A Story by Elizabeth Ridge

Description: This is my fifth draft and I already made a sixth draft and just need to put the edits in my story. This based on a true experience about my friend coming to live in my house.

Lily (Based On A True Story)


         Sunday Late Afternoon

"I can't believe you'll actually be living with us, Violet," I exclaimed as I walked down the stairs with a bag of hamster food for my friend's pet, Lily.

"I know," Violet replied simply as she shifted the weight of the hamster cage against her stomach, taking a step down behind me.

I thought about how hard it would be for Violet to leave her mother and stay at a place that wasn't home. I barely lasted two weeks in our cottage in Maine and I was with my family!

"I got your shoes, Violet," her mother called from the floor above us as we went on. "Okay," my friend replied. She looked up as spoke, letting her dirty blond hair slip from her shoulders and dangle lazily on her back.

This move was going to be equally hard for Violet's mother as it was for Violet herself.

I brushed my black hair from my eyes as I neared the apartment door. When we arrived, I put the hamster food bag down on the floor and let it lean against the olive green walls. Then I opened the door with an easy twist.

'"Oh,"I whispered loudly.

Vibrant light of a sun beginning to set shone through the doorway onto my face.

"Wow, it is so bright," Violet murmured as she shaded her dull blue eyes with the pink hood of the hamster cage.

"What are you girls waiting for!?" My mom shouted as she came up from behind us. Her brown eyes flashed impatiently. "Ashly, pick up the bag of hamster food!"

"Yep," I replied.

I grabbed the food bag from its place against the wall and walked into the sunshine. I could feel the rays gently wash over my skin and soak my dark hair. The small pine trees on  the other side of the apartment building cast simple silhouettes on the parking lot. I closed my eyes letting myself relax until I began to feel sleepy.


I turned around to see the source of the voice that woke me up from my daydream. Behind me Violet was looking worried while my mom stood behind my friend impatiently.

"Sorry," I mumbled to my mom and friend as I started down the stairs to our tan colored van. I opened the trunk and plopped down the hamster food bag in the corner. My mom followed with Violet's suitcase and slid it in sideways.

"I'll put your shoes in the back," Violet's mother informed my friend as she came out to join the three of us standing by the van.

I stepped back to let Violet step into the vehicle.The shade from the small pine trees felt nice after being in direct sunlight while carrying a bag of hamster food. As I enjoyed the shade I knew this was going to be an amazing time with Violet and I promised myself I would make  make this experience memorable.

"The grand finale," my mom said excitedly as Violet's mother came over from the trunk to hug her daughter.

She murmured something quietly to Violet and was answered with a nod.

"Be good," Violet's mother said loud enough for the rest of us to hear.

"Of course I will, mom," Violet promised.

Her mother took a step back letting her daughter into the car. I noticed Violet still had Lily's cage clutched to her chest. She slid in with Lily and I followed quickly as my mom took her seat behind the wheel.

As we pulled away from the parking lot, we all waved to Violet's mother. "Bye!"

"Bye," my friend's mother's voice replied.

I thought about how exciting having a friend living in the same house would be. We would be able to do everything together! Walk home together, eat together, play with the dogs together, talk together, and a whole lot more that we've never been able to do before.

I turned and faced Violet who was poking her finger through the white bars of the hamster cage to stroke Lily's furry brown head.

"She's so cute," I murmured, becoming entranced by her cute little ears and small, dark brown eyes. Violet smiled in agreement. She took out her hand and stared sadly out the window in the direction of her former home.

"Okay girls,"my mom said from the front. "We're here now!"

We pulled up onto the driveway to see the newly mowed yard and the trees circling the reddish-brown house. A few dandelions could be found here and there that the mower hadn't managed to remove. Shouts from across the street told me that our neighbors were playing soccer in their backyard. Even with the imperfect yard and loud noises I loved the place. I would want no other home.

"Is that a cat?" Violet asked looking at  a small figure with a long tail scampering across the road.

"Probably," I answered turning to open the trunk door. "You'll see a lot of cats around here."

