Marie lay in bed, staring at the starless sky through the uncovered window. The mantel clock in the other room chimed the half-hour.
The three-quarters notes.
The musical chord indicating the hour, followed by a solitary clang.
As the slow minutes ticked away, she rolled from her back to her side to her back again. She tried counting backward from 100. She recited lines from her play.
The clock repeated its musical patterns at precise intervals as another hour dragged by. The second clang marking two o’clock still resonated when the crescendo of air raid sirens blared through the night’s stillness. Broken shards of light cracked the vacant sky.
Throwing off the covers, Marie grabbed her robe and slippers before scurrying into the den where Ian slept.
“Ian.” She shook his shoulder with one hand and put on her slippers with the other. “Ian, wake up.” He raised his head from the cot and peered at her through half-shut eyes. “It’s a raid. We have to go.”
He groaned, but sat up on the edge of the cot and slid into his trousers. She handed him his shirt, and he buttoned it as they headed for the door.
The two other flats on this floor were occupied by a pair of middle-aged sisters and a veteran of the War to End All Wars. The sisters stood in the corridor, shivering in worn cotton robes.
Ian took each one by the arm. “Ladies, this is Marie. Will you take her to our cellar, please?”
“Did you get married, Devvie?” asked the younger of the two. “What an awful thing to happen to newlyweds.”
“Nasty Germans,” exclaimed the other.
“She’s my sister.” Ian led them to the top of the stairs, then nudged Marie. “Take them below,” he whispered.
Marie hurried down the stairs with the chattering women as Ian knocked on the veteran’s door, shouting for him to open up.
The women followed the residents of the single first-floor flat, a married couple with a young daughter, through the cellar door and down stone steps. A bare light revealed a tattered upholstered couch and a metal frame with a lumpy mattress among an assortment of trunks and boxes. The family sat on the couch while the sisters perched on the bed.
Marie spread the blanket she had grabbed off Ian’s cot on the floor between them. A few moments later, he entered the room. Alone.
“Where’s Mr. Scoggins?” asked one of the sisters.
“He said that he had enough of hiding from Germans in foxholes, and he wasn’t going to hide anymore.” Ian slid to the floor beside Marie.
“That sounds like Scoggins.” The other sister harrumphed.
“Perhaps I should go talk to him,” said the first. “I take him goodies, you know. That is, when we have the sugar. He may listen to me.”
“He’s holding a Lee-Enfield rifle from his glory days.” Ian frowned, but his eyes twinkled. “Has it aimed right at the door.”
“Perhaps we’ll let him be then.” The sisters nodded at each other in mutual agreement.
Continue reading When Memory Whispers.
Christian Fiction Friday is a weekly blog hop where authors post snippets from their current works in progress. It is hosted by Alana Terry and Hallee Bridgeman. Click here for a full list of rules and suggestions.