The Eyes of the Children

There it goes again for the second day in a row, the siren of a deadly warning. Well, that’s what my mother says. It reminds me of the sound of a fire engine. Nee naw, nee naw, loud enough for all to hear. My mother grabs my mask and drags me towards the huge tunnel that is covered with sandbags.

“No mother, not again. I want to go and see the fire engine.”

“No you don’t Jimmy. Just get into the shelter and be a good boy okay?” I look behind me to try and see the fire engine but everyone else keeps blocking my view.

“Please mother, it can’t be that far away, it’s too loud not to be.”

“It’s not a fire engine Jimmy, it’s a reminder that the Germans are coming.” We walk down a few steps until I see the tunnel in front of me.

“So why do we have to come down here if they are coming to see us?” The tunnel is filled with other families, I even spot a few of my friends so I wave at them to get their attention. Mother pulls me to the floor to sit me down and tightens her grip a little too tight. I try to break free but she just holds me closer.

“Are you okay?”

“I will be soon, just stay in my view and we’ll be fine.” She hugs me, “here, I thought you might want this to play with.” Out of her coat pocket she pulls out my favourite fire engine. I go to grab it but she moves it out of reach.

“Don’t snatch.” My finger tips move, clawing at the air to get my toy. She smiles and then gives it to me because she knew I really wanted it. I want to be a fireman when I grow up. I play with the fire engine as if it was my own engine so I can rescue people. I make some explosion sounds but no one could hear me because of the noise coming from the ceiling of the tunnel. I wish it would be quiet so I could play properly.

“Nee naw, nee naw,” I drove the truck to the left. “Sssshhhhhhhh,” I spray all of the water on one building and then hurry over to another. My mother kisses my head which I don’t really understand why and then picks up my toy.

“Come on, time to go,” she helps me to my feet and we walk up the stairs.

“This was fun. Can do it again but a bit longer next time?”

“We were down there for half an hour Jimmy?”

“But can we still do it again?” I pout my face because I know she can’t resist it. She sighs,

“Of course we can Jimmy. At this rate we might need to make a shelter in our garden.” Told you. We get to the top of the stairs and I can see nothing but grey smoke covering the sky. I look to the left and right and saw two fire engines. I smile because I get to see the fire engine and then look at mother. She’s upset which makes me confused. I look to where she is looking and I see half of a house with a bedroom on show. I squint my eyes through the smoke to see clearly. The bedroom was mine.

“Mother?”

“I know,” she bends down and hugs me. I saw a fireman injured from putting out the fires, some even had blankets over their face.

“Mother?”

“yes?”

“I don’t want to be a fireman anymore.”

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