Today’s piece of Fiction is a bit longer than my usual flash pieces and it also happens to be a short story that I wrote when I was 11 years old!
Sally opened her eyes, where was she? what had happened?
She looked round, little Mary-Lou was sleeping peacefully next to her.
Now she remembered, the ship, the planes…
The bombers had attacked their ship and she had grabbed Mary-Lou and jumped over board in to one of the dinghy’s then the had paddled away as the ship disappeared below the water. Little Mary-Lou was only eight years old, she just sat there crying se didn’t know what had happened.
“Sally, where’s mommy?” Sally looked round, Mary-Lou had woken up.
“It’s okay bab’, I’m here. Look have this.” Sally passed her some bread that she had taken from the box she wore round her neck. They were evacuees and they just had a few essentials in their little boxes and one item to carry. Food, drink and washing items were in the box, Mary-Lou had her teddy and Sally had a first aid kit, which her mom had made her take in case either of them got hurt.
Sally sat up in the dinghy, there was land ahead. ‘The sky’s nice and clear, we should make it’ she thought. There were bits of wood from the ship that had fell into the dinghy, she picked one up and started rowing towards the piece of land. Mary-Lou was playing picnic’s with her teddy and the piece of bread.
“Sally should be able to cope, she’s 15 now” Sally remembered her mom saying to their aunt before they went, but could she cope? she was beginning to think she wouldn’t be able to.
The land was further away than Sally had first thought as the midday sun streamed down on them like red hot pokers prodding coal, Mary-Lou began to get very hot.
“Sally, I’m hot and I feel tired can I have some dinner?”
“Here bab’ have this then lie down.” Sally passed her some crisps and bottled water.
“But I’m hot”
“Take your blouse off then, you’ve got your vest underneath to stop you catching cold.”
Mary-Lou removed her blouse, drank some water, then ate the crisps Sally had given her.
Sally stopped rowing for a while and had a bit of bread, she didn’t want to eat too much as she didn’t know how long they would have to make the food last for. She didn’t know how long it would take to reach civilisation.
Sally and Mary-Lou eventually fell asleep. While they slept the dinghy drifted ashore on an Island.
The sun crept across the sky, brushing the night away and dusting the sky clean.
The water lapped against the shore bringing a small spray onto the faces of the sleeping children. Mary-Lou was the first to wake up this time, she shook Sally moaning ” Sally, Sally wake up we aren’t on the water any more.”
Sally woke up, her eyelids fluttering open dreamily. She glanced around and realised Mary-Lou was right. She got out of the dinghy, stretched and hugged Mary-Lou.
“Don’t worry any more bab'” she said, “We’ll be alright.”
They had some breakfast then Sally decided that they best try to find some people, but it looked like they would have to go through the forest in front of them to find a village or something. On one side of them was a huge cliff, behind them was the sea and on the other two sides, past the beach, was forest.
They collected together their things and headed towards the forest. As they got to the top of the beach Sally noticed there were coconuts on the closest trees. So with a lot of effort she shinned up one and knocked a few of the coconuts down, it was a good job she had been a tomboy back home, always climbing trees and fighting.
It had not been easy for Sally to get the coconuts from the trees as they had been very high and slim, it was lucky she was as nimble as a monkey, and it was worth the effort.
She took off her cardigan and tied it around the some of the coconuts in a makeshift bag.
“These two are what we’re having for today, so make it last” She told Mary-Lou. Then she dug around to find a sharp stone and tried to crack into the top of a coconut. It took a long time to get a crack but once it was started it broke up easier then. They drank the milk from inside and then chewed on chunks Sally broke off.
They set off into the trees.
As the sun began to slip away behind the trees they came to a small clearing.
” We’ll sleep here for the night, then tomorrow we’ll have to see how far we can go, okay?”
“Yes, Sally” Mary-Lou nodded.
“Okay, now you pull up some of that moss for us to use as a bed and I’ll make a fire as it’s getting cold. There are some sticks over there and I have some matches in the box, so we should be alright.”