We lugged Violet's suitcase along with Lily's cage and food up the long walkway to the house. Violet paused in front of the doorway to stare at the largeness of the cape. After a moment, I began to open the light blue door. As if the knob was a booby trap, one of the dogs started barking.

"Which dog was that,"Violet asked a little nervously. I noticed she had taken a few steps back. Shaking her head angrily she stepped forward.

"It's always Cocoa," I replied.

A short, skinny girl with long black hair tied in a neat high ponytail opened the door wider so we could come in.

"Thanks, Kate," I said to my ten-year-old sister. She nodded and turned around to race up the brown stairs that led to Dawn's, my nine-year-old sister's, room.

"Hey girls," my dad said happily as he came from the kitchen wearing his usual late afternoon outfit, a plain white short-sleeve shirt with khakis. "I can take your suitcase to Kate's room."

He grabbed Violet's suitcase by the handle and carried it in the direction of the kitchen, but took a left down a short hallway that led to Kate's room.

Even though the trespassers had come in, Cocoa still was on the small blue love seat in front of the window barking.

"Cocoa, off!" I said sternly.

The chocolate lab gave a soft whine, but he did what he was told and trudged over to Violet and me with his tail between his legs. Violet patted him on the head nervously and he turned to sniff her all over.

"Where should I put Lily?" Violet asked looking up from Cocoa.

"In the family room; there is a white table and that is where Lily will stay," I answered while pointing in the direction of the window between the family room and the kitchen.

'Okay," Violet replied. She gave me Lily's cage to hold while she took off her sneakers.

I took the time to look at the hamster. Lily's dark brown eyes seemed to glow in the light shining through the open door.  Her fur was all brown except for a darker colored blaze down the middle of her back blending in with the bedding on the bottom of the cage.

Violet finished with her shoes and I gave her back Lily's cage and sat down to take off my own. As soon as I sat, Cocoa came over to me and gave me a big messy lick. As I pushed the chocolate lab away, Violet started laughing uncontrollably. Unbalanced, she almost lost the cage from her grasp.

I sighed. "Thank you Cocoa! That's exactly what I needed!"

Sunday Night

After the Cocoa incident, Violet settled in Kate's room and we finished with a scrumptious  meal of pasta with red sauce. During dinner, Cocoa, Hope, and Allie, our three dogs, all stayed under our large, circular table hoping for scraps. At one point during the meal, Allie, a black lab, caught a piece of pasta that Violet dropped. Hope, a yellow lab, started walking slowly to Allie as if she wanted to attack. Cocoa joined her and soon all three dogs were tussling for the food under the table. My mom then sent all the dogs to the family room to play.

"I wouldn't want to have these dogs at my place," Violet said, glancing at the three dogs pouncing on each other. "So much work!"

I nodded in agreement, taking another bite of my pasta.

"So who do you want to share a room with?" Asked my mom, pausing from eating. "I would recommend Kate's. She has the most space and we already put luggage in there for now."

"I don't mind," Violet said, smiling. "Kate is a nice girl."

My younger sister beamed, flashing a happy look at Dawn who was shaking her head.

"But Kate snores really loud," Dawn complained. "Can Violet sleep in my room?"

Violet didn't answer and instead studied the red sauce bottle in front of her plate.

"She's sleeping with Kate and thats that," I said, hoping my friend wouldn't argue. Luckily she just gave a nod and continued to eat.

"You aren't Violet, Ashley," Dawn said, glaring at me. I really hated my youngest sister at dinnertime. She always became so crabby!

"Violet should choose." I said sternly. "Not you."

"She already did choose," My dad reminded the nine-year-old. "She chose Kate."

The rest of the dinner was spent with my sisters both giving full-length stories of their day. Knowing my friend, I could tell she had no interest in Kate's favorite shampoo or Dawn's rock search in the backyard, but she made a pretty good mock interested face.

"My throat is sore," Violet said suddenly towards  the end of the meal.

My mom glanced at my dad. "Try a lemon," she said finally. She stood up and went to the fridge.

With a look of confusion, Violet accepted the lemon slice from my mom. "Good," my friend said smiling.

