Can the bonds of FRIENDSHIP overcome all odds?
The Code
Another Odd Discovery
“Forget not that the earth delights to feel your bare feet and the winds long to play with your hair.”
Bethany stood outside on the front porch of her house, feeling the wind pick up her hair and toss it around her face.
Her thoughts began to drift back to school that day, and the events that occurred there.
What were those boys’ names again? Dylan and Travis, she remembered.
She scowled at the memory. They had been so rude, so inconsiderate. What on earth had she done to deserve being treated like that?
She huffed loudly as her hair blew in front of her face. Boys.
Bethany and her family had just moved to Payton City, and had only been there for a week and a half.
Her new house was a small, brick house at the end of a culdesack. The houses around hers were similar, and her block reminded Bethany of a 1950’s suburb.
She sighed and looked down the street. She had neighbors with children, she knew because she had seen them playing skateboarding outside before. She never saw their faces, however, since they had never been close enough to distinguish.
Her neighborhood was an active one. There was a community pool about five minutes away, and the skatepark was just at the end of the street.
Bethany hopped down off the porch and walked the perimeter of her yard. The yard was surrounded by a six foot wooden fence, and lining the fence was a three foot deep hedge.
The hedge had something new to discover everyday. The first day at the new house, Bethany had found a glass jar full of orange sand. She tried opening it, but it was sealed so tightly that even her father couldn’t pull out the cork. It was sitting on her dresser in her room upstairs. Three days ago she had found a small blue reptile scale. She had assumed it to be from a snake, though she had never seen any. It was flimsy and smooth, and every time the sun hit it, it reflected a rainbow.
Yesterday’s discovery was the most interesting yet. A silver pendant on a two feet of twine. The pendant was about the size of Bethany’s palm, and engraved on it were four symbols that resembled some sort of hieroglyphics.
Bethany had done hours of research, but she couldn’t place their origin. That meant she couldn’t translate them.
Bethany wore the pendant around her neck everyday, but kept it tucked under her shirt. She was afraid someone would try to take it if they saw it, since it was pure silver.
Bethany pulled the pendant out from under her shirt and clasped her hand around it. She ran her fingers over the engraving. Payton City sure was a weird place.
She tucked the pendant back under her shirt. It felt cool against her chest and goosebumps rose on her arms.
She bounded over to the hedge on the right side of the yard, wondering what weird treasures it held for her today.
Dylan pressed his right foot down on the pavement and propelled himself forward. The wheels under his feet rolled over cracks in the concrete slab and his skateboard rocked slightly.
Travis appeared next to him, drifting gracefully on his brand new board. “They really need to fix this park,” he mumbled, glaring down at the cracked, aged concrete whizzing under him.
Dylan scratched at his side and looked around. He gestured to his right. “Should we take that ramp there?”
Travis squinted at it. “Yeah, it looks good,” he agreed. “I’ll go first.” Travis pounded his right foot down and down, building up excessive momentum. He accelerated all the way up the ramp and snapped quickly off the top, holding his board and nailing a 360 rotation. His skateboard rattled as he landed halfway on the ramp, and he coasted all the way down.
Dylan adjusted his kneepads and soared up the ramp, pressing down on his board, awaiting the exact moment to... There! As Dylan reached the top of the ramp he placed his right hand down on the plastic coating and kicked his feet up above him, completely inverting himself. He held himself like that for a moment or two, then brought his feet back down and slid down the ramp, skidding to a stop next to Travis.
“Nice kickflip!” Travis gave Dylan a high five and shook back his sweaty hair.
Dylan grinned. “Your ollie was pretty rad, too.” He picked up his board, walked over to the vending machines and began scanning their contents. “So, Mr. Hall didn’t yell at you at all?”
Travis joined Dylan by the vending and leaned up against a Pespi machine. “Nope.” He dug through his pockets for some change. He let out a cry of success and pulled out 75 cents. “He just took my notebook and placed it on his desk.”
Dylan inserted two dollars into the snack machine and pressed C-1. “When do you think you’ll get it back?” A package of cherry poptarts fell in front of the glass and landed in the bin at the bottom.
Travis plugged his change into the machine and selected Orange Fanta. “I don’t know. Probably after school tomorrow or somethin’.”
Dylan retrieved his snack and sat down at a picnic bench. Not much later Travis plunked himself next to him.
“Did Bethany do anything when he took your notebook?” Dylan asked as he stuffed his face with his sugary treat.
Travis thought for a moment. “No, I don’t think- oh wait, yes she did.” Travis broke the seal on his soda and took a sip. “She smirked at me somethin’ fierce.”
“Well get her back tomorrow,” Dylan plotted. “Where does she sit in Science?”
“Over in the corner by the window,” Travis replied, chugging his soda and pitching the can.
Dylan grinned, a grin that was wide and boyish and cunning. “I have a plan.”
It was unlike anything Bethany had ever seen.
It was a rock of some kind. Or so she had thought. It was round and jagged, and it seemed to be producing some sort of blue glow.
Bethany pulled back the branches of the hedge even more and crawled into the leaves.
It was at the far back of the hedge, and it cast its own shadows on the fence behind it. It was white. Well, actually, it was more a cream color, she later decided. It had tannish spots of several sizes scattered on its surface, and it was about the size of Mrs. Benson’s miniature globe.
Bethany reached forward and pressed her fingertips against it. It was cool and smooth to the touch, and she could of sworn that she could feel something pulsing inside it.
Bethany rolled her hands under it and picked it up out of the leaves. It was heavier than it looked, that was for sure. She pulled her self out of the hedge and held it out in front if her, to examine it in better light.
She had no idea what it was. All she knew was that she wanted to keep it.
Bethany heaved it into her elbow pit and balanced it to rest on her hip. She then proceeded to carry it up the back steps and into the house. She tiptoed past her mother napping on the couch and climbed the spiraling staircase that led to the second floor. Her room was the first to the left and Bethany stumbled into it when she reached the top. This thing was a lot heavier than what would have been preferred.
She then set it on her dresser next to the bottle of orange sand and small blue scale.
She took a step back and admired her small collection of oddities she had found in the hedge lining the fence which was lining her yard.
Man, did she love that hedge.

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