Me, Evacuee (Historical Fiction Competition)

It is September 1st 1939 and World War Two has begun.
Jimmie is only ten years old and yet he is thrown into an unexpected situation which forces him to grow up much faster than he should. There is a call for children living in the cities to evacuate to the countryside and soon Jimmie finds himself all alone on a train to Devon and to an unknown world that is very unlike his own. However, when all seems on the upturn everything gets worse, as his father is sent to the battlefield, leaving his elder sister, his mother and her expected baby to abandon their home in Coventry and move to Cornwall. Jimmie finds it hard to keep track of his family's safety and under these hard circumstances he grabs onto the only links he has with home, while making friends with the unlikeliest of people.
Evacuation isn't as Jimmie expected. Will he make it through? Will his friends and family?

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4. The Nice Man

The Nice Man

Jimmie

                I felt as if Tommy was a traitor, he had said we were friends then he abandoned me. I know we had only known one another for a day, but I knew I needed a friend and we were just right for each other. I didn’t understand. He said he had to go with them, but he didn’t! He could have just stayed, or been rude, or cried, so that they wouldn’t want him anymore, but he didn’t. He went with them and I hated him for it.

                 As he pulled his arm away and ran to the exit, I cried and fell to the floor in a heap. I know I was acting childish, but I felt like everyone was abandoning me. Coventry had left me. My family had sent me away and now Tommy was deserting me.

                Sobs racked my body and felt so angry. I just wanted to scream and demand to be taken home, but I had promised Mother I would behave, which was also why I let Tommy go. I wouldn’t get picked now. Nobody wanted me. I bet that the billeting officers would just leave me there in a heap on the floor as well.

                As I chocked on my tears, hugging my knees, I felt a gentle hand on my shoulder. I sniffed and wiped away my tears before looking up to see who it was. I expected it to be Tommy and prepared a nasty thing to say to him, but it wasn’t Tommy.

                Mrs Elsie’s husband was crouched in front of me. At the sight of his kind face, my anger seeped away, though tears continued to form trails down my cheeks. I was losing my breath and I began to take big, staggered breaths.

                “It’s okay,” Mrs Elsie’s husband told me, gently rubbing my shoulder. I sniffed. “What’s wrong, son?” he asked, peering into my eyes. I avoided eye contact.

                “I feel lonely and my only friend isn’t my friend anymore,” I muttered, glaring at Tommy who was standing by Mrs Elsie at the exit. He stared at me as if I were a child and Mrs Elsie was muttering under her breath to him in annoyance, either at my behaviour or at her husband’s. I didn’t care. I didn’t care about Tommy at all now.

                “Is your friend the one standing over there by the door?” he asked me, looking over his shoulder at the pair of them.

                “He’s not my friend anymore,” I replied simply.

                “Then why are you so sad?” he asked me.

                “Because he abandoned me.”

                “But why do you care, if he’s not your friend?” he asked, trying to reason with me. I knew that he knew what I meant and I understood what he was trying to tell me. I looked away, frowning at the floor as if it was the floor’s fault that I was in this situation.

                “Okay, he is my friend, but I am very angry with him,” I muttered. “I needed him because I am all lonely, but he went with Mrs Elsie and I heard her say she would only take one boy. Tommy heard her say that as well, but he still abandoned me,” I explained, I knew I sounded like a complete baby, but I couldn’t help it.

                “I see,” the old man said simply and he pulled me up to my feet. “I’m sure that we can figure something out,” he said.

                I looked up at him “Really?” I asked, thinking him very kind for offering.

                “Of course, young man.”

                I felt very guilty that I had caused so much trouble. “Sorry.”

                “That’s all right. Life’s being hard on you at the moment. It’s not your fault. What’s your name son?”

                “Jimmie,” I told him

                “Really?” he asked in surprise.

                “Yes, why?” I questioned him, confused at his interest.

                “Well, you see, my name is Mr Jim.” We shared the same name. I smiled at him. “Come on, let’s go,” he said, holding my hand as we walked to where Mrs Elsie and Tommy were standing.

                As we walked over to them Mr Jim aid to me, “Little Jim, I think you should say sorry to your friend and tell him that you want to be friends with him again,” I looked up at him.

                “But it was his fault. Why should I be sorry?” I asked, a little annoyed that he could blame this on me.

                “Okay, then. Why don’t you tell Tommy that you forgive him?” I stared at the old man, about to say that I hadn’t forgiven Tommy, but Mr Jim raised his eyebrows at me as if sensing my oncoming comment. “You want to be friends again don’t you?” I lightly nodded my head. “He might say sorry back and then you can forget all of this.”

                I sighed. “Alright.”

                “There’s a good lad.” He said and we stopped in front of Mrs Elsie.

                Mr Jim nodded at me. “Sorry Tommy for acting like a baby,” I said, staring at my shoes, and twisting the tip of them on the floor. “And I forgive you for abandoning me,” I said, slightly emphasising the word ‘abandoning’ so as to make him understand the severity of is actions.

                I risked a glance up at Tommy. “That’s okay,” he said. I waited for him to say he was sorry too; if he didn’t, I was going to be angry with him because it wasn’t really my fault at all. However, he did say sorry back.

                “There you go. All better,” Mr Jim said. “Now, boys, shake hands like a couple of good lads,” he said and Tommy and me awkwardly shook hands.

                Mrs Elsie then looked down at me and said, “Well hello there young lad, what’s your name?”

                “Jimmie,” I answered quietly.

                “You’re a shy one aren’t you,” she said. It was a statement so I didn’t reply.

                “What are you doing over here?” she asked me, but kindly.

                “Tommy here is his friend and he was upset because he felt lonely,” Mr Jim explained.

                “Oh I see,” said Mrs Elsie. “Well you see, young Jimmie, I am rather frail in my old age and I’m not sure I can look after the two of you.”

                I almost cried again, but from a warning look from Tommy, I stopped myself, showing him that I wasn’t a baby. I quickly said, “Oh, but I promise I will behave Mrs Elsie.” Then I realise how bad-mannered it had been to talk back to her and I put a hand over my mouth.

                She laughed. “There’s no need to be worried son,” she said, lifting my cap higher above my eyes. “I suppose we could look after you as well, if you promise to behave.”

                “Oh I do, Mrs Elsie. I promise do to be such a good boy,” I explained, hoping that she would agree.

                “Well, I suppose so then.” She smiled. “Have you all your things?” she asked Tommy and me we both nodded. I was so relieved that I let out a loud sigh and Tommy laughed at me as we walked out the exit. Yet, I didn’t care, because we were friends again and someone had picked me and everything from now one was going to be fantastic. I was literally grinning from ear to ear.

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