Today we are featuring Inklings Book Contest 2017 finalist, Julie Shi! Julie finished 5th grade this past school year. The story she submitted is called “Billy Meets Lilly” We hope you enjoy reading it as much as we did!
Leave a comment below on what you thought!
Billy Meets Lilly
by Julie Shi
Even though Billy was the only child, he could always find something fun to do.
If it was raining, Billy built castles and dragons out of Legos in his cozy room.
If it was shining, he ran outside to swing on his tire swing and build mud pies.
All in all, Billy was happy with his life, and he figured he didn’t need a little sister to play with.
So he thought his whole life would be ruined when his mother said eight simple yet devastating words, “Honey, you’re going to have a baby sister.”
Billy stared at his mother, eyes the size of saucers and mouth the size of the moon. “What?” he finally managed to say.
“A baby sister,” said his mother. “It’ll be great! You’ll be able to play with her!”
“I can play with myself,” Billy grumbled.
“Playing with your sister will be more fun,” said Billy’s father, who had overheard the conversation and just entered the room.
“Who says?” asked Billy.
“Please, honey,” said Billy’s mother. “You’ll see.”
Oh, Billy did see. He sure did see. The night Billy’s mother brought the baby home, they were all cooing at her and smiling into the little basket that held her.
“Billy!” called Billy’s mother. “Meet Lilly!”
“Lilly?” asked Billy. “Out of all the names you could’ve chosen, you chose the name that rhymes with mine?”
“Aww, Lilly, Lilly,” said Billy’s mother, making baby noises and completely ignoring Billy’s comment.
“So,” Billy tried again, “Is it L-I-L-Y, or is it L-I-L-L-Y?”
“The second one,” quickly answered Billy’s father, before turning back towards Lilly and smiling and rubbing her cheeks.
Billy approached Lilly. He stared into the basket. There, nestled in a bunch of blankets, lay the ugliest baby Billy had ever seen. “Ughh,” he muttered.
“Billy!” glared Billy’s mother.
Billy sighed, trudging back up to his room. If he wasn’t being ignored, he was being glared at for making truthful remarks. If he wasn’t being glared at for making truthful remarks, he was being ignored. This “Lilly” had just popped into his life, and suddenly, his parents were forgetting about him and paying all their attention to Lilly. “Humph,” glared Billy at nothing in particular.
That night, his parents could be heard making cooing noises at Lilly. They forgot to kiss Billy good-night.
The next morning, Billy woke up, hoping for a change. His parents had probably thought how mean they were to him over the night, and now, they were going to apologize. So, Billy tromped down stairs, hopeful.
There wasn’t a change.
In fact, things were getting worse.
Billy’s mother was sitting down with Lilly on her lap, petting her and making bubble noises. Billy’s father was fixing a batch of baby food and humming, “The Wheels on the Bus Go Round and Round”.
Billy poured his cereal into a bowl and then asked his dad to pour some milk for him. He wasn’t tall enough to reach the jug yet.
“Wait,” grunted Billy’s father, sounding like he would rather be fixing baby food for Lilly than pouring milk for Billy.
Billy waited, but his father never got to him. He didn’t eat breakfast that day. Billy packed his backpack and said, “Dad? Can you drive me to school?” Maybe, on the drive to school, Billy could talk to his dad.
“Take the bus,” grunted his father. Billy’s hopes were instantly crushed.
Billy dejectedly walked outside to wait for the bus. He felt like he was just air now: he was there, but he wasn’t worth speaking to.
Billy couldn’t concentrate at school. When he was asked to multiply nine by eight, he replied, “seven.” When he was told to add seven and twenty-five, he replied, “five hundred.” He was snickered at and laughed at, but he didn’t care. Being a laughing stock was like being a king compared to being air.
When Billy arrived home, his mother, who was holding Lilly, and his father, were sitting in the living room. His mother immediately said, “Billy! Go grab the book ‘Goodnight, Moon,’ and I’ll read it to Lilly.”
Billy trudged towards the bookshelf. He had just arrived from school, and immediately, he was asked to do something for Lilly. He was spoken to, but only because of Lilly.
Later in the day, Billy made up his mind. He was going to go convince his parents why Lilly had to go. He arrived in the living room, and a horrifying sight met his eyes. His mom was taking a nap with Lilly. Next to Lilly, lay Hippo, Billy’s favorite stuffed animal. Lilly was leaning on Hippo as if he was hers. But he wasn’t. Hippo was Billy’s! Billy leaned down and snatched Hippo from Lilly, glaring at her. Lilly blinked open an eye, and the instant she realized that Hippo was gone, she started bawling. Billy’s mother woke up. When she saw Billy holding the stuffed animal, and Lilly crying like a maniac, she shouted, “Billy! Give that stuffed animal back at once!”
“No! It’s mine!” Billy protested.
Lilly’s cries grew louder.
“Billy!” warned his mom.
“MOM! IT’S MINE!” Billy screamed. He didn’t know why, but he was sobbing now. “MINE!”
The cries grew louder. Was it even possible for a two-day old baby to bawl like that? Maybe she was an alien coming to abduct him, thought Billy.
“BILLY! SHE’S YOUR LITTLE SISTER! LET HER HAVE THE STUFFED ANIMAL!” Billy’s mom was shouting now.
More crying, from both Lilly and Billy.
“FINE! I’LL GIVE LILLY THE STUPID STUFFED ANIMAL!” screamed Billy. He slammed the stuffed animal down and stormed away.
Distantly, Billy heard his mom shout something about going to his room, but he ignored her. He stormed into their library and plopped down on a chair.
