Marbles

So this is my first attempt, but I want to start writing children's literature. If any of you readers have younger brothers or sisters/ children/ grandchildren/ cousins/ nephews or nieces around the ages of 9/10 maybe you could comment on how the language of the story is. I'm not too sure if its too easy reading? But let me know - cc very much appreciated.

TWO BOYS, FROM VERY DIFFERENT BACKGROUNDS, BECOME TO KNOW EACH OTHER THROUGH A GAME OF MARBLES. AS THE DUELS BECOME MORE INTENSE AND JEALOUSY SETS IN EACH TASTES THE THRILL OF COMPETING AND WANTS MORE. BUT CAN THESE COMPETITORS EVER BE FRIENDS WHEN THEY ARE BOTH SEARCHING FOR VERY VERY DIFFERENT THINGS AND BOTH NEED TO WIN?

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4. Ice-cream and sponge cake

It was weird for Billy to see the Brady boy at the fair. He was sure that they never went to things like this. His father, who would be the only person on the green to be wearing a suit and black bowler hat, was nowhere to be seen.

With Billy’s mother manning the cake stall and Julian’s parents out of sight, Billy and Julian were able to mix together for the very first time.

In the morning before the fair, Billy had woken early and scrubbed every patch of his body that could be dirty. Today was such a special day for him and he wanted to look just as nice. Audrey didn’t know, but Billy had saved a pair of clean trousers for this day underneath his bed. They were creased and smelt damp when he pulled them out but to Billy they were perfect. He didn’t have anything else that he could wear anyway, so he had no choice but to put them on.

His father had a brush in the cupboard under the sink and he used it to scrub the muck of his shoes before he laid the table for his family’s breakfast.

His mother was the first person up. She whispered gently in his ear;

“Happy Birthday,” then ruffled his hair with her soft hands.

Having nothing much to do that morning, Audrey set to packing up the picnic and cake that they would take to the fair. By the time she was done Rebecca and the children’s father were downstairs.

The house was fairly quiet. Everyone was tired and they really wanted to save their energy for all the fun that they would have that afternoon at the fair.

That year, Mr Green had been especially generous and had given them a bigger allowance of eggs. Audrey whisked the eggs with the last drops of milk that they had spare and the family ate Billy’s birthday breakfast; scrambled eggs. It was such a treat and at the fluffy warmth of the eggs made Billy feel very lucky inside. He hadn’t eaten a good breakfast like that in weeks and it felt so good that he should eat it on his birthday.

Because Rebecca was a little bit older now, she was becoming more independent. Well, as independent as seven year olds can be. It was her smart thinking that let Billy have one more present than usual. She presented it first.

“Here you go Billy,” she said handing him a piece of paper with streaks of crayons over it. “It’s you, me, mama and papa and a dog, who’s called Hairy Alfred.”

Billy looked hard at the line and pointed at some of them as he tried to make out the picture.

“Look,” Rebecca said shoving her finger onto the paper. She traced some of the circles. “See, mama…then that’s papa.”

“Oh,” Billy replied, politely. “I see it! It’s very beautiful, Rebecca, thank you.”

“Our turn,” smiled his mother.

She handed Billy a soft, square package that had a thin white rope wrapped around it.

“This is from us.”

Billy tore at the paper, excitedly.

“A new jumper!” he squealed.

His mother looked at his father and his father looked at his mother. They were very happy and so was Billy.

“Thank you! I’ll wear it today. Can I?”

“Of course,” said his father. “I don’t see why not.”

Billy ran upstairs as fast as he could and slipped the jumper on. He felt so grown up and looked very smart.

They left for the village green. Billy and Rebecca raced all the way there. Rebecca won but only because Billy let her. He was a man now. He had to look after her and make sure she was happy just like his parents did for him.

Rebecca wanted to go on the merry-go-round so she went with her father. Audrey said that she had to stay at the stall. She pointed out some boys in the corner.

“You could play with them. They look nice,” she said.

That was when Billy walked off and met Julian Brady for the first time.

Julian was a bit taller than Billy and had thick brown hair and green eyes. Billy’s hair was light brown and his eyes were dark brown. The looked quite similar but the clothes that they wore showed how different they really were.

“Hi,” started Billy. “I’m Billy Harris and it’s my birthday today.”

He put his hand out and Julian shook it in a very grown-up way, probably like your father shakes hands with his boss.

“I’m Julian. Julian Brady.”

Julian had a big brown football under his arm.

“Wanna play?” he asked Billy.

Billy shrugged his shoulders. “Sure.”

They ran off to one of the far corners where it wasn’t so busy and kicked the ball between them.

Julian dribbled it past Billy and into the net behind him. He cheered.

“Yes! One nil. You need to keep up slow coach.”

Billy had never played football before. He didn’t really know what he was doing but he tried his best. By the time Billy had scored one goal Julian had already won the game kicking the ball into the net ten times.

“Game over! I’m the winner!” shouted Julian.

Billy smiled. “Well done!”

The boys sat down at the bottom of a big oak tree nearby and watched everyone play at the fair.

“Where’s your mama or papa?” asked Billy.

“Oh, they’re at home. They said I can come out whenever I want. I don’t even have to ask. They just let me go out,” Julian lied.

“Wow,” replied Billy. “Aren’t they worried that you might get lost or something?”

“I know my way around. Anyway, they don’t really care so much about what I do. I’m ten.”

“Are you? I’m nine!” said Billy, happily. He realised that if they were the same age they probably would be good friends.

Julian didn’t reply.

“I got this for my birthday,” said Billy pulling at his jumper.

