Character Name: Bell: 2004
Alternate Identities: Belle Campbell, Tinker, Tink, Whachu, Chewy
Player Name: NPC
|Eye Color:||Greenish Brown||Height:||5' 4"|
|Belle is shorter than average with nicely rounded curves and dresses in jeans, usually black, and a tee with a leather jacket. She's pretty girl though she plays it down by foregoing make-up or any other embellishment that might catch the eye of the wrong type guy. She hasn't settled on a hair style as yet so it is not unusual to see her switch from corn rows to a short afro to extensions. If left to it's own devices her hair is straight and just touches her shoulders. Her eyes are a greenish brown that most would call hazel but there are time when a hint of gold will creep in.|
Belle slung the battered guitar case over her shoulder, the cord cutting into her neck. She ducked out the back door and skipped down the steps to the tiny backyard. Stepping around a busted tricycle she lifted the gate’s latch and pushed it out into the alley just enough to squeeze though without ripping the case from her back. Once clear of the gate be took off down that alley at a trot, the guitar bouncing against her spine.
Weaving an intricate route through the neighborhood, she bypassed the turf of one gang or another until she reached North 6th Street then turned south passing under the Lincoln Highway. There she slowed, alert for any sign she had drawn attention from the night’s collection of homeless that sheltered under the flyover. Once clear she veered into Franklin Square and continued south to Race Street. Crossing Race, then North 6th, she continued south past the National Constitution Center to Independence Mall State Park.
When she reached the south end of the mall she stopped and swung the guitar case from her shoulder. Propping the duct taped lid open against the wall; she pulled out her guitar and began tuning it, oblivious to the growing light and traffic. It was a Saturday morning and the summer’s heat was mostly gone, winter’s cold had yet to arrive. No hint of cloud touched the sky and she had a feeling it was going to be a lucrative day.
She started with the stuff her grand had taught her, patriotic crap like America the Beautiful. It wasn’t what she wanted to play but it was what the tourists expected as they began to gather prior to the opening of the Liberty Bell exhibit. By the time the line began to filter into the building there was a fair collection of coins and dollar bills in her case.
Once the initial crowd dissipated she moved on to her own music, what she really came to play for. The guitar became a drum, the strings began to screech under her finger nails and the music changed to hip hop. As she allowed her attention to become absorbed in the sound she failed to notice an accompaniment sounds with no origin. Only when coins began to drop into her case in almost a flood did she break free from the music and pause to take in the crowd that had grown up around her.
As the last note fainted applause broke out and she found her self the center of attention. To her amazement, even the white tourists were grinning and clapping. More money dropped into her case as she reviewed her last song in her head. It was one she’d written a couple of months ago and it had never gotten that type of reception in the past. Realizing she had an opportunity she struck up another of her works.
The music in her head, the way she heard all her work, surrounded her, flowing out into the crowd and across the street. It drew an ever expanding crowd until one of Philly’s finest decided the mob was blocking the entrance into the Bell’s museum. She finished the song just as he reached her.
“Let me see you license,” he demanded.
She swallowed hard. She’d never bothered with a street performers license and she could see the cop knew it. The man scowled down at her, his dark face looking thunder. As he opened his mouth to start yelling at her a white guy in a suit stepped up.
“What’s the problem, office?” he asked. From a vest pocket he extracted a gold business card case and offered one of the gold embossed cream rectangles to the cop. “I represent this young lady so anything you have to say, you may say it to me.”
The cop read the card then handed it back.
“Just see she gets a license next time,” he said, then turned and pushed into the crowd.
The girl eyed the man in the suit skeptically. He offered the card the cop had returned and she took it. The name and list of names that told her the firm meant nothing to her.
“What you want?” she said suspiciously, instantly on the alert.
“If you decide you need legal representation in the near future, contact me,” he said, then turned away.
She watched him disappear into the thinning crowd pegging him as just another white dude taking his business into the ghetto. Crumpling the card she shoved it into a pocket then replaced the guitar in the case on top the coins and bills. Snapping it closed, she swung it up over her shoulder and started for home.
The incident with the white lawyer bothered her for some reason. He hadn’t acted like all he wanted to do was get into her pants. So engrossed in her thoughts she passed under the Lincoln without noticing and was into the wrong territory before she was aware. A large male presence was beside her, keeping pace. She glanced up out of the corner of her eye.
He was a lot older than her, in his twenties, good looking, hair short, with a diamond stud in one ear. In baggy jeans, a wife beater and basketball shoes he could have been any other black man on the street. But he wasn’t. She’d seen him around too many times, slipping baggies of crack to some of her friends.
“Hey, baby,” he said.
She hunched her shoulders and walked faster.
“Don’t do me like that,” he said, reaching out and grabbing her shoulder. She spun around to face him, her heart thudding in her chest.
“I didn’t mean to . . .” she started to explain.
“You did though,” his grin was feral and her hands started to tremble.
Just as she was about to drop the case and run, two solid male bodies pressed against her back holding her in place.
“Don’t worry,” the man said. “We’re gonna take real good care of you.”
“Yeah, show you a real good time,” one of the men behind her added.
A hand roamed over her butt and the guy in front of her pulled her closer by the collar of her shirt. He peered down inside and raised an eyebrow.
“Not much here,” he said.
The hand on her ass squeezed.
“Gotta nice ass though,” the other guy said.
For a moment she thought she would faint, she hoped she would faint but then all three men were down on the ground holding their ears in pain. The sound of a thousand bells, all of them out of tune, surrounded her. She had no idea what had happened but she did know what to do. She ran like hell.
