossed, but her glasses had slid down her nose so that she looked him right in the eyes. Andy made his voice kind when he saw his grandma.
"What is it grandma?" She let out a small huff of air before motioning Andy down the rest of the stairs. Moving over to the side of his grandma, she showed him an envelope with a number written on it. Her shaking hands pushed it into Andy's own young ones. She turned to look at him, and Andy felt his soul chill a bit as her eyes met his.
"Andy, I need you to take this to the bank. It's five hundred dollars. My account number is on the envelope. You do know how to make a deposit, don't you?" Andy nodded, checking in the envelope for the bills of green before tucking it into the pocket of his jacket. Relief flooded into him when he saw the ice in her eyes melt, and get replaced with a warm and loving look.
"Alright grandma. I'll see you soon." She smiled, and Andy leaned down so she could give him the kiss on the cheek he knew she always gave before he left for somewhere. Leaving the room, Andy went to the garage and got onto his bike. The door to the garage opened, and all of a sudden Liberty was bounding alongside him. Andy let out a laugh and let her follow him as he pedaled his red bike up the hill with the money safely tucked in his pocket.