Mary-Lou gathered lots of moss and made a nice springy bed for them to sleep on. When Sally had got a small fire burning she found a small can of beans and a can opener in the box. She opened the tin and warmed it by the fire. They ate the beans and chewed some more coconut then settled on the moss to go to sleep.
Mary-Lou drifted off almost immediately, but Sally lay awake for a long time trying to figure out where they might be. Finally she could keep her eyes open no longer, her eyelids drooped and she fell asleep.
The night came alive with the sounds of exotic birds and insects. The trees aglow by the bright little fireflies.
Sally and Mary-Lou were lost in the middle of a forest at the moment, but just two days walk away was a small town. As the girls slept the people of the town were holding an all night party, celebrating the summer festival they danced the night away.
When Mary-Lou and Sally awoke the next morning Mary-Lou’s arm was hurting. There was a huge insect bite on her arm and it was very sore, Mary-Lou was crying.
“It’s okay bab’, don’t worry” Sally consoled her as she sorted through the first-aid kit then dealt with the bite.
They drank some more coconut milk then continued on their journey, hoping they were heading in the right direction to find people.
After dinner Sally tripped over some tree roots, slightly twisting and straining her ankle. She took some painkillers from the first aid kit and bandaged her ankle. She had to keep going even though her foot was killing her, they needed to find civilisation.
When they settled down that night little did they know they were now only 3 miles form the village. 5 miles past the village was a bigger town with a hospital and airport.
“Sally, how much further have we got to go? my legs hurt and I want mommy.”
“Don’t worry Mary-Lou, hopefully it’s not much further now” Sally said, then thought to herself, I wish I knew I need to see a doctor about this ankle and we don’t have much food and water left.
They set off early the next morning hoping they would reach a town that day.
It was hard going with Sally hobbling on her bad ankle and Mary-Lou was just sick of walking all the time.
“What’s that noise?” Mary-Lou said that evening as they came close to what looked to be another clearing through the trees.
“Shh, I’ll go and see” Sally crept forward and looked through the bushes, then turned round and gave an excited squeal. Se grabbed Mary-Lou and swung her round, then nearly dropped her as she cried out in pain from her foot, then she finally managed to speak “It’s a village Mary-Lou, we’re safe at last we might be able to get home!”
They rushed excitedly out of the bushes, pain forgotten for the moment and ran to the closest house. Sally paused as she remembered what their mom had said about not talking to strangers, but thought in this case they had to make an exception. She knocked on the door and a short woman answered.
“Yes, who are you?” she said to Sally as she looked the dishevelled girls over “Where have you come from?”
“Excuse me” Sally said “Sorry, to disturb you but we’re lost, you see the boat we were on was sunk by bombers and then our dinghy drifted ashore, and we walked through the forest and ended up here. Can you help us please” The words just rushed out of her mouth.
The woman looked confused, but friendly.
“Come on in and tell me about it so I can understand, it’s getting late and you wee girls look like you could use a good meal and a wash” They followed he into the house where a group of boys and girls were sat playing on the floor. They stopped what they were doing to examine the two girls cautiously.
“It looks like you have hurt your foot too, I’ll take you to the hospital in the morning and we will get you all fixed up and find out how to get you home. But first you need some rest”
“Thank You” Sally said “I don’t know how we will be able to repay you for helping us”
“Don’t worry, just eat up” The woman said as she placed a large plate of food in front of the girls. They ate heartily and chatted with the woman and her children, explaining all they could that would help the woman be able to find out how to get them home. They bathed and slept comfortably at last.
The next day the woman took them into the big town and found people that could help sort them out. they had to stay in the town until the war was over before they could return home.
Eventually, Sally and Mary-Lou were returned home but they never forgot the wonderful family who had looked after them when they were lost. They wrote to each other for many years, until one day when Sally was grown-up she returned to the Island again, to live there for good.
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