Liberty and Innocent This work is considered exceptional by our editorial staff.

June 30, 2013
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The day was long, starting in the early hours of the morning. She’d woken before the world outside was light, and gotten into her light blue waitress outfit, and combed her long red hair, staring at herself in the dull light from her mirror with her dark blue eyes. Afterward, she’d gone to work, prepared the food, and started early, working throughout the day, until it was again dark.

She was on her way home in her old, practically vintage dulling blue painted truck. Her cats needed to be fed, which weren’t really even hers, but her parents’. She had to look after them now, since her parents were no longer able to. She didn’t just look after the cats, but her parents too. She had had to move in to their small (two bedroom at least) home, and work now not just to support herself, but all of them. There was no way she was going to any kind of college any time soon, or getting her own place for that matter...

It was as she was thinking about all of this when she saw him. On the side of the road, illuminated by her headlights, was a man. From a distance, she could see he was wearing tight blue jeans, a white t-shirt with a black leather jacket, and black boots, and also, that he held one thumb up in the air.

She knew not to. No woman alone in her car should pick up a stranger late at night, but...she just wanted to. What better things did she have to do? She certainly didn’t want to go back to her responsibilities at home. Sighing and shaking her head, she put on her blinker and pulled over next to him. He waved as she approached, and opened the car door and got in. She pulled off the shoulder and back onto the road before he could say so much as hello.

He looked at her, and said nothing. She waited for him to say something, but he didn’t, just stared at her. So she spoke,

“So, where to?”

He looked ahead and answered, “a life without responsibility.” She snickered, then glanced over at him and saw his serious expression under his dark blond slicked-back hair.

“Okay, then. Is that a left up here?” He looked over at her and smiled, his bright green eyes glinting with gold flecks.

“Yes.” She made the turn, and they continued on in silence for a couple more minutes, then asked, just to stop the loud nothingness,

“So, what’s your name?” Now he turned to her.




“Your name is...Innocent.”

“Yes.” She looked him over, wondering if he was being serious, or if she’d let some seriously stupid criminal into her car. He spoke again, “What’s your name?”

She hesitated, but then answered.

“Liberty,” he smirked when she said it. “What?”

“And you think I have a weird name.”

“Liberty isn’t as weird as Innocent.”

“I supposed you’re right,” He paused as if pondering something, “Do you want to come with me?”

Her brow furrowed.


“A life without responsibility.” Her eyes widened at the ridiculous thought. Life without responsibility. That would be interesting. No parents, no diner, no...cats. She could go to school, or wouldn’t even have to. Just do what she wanted.

“And how do we get there?”

“Right up here if you want, left if you don’t.” He pointed to the deserted intersection as she pulled up to the stop sign. The only thing that could be seen was the path ahead, a darkened gray paved road, and black to both sides.

She could do it, she thought. It wouldn’t hurt, if he was wrong about a new life, they’d just be on another road, and if he was right....she thought of her parents waiting for her at home, and even the cats. They loved the leftovers she brought home from work. She turned the wheel to the left, and sped down the road. He looked over at her, a respectful almost approving smile on his face. The rest of the way they were quiet, until they reached a gas station and he told her to pull over. She did. He was about to get out, but then she grabbed his arm.

“You know,” she said, “Life may be difficult, but without responsibility, it has no purpose.”

A real smile crossed his face as he replied, “You might be right,” and got out of the car. As she pulled out of the parking lot, she saw Innocent walk up to another car, talk to the driver, then get in the passenger side. Liberty shook her head, and drove off, back to her home.

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JRaye This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Jul. 2, 2013 at 10:09 pm
This is really creative! I love the twist with their names, the whole idea behind it. Great job, keep it up! :)
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