Billy: Boy Statue (Introduction)
by Callum B. Downes
Billy hates butterflies. Not the flying kind, but the ones that live in your tummy. And right now, they were twisting up his insides, making him sick and turning him blue. That’s because Billy Baker was about to compete in his first ever surfing competition.
Now normally that wouldn’t be such a big deal. After all Billy loved surfing and he practically lived in the waters at Barley Bay, practising with his Dad and sister whenever the waves were good. But right now was different, for more reasons than you would think.
About ten minutes ago, a flash of lightning and crack of thunder danced above the horizon, shortly followed by wild winds and rolling black clouds. A little later, the sea got angry and started thrashing and fighting and spitting. Like a vicious monster, it sent heavy waves pounding into the shore, looking to devour any children who dare enter. And just a few seconds ago, a beastly wall of water hammered into the rocks, sending icy-cold sea spray high into the air and covering Billy head to toe.
He stood weakly on the beach, soaked, shivering and scared for his life. He was looking over at his competitor, Jamie, who was now sprinting down the beach. But Billy wasn’t chasing down after him. In fact, Billy wasn’t moving at all. He just stood there, totally oblivious to the starting siren or his Dad, who was now yelling in his ear like a Baboon with its tail on fire.
He watched Jamie launch himself into the water, duck dive under one oncoming wave and then something terrible happened. The next wave sucked Jamie up right to the very top, before tossing him into the air and crushing his body into the sand. He was held under the water and nobody could see anything except his board. It wasn’t until a little bit of pee warmed his wetsuit that Billy snapped out of it and realised he was daydreaming.
It had been two whole minutes and Billy was still frozen on the beach. The crowd pointed and laughed at his damp wetsuit. Some booed, calling out mean names. Others started imitating him, posing in silly positions. All the while, Jamie caught wave after wave, with nobody watching.
Everyone was captivated by Billy Baker, trapped in time and space. They were led by Livy, who was inflicting the most torment from the stands. She stood up and started different chants. The most popular one went something like this: “Statue boy, statue boy, why so stuck?”
The chanting grew louder and louder.
“I can’t believe that’s your brother, Livy!” screamed one girl.
“Yeah, what a doofus!” Yelled another.
“I know right!” Livy laughed. “He was always such a scaredy cat!” She flicked her hair and smiled proudly. She always did that when she felt better than someone.
She waited for a brief silence, then cupped her mouth and shouted, “Hey statue boy! What’s the matter? Did you forget your toilet paper?”
Half the crowd fell over in fits of giggling. Billy moved for the first time since the siren and shot a death stare at his sister. Bright red with embarrassment, Billy threw his board to the ground and bolted past the registration tent up the sand dunes and into the rainforest behind the beach.
Author’s note: This is me experimenting with children’s fiction. I figured, as a primary school teacher, I know what makes kids tick. It turns out I really enjoyed writing this and I hope to finish this story for publication in the future.
This short excerpt is aims to leave you wanting more in some ways sets up Billy’s journey. His journey is one of using his obvious weaknesses to his eventual success. Along the way her learns how to accept his flaws and still live a fulfilling life. He also learns what it takes to be comfortable in his own skin.
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Peace & Love,