"We'll clean up the table," my dad said, standing. "You guys can go play with the dogs or something."

"Thanks," Violet and I said almost in unison. Together we both stood up and walked into the family room. The dogs were in their little pen so intent on each other that they didn't notice the two of us walk by. We continued to the white table behind the sofa in the middle of the room. Lily's cage was placed in the center. The little hamster was snuffling around the edge of the cage, her little nose twitching excitedly.

"Can you take her out?"

I whipped around to see my two sisters approaching us curiously. Kate, the one who had spoken, was holding a slice of lemon.

Violet nodded, unlatching the door to the cage. Putting out her hand she let the little hamster scurry onto her palm. Kate pushed past me and Dawn to stroke Lily with the same hand holding the lemon. The hamster spun around and took a small bite from the lemon. Then she took another. And another. After the fifth small bite she stopped and curled up tight on Kate's palm.

"I think the lemon made her tired," Dawn inferred. She reached her hand out to give Lily a small scratch. "She's soft!"

I smiled and looked at Violet who was staring happily at her little hamster.

"I think Lily likes lemons," she said quietly.  

Monday Morning

This morning I woke up at my regular time, 5:00 am, and changed into my school clothes as quickly as I could. I wanted as much hanging out time as possible.Then I walked out of my bedroom and into the family room.

Wrrrrm. Wrrrrrm. Wrrrrm.

I looked wildly around the room for the source of the whirring sound.  I turned on the light to see  Lily running on her bright yellow wheel in the middle of the cage. Her brown fur stood out in the rotating circle of yellow and with her nose in the air she looked ready for anything. I walked over to the hamster cage.

"Good morning, Lily," I whispered.

I turned to the sofa and sat down. I picked up my book from the white coffee table beside the sofa and started reading, with Lily's wheel as a  pleasant background noise.

At 6:00 I got up from the couch put my book back on the coffee table and went to the kitchen to eat. I smiled as I saw Violet tip-toe quietly across the wooden floor from the room she was sharing with Kate.

"We have blueberries," I announced quietly to my friend, taking a full box out from the fridge. I put some in a plastic container to take with me to school for lunch and then gave myself a little to have for breakfast. I put the container on the table for Violet to eat and went over to the toaster by the sink to toast a bagel.

As I took the cream cheese out my dad came over into the room from the Living Room where he had been working. He stared at my friend  then at the empty box in front of her and said,"Violet, did you eat all the blueberries?"


Two Days Later

Over the next couple of days, Violet and I walked to and from middle school, did almost two hours of homework each night, and chatted about interesting things happening in the sixth grade including upcoming field trips. Thursday was a relief when the two of us along with Kate and Dawn had barely any homework.

When we all finished homework we went outside to play with the dogs.

"I'll get the ball," Dawn helpfully volunteered as we came to the backyard.

"Thanks," I said, glad that I didn't have to do it since I was still  tired from the walk home from school.

I looked at the sky above and saw the bright green leaves covering the sun causing the light to come down in uneven spots. There was only a small amount of wind, but the world was alive with the sounds of birds chatting and singing.


A blur of red came zooming right at me and soon Allie, Hope, and Cocoa flew by me with immense force. The force was so great that I fell over.

"Ugh," I moaned, too exhausted to even try to stand.

"I'll help you," Violet said. She came over me and grabbed one of my hands and pulled me up.

"Thanks," I said appreciatively. I turned to where the dogs were play fighting each other for the red ball. I went over and took the ball from behind Hope and threw the ball to where Kate was standing on the other side of the yard.

"Wait!" She shrieked, but it was too late. The ball soared a few feet in front of her and in seconds the dogs were on top of the toy. Kate was knocked over by Cocoa turning to try to grab the ball from Allie's mouth.

Two Hours Later

All four of us were lying on the soft grass exhausted from chasing the dogs around and throwing the red balls. The dogs, who seemed to have endless amounts of energy, were still play fighting for the ball.

"Want to go inside and play with Lily, who is actually calm," Violet suggested, standing up.