Billy was infuriated. This was too much! Hippo was his. His. Not Lilly’s, his. If they wanted to treat him like that, fine. Fine, fine, fine, fine, fine! Did they expect him to just stay and be ignored, though? Nope, not a chance. He had been pushed past the line. He was going to show them that he mattered.
Billy was running away.
He dried his tears and peered into the living room. His mother was already back asleep. Like I’m nothing, Billy thought. Like I’m just some person without any feelings.
Then he slowly breathed and counted to ten, and he thought about what he would need. Well, he first needed a bag to carry things in. He had seen in cartoons and movies that runaways usually tied a small sack at the end of a long stick. But he was running away for a long time, and he didn’t have any long sticks. He’d need a bigger sack. Then he thought of his backpack. It was perfect! Bag: check, he silently thought.
Next, he needed money. He put all his ten secretly stashed dollars into his backpack, but it wasn’t enough. He needed more. I need some money from Mom’s wallet, he thought. He felt a little guilty, but after he remembered how his mother had treated him when he had gotten back from school, all the guilt vanished. He snuck eighty dollars from his mom’s purse into his backpack. Money: check.
He now needed to pack some food. The problem was, he needed to keep his food fresh; otherwise, it would rot. He finally put a box of cookies, plus five candies, into a bag, which he dropped into his backpack. Anyway, Billy thought, if it isn’t enough, I can always buy some more. Food: check.
Lastly, he would need shelter and clean clothes for when he slept on the streets. He decided his blanket would be enough. He also stuffed an extra pair of clothes into his backpack. Shelter and clothing: check.
Now, his backpack was bulging, and it was heavy, but Billy didn’t mind. As long as it could hold what he needed, he would carry it. Then he walked towards the front door. He knew it creaked when it opened, and he silently debated whether he should quickly wrench it open, or slowly open it to a crack and then slip through. He finally decided to do a little of both. He quickly opened the door to a little crack. He couldn’t fit. He opened the door a little more. He still couldn’t fit. He creaked open the door just a bit more, and he slipped through.
Billy suddenly realized what he was doing. He was saying goodbye to his parents forever. His parents, his two most favorite people on earth. That is, Billy corrected, Until now. Images flashed through his head: His mom was asking him to pour orange juice for three-year old Lilly. His dad was giving Lilly all his stuffed animals. Then he firmly thought: They think they can treat me like that? I’m their child! I’m going to prove them wrong. I’m going to run away, and see how they like it then. I’ll give them a week without me, and then they’ll start to appreciate me.
Then Billy realized: he should write a note. He hurried back into the house, grabbed a pen and a post-it, and scribbled, “Running away. -Billy.” Then he taped it to the front door, slipped outside again, and breathed a deep sigh.
He looked outside and groaned. It was raining. He hadn’t planned it to rain. It never rained when people in the movies were running away. He figured he could just rest under the large tree in their front yard, and then get going. He walked to the tree and sat down.
The steady drip drop of the rain soon lulled Billy into a sleepy trance. Stay awake, he glared at himself. But it was too much. He was tired, tired, tired…
When Billy woke up, it wasn’t raining, but the sun was setting. It was already five o’clock in the afternoon. Great, Billy thought. Gotta get going.
Then he saw his parents in the library room. The library had a large window facing out into the front yard, and Billy could see into it. In the library, Billy could see his mother and father painting… Oh no, they’re not, Billy thought. Billy’s parents were painting his baby chair, which was originally blue, pink. For Lilly. It was Billy’s. And they were going to give it to Lilly. Anger rose inside Billy.
Then he saw his mother calling for someone. For Lilly, probably, sneered Billy. Then he realized that Lilly couldn’t walk yet. If his mother wanted Lilly, she would be walking into the living room to get her. Billy’s mother was calling for Billy.
Billy’s mother looked worried and asked Billy’s father something. Then she called for Billy again. She called again. And again. She walked out of the library room. Billy lost sight of her, but he imagined the whole scene: Billy’s mother would see the note taped on the front door. She would snatch the note, read it, fingers trembling, read it again, and run to Billy’s father. Sure enough, Billy’s mother’s fingers were trembling when she ran back into the library room, and sure enough, she showed Billy’s father the note. The two of them collapsed into chairs. Billy’s father’s fingers also shook.
This was all Billy could take. He couldn’t bear seeing his parents this pale and frightened. He rushed to the front door and tried to open the door. It was locked. He rang the doorbell. Billy saw his mother running towards him. He saw how her worried face turned delighted as she saw him, opened the door, and hugged him. “Why?” she breathed into his ear.
Billy did not answer but hugged his mother tighter.
That night, Billy explained why he had run away, and his mother and father apologized to him. They apologized for treating him like air, for ignoring him, for not helping him, for taking his baby chair and giving it to Lilly.
As they sat on the couch, Billy whispered, “Do you love me?”
“Of course!” stated his father.
“To the moon and back,” smiled his mother.
“Do you love Lilly more than me?” he asked.
“No!” Billy’s father almost shouted.
“It’s like asking which eye I love better, my right, or my left,” said Billy’s mother.
“I like my right eye better,” Billy commented.
“Billy, you know what I mean. I love you both. You’re both my children, and I will never love one over the other,” Billy’s mother said.
Billy smiled at his parents and looked at Lilly again. She didn’t seem as ugly as she had before. In fact, she looked beautiful. Billy reached for Lilly and placed her in his lap.
For the rest of the night, Billy’s family sat on the couch. They ate Billy’s favorite dinner and watched his favorite basketball game. Billy’s mother asked him how school was going, and Billy’s father asked him if he wanted to play baseball during the weekend.
And the four of them were happy. They were a happy family, happy with life, happy to have each other.