A Wartime Evacuee

by Andrew Passey

Part 1

"Can I kiss you?" William asked me as we sat on his bed. I couldn't find the words to tell him how I felt so I just nodded shyly, dumbfounded by the news that he liked me in that way. He leaned forward and our lips touched. My first kiss. Then the whistling sound of a bomb screamed through the air before exploding and vaporising us both.

I woke up with a start and completely drenched in sweat from the nightmare. It had been a couple of months or so since that fateful day and it still haunted my dreams. Waking up drenched in sweat was a common occurrence. I'd hoped they'd disappear as time passed but if anything they were becoming increasingly vivid.

The dream had muddled the chain of events, mixing it up so it all happened at the same time. On that day William had definitely kissed me but in real life the bomb hadn't hit his room until the early hours of the morning when I was already back home fast asleep. It wasn't until morning that I'd found out what happened. I wasn't even sure if there had been an air raid siren that night or if it was just a rogue one off bomb. William and his family never stood a chance and I was left devastated by the death of my best friend. He was the first boy I'd kissed and fallen in love with. It was all so fleeting. We never got to do anything more together than have one kiss and my first love, like William, was snuffed out much too soon.

The period after that day was incredibly tough. London in the war was hard even without the personal losses I'd suffered. I'd already been grieving from the news that my Dad had died some weeks previous to that. It felt like when I was finally coming up for some air from my constant crying and grieving for Dad when William kissed me. Then William was also taken from me. I'd gone from first kiss to devastation in only a few hours.

For days I was back under water with grief. If it wasn't William I was crying about it was my dad. Everyone at school and the neighbours made a big deal that he was a hero and had died fighting the Nazi's. That I should be proud of him for fighting and dying for his country. But for me it left me with a massive hole in my life and I was left fatherless at 13 years old.

It wasn't that I wasn't proud of him but I really needed his presence in my life. He'd always been the glue that held the family together. My Mum had always had mental issues and we never got on well. She was like a rock dragging us all down into the deep water. After dad died, Mum who was already on the edge of a breakdown totally lost it. She drank and drank and drank, seemingly immune to me and my needs. She slowly retreated into herself for days at a time before exploding in rage at me. She would hit me really hard when she was drunk and I didn't know what to do. What can you do when you're just thirteen and an adult who is supposed to love and support you treats you like a piece of shit?

"Thomas, I know it's hard for you at the moment but things will get better," Mrs Atkins from next door said to me as she stopped me in the street on my way home from school. I don't know how much she knew about my Mum's drinking and her physical abuse of me. The walls weren't that thick really and she must have heard the shouting and screaming. However, in the local community while everyone claimed to support each other a blind eye was usually turned to what happened behind closed doors. Everyone knew Mr Martin at number 30 had form for beating his wife and kids but while everyone talked about how terrible it was no one ever took any action. An Englishman's home is his castle as the saying goes and it did seem that once people were behind closed doors they were allowed to do what they like.

The overall situation in London had definitely deteriorated since William had died. We were in the midst of a bombing blitz with nightly bombing raids and all the talk was about getting the kids out of London to the countryside where it was safer. The kids would go and live with rural families who wanted to help. It sounded a bit of a hard ask for them to be evacuated out of London and their city life to go and live with simple rural folk. That's how I saw it although I'd become a evacuee it would at least get me out of my pretty shitty home life. I was reaching breaking point and I hoped that I'd be spirited out of there to live with a family that loved me.

It was a typical day when I found out I was leaving London. I went to school as usual. Some of my friends were being evacuated already and as I stepped through my front door I was confronted by my Mum who was drunker than I'd ever seen here. Barely able to stand she slurred the words out slowly. "You're leaving. I've had enough of you. I've got a distant relative in Shropshire. He'll take you in."

I didn't know at that moment if I was a formal evacuee or she was just getting rid of me. It all happened so quickly and I was packed off with a few belongings including my ration card. My Mum barely said goodbye to me and I was fairly sure I'd never see her again. Something in her look and behaviour didn't seem right. Though it seemed she hated me, maybe I was the only thing keeping her from the abyss and she'd been teetering on the edge it for an awful long while now.

The journey out of London was chaotic. The station was full of families saying goodbye. Crying mothers and children facing the prospect of being apart from who knows how long. For me I couldn't wait to be away from my mum. Unsurprisingly she hadn't come to see me off so I was alone. Families helped get their children on the train while I wandered around looking for help. I was eventually put on the right train and there were kids like me heading up to Shropshire. Apparently they would be put on display and chosen by host families but I was already going to be chosen by this distant relative. It was hard to work out how related I was. My Mum was fairly useless but said it was the brother of a second cousin or something. How they knew each other and how they'd communicated I never knew but as the train pulled out of the city as the countryside started to fly by I hoped I was moving to a better life. Just being away from London might help me process the death of William and my father.

As our train headed north out of London I chatted to a boy my age and his younger sister. They weren't going as far as me but it was nice to chat to someone my own age. I'd gone into my shell after William died and it felt strange to be talking again. The train rattled and rocked as we chatted and the boy's sister had soon fallen asleep with her head against her brother's shoulder.

The boy was very excited about being evacuated out of London which was in stark contrast to some of the others on our train who gently sobbed and cried as we got further away from home. The wailing was off putting at times and I suspected some of those children might have those sort of nights full of grief that I'd been experiencing for weeks.

As I chatted to the boy more I relaxed into the journey. I asked him how he felt about being evacuated and moving out of London.

"I can't wait!" He said. "Yes I'll miss my parents but I hope I might have my own room. Back home I have to share with Elsie. And you know, I'm almost fourteen. I need to do this all the time and I can't when she's around!" He said, making the wanking gesture with his hand. I blushed, I wasn't used to discussing that side of things so openly.

Yes me and my friends would make jokes about it and yes of course I did it as often as I could. However I wasn't expecting some boy I'd just met to be so open about it. I'd started puberty and had been doing it for a few months but still it wasn't the thing to talk about in an unfamiliar social situation. I was a polite boy most of the time so I just nodded and said it must have been tough for him.

"Definitely, I'm always fucking horny! Have you ever wanked off with another boy?" He asked with a wink.

"Um...no!" I said, stammering and wondering where this was going.

"You should do it! It's lots of fun. Feels good with your own hand but better with someone's else's!" He said giggling.

My dick was now rock hard and I wished I'd been able to do something like that with William before he died. At that moment we changed rails and the juddering woke the boy's sister up. If she'd have stayed sleeping would something have happened between us? I knew I liked boys from my kiss with William but I also knew it was frowned upon and not something to be discussed or pursued. Was the boy coming on to me in his own way? I guess I'd never know. The boy and his sister got off soon after and I was left wondering what might have been. I realised I hadn't even got their names. Strange how they flitted in and out of my life so quickly.

I stared out at the countryside which went on forever it seemed. Given I was a city boy it was a real shock to see so much green. It was early summer and the landscape looked so beautiful. A far cry from my smoggy inner city lifestyle. I started to feel excited. Whatever happened next it felt like my life was looking up. Yes I'd be in an unfamiliar place but it would have to be an improvement from what had come before. Wouldn't it?

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