"Sure," I said, pushing myself off the ground.

"Sounds cool," Kate said, but she didn't budge.

"Yeah," Dawn exclaimed, excitedly jumping to her feet.

Kate stood up and we went to the porch. When we got inside we saw my mom frantically looking around in Lily's cage. She had taken off the lid and was feeling around, shoving bedding out of the way. Something wasn't right.

"Is Lily okay?" Violet asked nervously as she hurried into the family room.

"I can't find her," my mom replied. She looked outside and said,"Dawn, Kate, can you girls go pick up the balls and give the dogs a short walk?"

They both nodded and left, out the porch door.

"Come," Kate called to the dogs. Right away the dogs enthusiastically leapt to their feet and bounded over to the ten-year-old and nine-year-old .

"I know I saw her when I got home," I reassured them. "She was eating the lemon Violet gave her last night before bed."

Violet fingered through the bedding under the bright yellow wheel.

"Let me try," I volunteered. Violet and my mom took their hands out to let me put mine in. I first felt around the edges. For a while all I could feel was the bedding. It all seemed fine until I came to the front, left corner where I felt something soft and furry. "I found Lily!"

My mom saw where my hand was, so after I took my hand out she stuck hers in. She came to the front, left corner and grabbed it leaving a pile of bedding in the middle of the cage.

Violet uncovered the hamster with delicate hands.

My friend started to cry.

Lily was still and silent. Her eyes were closed tightly and no little breaths came from her chest. She was dead.

My mom went over to her and hugged Violet saying consoling words. I had no idea what to do, so I ran outside and sat on the stairs leading to the porch. The wind all the sudden seemed to blow more fiercely and the chattering birds became a lot more annoying.

How could something so terrible happen after the happiness minutes ago?

Kate and Dawn came back into the yard, laughing and talking excitedly while keeping a good eye on the three dogs who seemed to bouncing all over the place.

When they saw me on the stairs they stopped.

"Is everything okay?" Dawn asked.

"Talk to Violet."

Thursday Night

My mom bought us sushi to eat for dinner. Even though it is my favorite food, I couldn't enjoy the taste. Violet had called her mom before dinner and it was decided that she would stay with her for the next two weeks.

Violet's eyes were red and her cheeks were tear-stained.

None of us spoke. Not even Kate. Dawn stared at her plate which hadn't changed at all since she put food on it. Kate was the only one eating, but she seemed to be swallowing each mouthful as slowly as she could.

I didn't want to look at my own food. All I wanted to do was somehow make my friend feel better. I glanced at Violet who was staring blankly at her bowl of rice.

"Well you girls have to eat someday," my mom joked, looking at us from where she sat on the loveseat in the living room.

I sighed and sneaked a look at the sushi tray. A flash of yellow behind the california rolls caught my eye. I leaned over and picked up the source of the color and showed it to Violet.

"Look, it's a lemon!"

© 2016 Elizabeth Ridge

Author's Note

Elizabeth Ridge
Keep a look out for grammar mistakes and remember that this is only a draft.

My Review

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Your flow was very natural and keep the reader moving forward

Posted 7 Years Ago

1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Your well-written story has clear direction & good pace. I was drawn along, expecting that something bad was going to happen to the hamster, but I thought it was going to be the dogs hurting or killing it. There were a few places where an excess of detail didn't seem to move the story along. But the extra detail when they were searching the hamster cage was most definitely perfectly staged for suspense. The story ended with me supposing that the last mention of lemon was intended to suggest that the hamster died from eating the lemon. All in all, the story is told in a very understated way. Good writing, good dialogue. Thanks for sharing.

Posted 7 Years Ago

Well, that's depressing. Thanks for your submissions to the contest.

Posted 7 Years Ago

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3 Reviews
Added on February 7, 2016
Last Updated on February 7, 2016
Tags: Hamster, lemon


Elizabeth Ridge
Elizabeth Ridge

Hello, viewers and followers, my name is Elizabeth Ridge, but please call me Liz. I love giving out free reviews and comments, so you're welcome to post a link and a short description to a book down b.. more..


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