“Ivy! Wait up! We can’t keep up with ye.”
“An does that mean a have to slow down an’ wait Jimmy?”
Ivy sighed, bending down to rescue her knitted wool sock, which had slid halfway down her right calf. Little Bessie pouted. “I’m the bairn, why do I always get left?” She tugged her older sister’s sock up for her, grinning mischeviously.
Ivy took her little sister’s hand in hers. “Thanks. Aww lass, we weren’t leavin’ you. Come on we’ll both run together.”
“I hate running!”
Jimmy turned around on his heels, glancing over his left shoulder. “I’m the man an’ I say stop complainin’!”
Bessie pulled a face, sticking out her tongue out at him.
“Oh now you two just behave yourself, an’ Bessie you forgot this again! You left it by the creek! That’s no good is it now?” Ivy handed Bessie the small cardboard box.
“What happens if there’s a bombin’ you’d be stuck then wouldn’t you? I’m not givin’ ye mine. Now, be a good little lass an’ put it around your neck. That’s a girl, now you keep that safe.”
“Ta Ivy. I’ll try an’ be good! I promise!”
“It’s alright. We all start the new school on Monday, so you two best be good. I know you’ll try Bessie, I’m just a bit worried about our wild Jim.” She grinned. “An we’ll have to try an’ speak proper too. Or properly, I think they say over here.”
“I like me accent!” Jimmy piped in. “There’s nought wrong with it!”
“We want to become proper ladies and gentleman then it isn’t proper!”
“Who says I want to be a lady? I want to fly aeroplanes!” Bessie spread out her arms, circling around her siblings.
“Neooowwwm! Looks how fast I’m goin’! Try an’ catch me!”
“Bessie! You’ll fall down an’ cut all your knees like last time! Slow down will ye, an’ watch your footin’ on all these big tree roots!”
“I’m not Bessie! I’m the fastest fighter plane in the world! Neeeooowwwm!”
Ivy and Jimmy shook their head at one another. “She’ll be fine. It’s a big field, she’ll not get lost.”
Jimmy proceeded to kick his way through the remainder of the field, noticing a billow of smoke coming from behind a cluster of trees in the vast clearing.
“Look a’ that! Come an’ see Ivy!”
“What? What d’ya see?”
“Loads o’ smoke! Well maybe not loads, but some! I’m goin’ to investigate!”
“Hang on Jim I’m comin’ with ye!”
Bessie stood a couple of paces in front of them, hidden behind a large oak tree. They noticed her sandal poking out.
“Arrgh!” Ivy laughed, pretending to be alarmed.
“Ha- ha! You was scared.”
“You were scared!” Ivy corrected.
“No I wasn’t!”
“No I was correctin’ you Bess. The proper sayin’ is ‘I was’.”
“Good grief! It’s somethin’ very big! What is it Ivy?”
“It-it looks like an aeroplane.”
“I’ve always wanted to see an aeroplane up close! I’ve only ever had me models!”
“I-Ivy I’m scared!” Bessie whimpered. Ivy scooped up her little sister, holding her in her arms.
“Don’t you be afraid Bessie, we’ll always look after you. Jimmy! I don’t know if it’s safe! It’s smokin’ real bad! It’s only a little plane, like one man one. I-I think the fire’s out now. Look at its blackened wing!”
Ivy wandered closer, catching sight of a man in the cockpit.
“You two! There’s a man in here!”
“D-dead or alive?”
“I-I don’t know. The window is broke. I-I could check but- but I’m afraid to get close!”
“Bessie, you come over here with me an’ Ivy will check. She’s the eldest.”
“Oh ta Jimmy, but yes I’ll do it.”
She crept closer to the window, shuddering as she noticed a small smear of blood upon the remaining section of broken window, which was already spattered with mud. Ivy placed both hands to the glass, cupping them to block any excess light.
“I can’t see his face properly, his head is to one side but there’s a lot of blood an I don’t know where it’s comin’ from! Erm, hello mister, are you alright?” He stirred ever so slightly.
“You two, he’s alive! Go an’ run an’ get help in town. He’s hurt real bad I think.”
“Is he English?”
“I dunno Jimmy! I’ll try an’ talk to him while you’re away. I’m not scared. Run as fast as you can. Bessie are you stayin’ with me or goin’ with our Jimmy?”
“Can I just sit on that rock. I’m too slow to run with Jimmy, he’ll shout at me, but I’m scared ‘cos the man is bleedin’. “
“Yes love. Go an sit over there. You’ll be fine.”
Jimmy nodded, running to the village get some assistance. Ivy cautiously pulled at the handle of the battered plane door. Much to her relief, it had not jammed in the impact.
“Are you badly hurt mister?”
No reply. Maybe he was a foreigner she thought.
“Erm parlez vous Francais?” Silence.
“Parli Italiano? Sprecken ze Deutch?”
She shook her head. “Never mind. My brother will be back shortly an’ he’s bringin’ help. My God!” She eyed the protruding bone, prominently poking up under the flesh of his left shoulder underneath his jacket, which had slid down his arm.
“A-a think it’s dislocated, or maybe broke. Ma little brother did that once, fell out of a tree an’ his shoulder popped out. Looked a bit like yours. I feel a bit mad like ‘cos I know that you don’t understand a word that I’m sayin’. A probably shouldn’t touch ya head but I’m scared that that hood of yours is stoppin’ ya from breathing properly. You’re as white as a sheet. I’ll just unbuckle the chin strap an’ leave it at that. There.”
“Ah! Ya can speak! Did you just say danke? Erm sprecken ze Deutch?” He nodded slowly.
“Oh lord! I think you’re a German. The village folk wont like that, not one bit. Still, you’ll be alright by yourself so long as you weren’t plannin’ to bomb the North East.”
The pilot gazed at her with hazy eyes, he closed them. Ivy shook him. He winced, letting out a small cry.
“Oh I’m sorry mister, but don’t you be doin’ no sleepin’! Erm entschuldigung. No erm, that’s not right. Oh I should have paid more attention at school. You’re not very old are you, erm maybe late 20’s at the very oldest? Erm wie heibst du?”
He stared blankly at her. “Too many questions, but don’t you worry, help will come soon.”