For three days she didn’t leave the house but friends heard rumors and brought them back to her. A story was going around about how she had kicked the crap out of five members of the gang nearly crippling one. Other rumors had it that she be picked up by a rival gang and recruited. Another said she had some super type protecting her. It was a terrifying and miserable three days.
Late on the third night, as she sat working on a song in the bedroom she shared with the younger brother and little sister, a powerful engine roared up the street drawing her attention. She twisted on the bed to peer out the curtains to the street. A black Escalade slammed on brakes in front of her house and the windows slid down. To her horror the barrels of two assault rifles protrude and the night was filled with the rattle of guns on full auto.
Instinctively she threw an arm up to cover her face as glass and wood splinters filled the air. A cacophony bells completed with the staccato of the machineguns as her little sister awoke screaming in terror. Without thought she bounded out of her bed and gathered the smaller girl in her arms, shielding her with her own body. She waited for death, tears streaming down her face.
The tone of the bells changed, became melodious, a sustained trio of notes that faded into silence as the girl became aware of the absence of gunfire. She felt no pain, only the warm body of her sister pressed against her, hot but shuddering with sobs. Lifting her head she looked over at her brother, expecting to see a bloody ruin that had once been an annoying ten year old. He was not in the bed. From the far side of the mattress a head slowly rose like a turtle coming out of its shell.
“Tink?” he said, his eyes wide in fear.
For the first time on years she didn’t care that he’d used the nickname she hated so much. He was alive! Quickly he scrabbled over the bed and drove his shoulder into her side as he wrapped both his sisters in a hug. By some miracle, all three had survived. In the distance she heard the sirens of approaching police cars.
“Gran,” she moaned and began to untangle herself from her siblings. Pounding down the worn wooden stairs she grabbed the corner of the hall’s wall and pivoted into the kitchen. The old woman was huddled between the refrigerator and the back door and when she heard Belle’s running feet she struggled to pull herself to her feet. Belle almost knocked her back down as she threw herself into her grandmother’s arms.
“Ariel and Philip,” the old woman asked. Both children appeared at the hall door and rushed their elders.
The police report stated two full magazines of thirty shells each had been fired into the house, hitting it all sixty times. The report also stated that while the front wall of the house, windows and furniture against that wall were riddled with bullets, not one of the slugs had penetrated into the house more than six inches. Not counting the twenty-three slugs extracted from the couch and one bed, every single slug had seemingly fallen to the floor just inside the house.
A Cadillac Escalade was found torched in a devastated North Philadelphia lot along with two AR-16 assault rifles that had been modified for full automatic fire. The vehicle had been reported stolen from a home northwest of Philly and the rifles had been stolen from a home in South Philly. The case was ‘under investigation’.
A black Chevy Suburban pulled up in front of the battered house just as a police car was dropping of the residents. A man in a suit that screamed ‘government’ climbed out from behind the wheel and approached the little family.
“Mrs. Campbell,” he said. “My name is Miller.”
Though Miller had only been gathering recruits for a few months, this fifteen year old girl proved to be the toughest sell he’d ever made. He had no intension of letting her get away. He wanted her for the team’s first African American member. Diversity and all.
After three hours she finally agreed and Miller wasn’t sure he’d gotten the better deal. Belle agreed to join up and work hard with stipulations. First, she would be sent to a music school. Second, her family went wherever she went. Third, her family would be provided with a house and income enough to ease her grandmother’s financial worries. And last, her siblings would be given a college education. They were in San Diego the next day.
As the oldest of three Belle Campbell has the clearest memories of her mother though few are good and when her mother died of a drug overdose not long after Ariel was born, Belle shed few tears. As with many African American families her grandmother was quick to step up and take the three in though it put a severe strain on her finances.
Belle is an extremely gifted musician having been schooled in music nearly from birth by her grandmother. To supplement their meager income, Belle took to the streets performing for coins around the city’s tourist attractions. Though the take was small it had always been enough to keep them afloat.
When Belle’s powers manifested for the first time on that Philadelphia street, she didn’t even realize it nor did she when again those same powers incapacitated the three gangbangers on the street. The possibility hit her after the attack on her family.
Now a whole new world awaits her in a city of sunshine and beaches along with a fancy school and new home for her family. Not one to let an opportunity slip by, Belle resolved to throw herself into school and make the most of things. Then she met her teammates.
|Belle has the ability to control sound to an amazing degree. This can manifest in a number of ways from a deafening note up to and including the a power to shatter stone and steel or bones. She can suppress sound by using noise canceling or create a wall of sound that can stop bullets. As she gain experience she is sure to discover other uses for her powers.|
Growing up in Lower North Philly is a hard life for anyone but for an attractive young girl with the soul of a musician it all seemed pretty dreary. Belle, her mother loved Disney movies, learned how to survive and how to protect her siblings. From an older guy, he had figured on getting her into bed, she’d learned street fighting and something about guns. From her friends she’d learned the art of getting along without getting hurt.
She managed to avoid many of the pitfalls of her neighborhood, the sex, the drugs, the gangs but she had always known she was just putting off the inevitable. In the older girls she’d seen it, a baby, crack and a road to nowhere. This power she’d been blessed with, and to her it was a blessing, saved her from all that.
Though she is outwardly a hard Philly girl, into rap and that scene, she has a musical gift just waiting to explode on the world and has a romantic side that makes her name Belle, appropriate even if she'd rather die than show it.
She has already gained a new nickname, 'Whachu' from her habit of its constant use. So far it hasn't been a problem but someone is sure to use it one too many times ...
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