Chapter 7: The Gloomiest Kid in Town

Something was terribly wrong with baby Callen.

Liberty knew it from the time he was a very small infant. When he cried without ceasing for hours on end, she sought advice.

“Sounds like colic,” said her mom.

“Probably teething,” offered her friends. But no matter what remedies Liberty tried, or how much attention she devoted to him, she struggled to cheer him up.

He was also very clingy, and easily spooked by loud noises, which would often set off another crying spell. He cried so much, that his eyes were always puffy, and his daycare at last announced that they could no longer keep him, as his constant wails upset the other children.

This was quite a setback for Liberty, who needed the long hours of quiet to concentrate on writing books. Eventually, she managed to work despite Callen’s constant sniffles and mournful looks. She wrote book after book, filled with stories about the rain forest. Editors were crazy about the fresh perspective on a part of the world they rarely heard about. Readers, too, began to devour her stories and fill her Twitter feed with praise (and a little snark).

She read some of her stories to Callen, too. He listened attentively, his eyes wide. But he never smiled, not even during the funny parts. Nor did he smile when she tickled him, or made funny faces, or sat beside him, rolling toy cars across the floor. Even Katniss couldn’t bring a smile to Callen’s face.

“He’ll outgrow it,” everyone said. “It’s just a fussy stage.”

But that fussy stage went on and on, until Callen became the gloomiest ten year-old kid in town.




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