Julian scowled. “Is that it?”

Billy nodded.

“For my birthday, my parents buy me so many presents. Do you know they bought me a brand new remote control boat. You know the ones that you can but on the river? And they bought me a cake that was chocolate and as big as the church roof. And we also went to Africa to see kangaroos.”

“Wow,” said Billy, feeling sad. He knew that he shouldn’t feel jealous of what other people had but he’d love to have a remote control boat and go to see kangaroos in Africa. He didn’t even know where Africa was, but it sounded cool.

“Want an ice-cream?” asked Julian.

“Yeah!” Billy cried.

“Ok, let’s get one. Give me your money.”

Julian was holding out an empty hand. Billy looked at the ground.

“I don’t…have any money,” whispered Billy.

Julian laughed. He though Billy was joking.

“Oh come on,” he said. “You wouldn’t come to the fair without any money, would you Billy?”

“I don’t have any money to bring with me.”

“Well, I suppose I’ll have to get you one then.”

“Thank you,” replied Billy. He was very lucky. Or that was what he thought.

“But, I need something in return,” added Julian.

“What for?”

“Billy, I’m not going to get you an ice-cream for free. I need something in return.”

“Ok,” replied Billy, shyly.

Julian jingled the coins he’d stolen from his father’s coat pocket last night.

“I know,” he shouted, pointing a sticky finger at Billy. “Your jumper. Give me your jumper.”

Billy was stunned. “I can’t. This was from my parents today.”

“Billy, I’m not going to keep it. I just want it for a little bit. I’ll give it back. Anyway I’m older than you.”

“But what will I say to my papa?”

“Just tell him that you lost it.”

Billy was angry. He loved the jumper. But he also would love to have friends. He didn’t want to miss the opportunity. Anyway, Julian said he would give the jumper back.

“Ok,” Billy replied, wriggling out of his jumper. He suddenly felt really cold.

“Thanks,” Julian replied pulling it on. “Now let’s get an ice-cream.”

It was the most delicious thing Billy had ever tasted. It was so creamy and white. The cold stung his teeth and the chocolate flake on top crumbled all over his shoes. He laughed as the syrupy ice-cream dripped onto his shirt. Julian’s ice-cream cone was leaking too. A big smudge of vanilla ice-cream went right down the front of Billy’s jumper. Billy felt like crying, but he knew it was an accident.

“Oops,” said Julian taking off the jumper and tying it around his waist.

There was aloud crackling.

“Ladies and Gentlemen, you have made your votes and now I would like to announce the winner of the best cake competition.”

Billy smiled. He knew it would be his mum who would win. But Julian was tugging at his arm.

“This is so girly. Come on. Let’s go.”

“Wait, Julian. I want to hear.”

“You big baby. Who cares about the best cake? I would only be interested if I get to eat it but I don’t so let’s go.”

“No!” cried Billy. He was the first person to ever stand up to Julian.

“Fine,” Julian sulked. He didn’t like it when he didn’t get his way but Billy didn’t mind. He wanted his mum to win.

“And the winner,” the man began. “is…MRS HARRIS!”

Billy started clapped, cheering and jumping up and down.

“What’s wrong with you?” asked Julian.

“That’s my mama!”

Billy raced over to his mother but Julian pulled him back.

“What does she do with the cake?”

Billy knew that his mother always shared it out between every child at the fair who wanted a piece. His mother said that they children needed it more and besides, they got prize money.

“She cuts it up and shares it,” he replied.

“Billy, I’m starving. I’ll pay you if you get me half of it.”

“HALF!” shouted Billy. There were lots of children at the fair. If Julian ate half, lots of children wouldn’t get any at all.

“I can’t,” replied Billy.

Julian thought for a moment. He was very sneaky and often mean.

“If you don’t get me half of the cake you won’t get you jumper back!”

Billy’s heart was jumping in his chest. He loved that jumper. It was from his parents. If he didn’t do as Julian said, he would get the jumper back.

“But you said you would give it back!” replied Billy.

“But I won’t if you don’t get me that cake!”

“Ok,” said Billy. “Wait here.”

Billy was always the one who got to cut the cake for everyone as May Day was his birthday.

He ran over to his mother’s stall and cut the cake before everyone crowded around. He cut half into slices and handed them out and then cut the other half into slices and wrapped it in tissue. This is what he would give to Julian.

As the children came rushing over to get their slices of cake Billy disappeared to see Julian.

“Here you go,” he said proudly, presenting Julian with the bundle of cake.

“Yummy,” said Julian staring at the slices.

He picked up the biggest piece and shoved it in his mouth messily. He laughed.

“Billy, this is really good!”

“Thank you,” replied Billy. He stared at the ground. “Could…I have my…jumper, please?”

“Oh yeah, yeah,” said Julian. “Just let me finish the cake.”

Billy was desperate to get the jumper back but he didn’t want to upset Julian by being rude.

Then he heard his mother calling. Just at that moment Julian ran into the forest away from Billy.

“Billy! Billy!”

 “Well done mama!” Billy praised.

She hugged her son.

“What are you doing here?” she asked.

“I was with…” Billy turned around. Julian was gone with the cake in his hands and jumper on his body.

Audrey looked for someone.

“Oh come on darling. Never mind. Let’s go. I’ve got a big surprise for you.”

Billy felt very bad. He had sold his birthday present. His father had worked hard to get the money for his mother to buy the wool and his mother had sewed it from scratch for months. He felt like crying but he could because his mother pulled out a netted bag from behind her back.

It was full of blue and orange glass balls.

“MARBLES!”

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