This is a snippet of a new story based in wartime London that I plan to post in the spring. It's different from anything that I've tried before, so it would be interesting to get some feedback.
“I heard when they dug out Mrs Jones; she had no head,” said Sammy.
“Really?” I pulled a face but soon joined him laughing at the poor woman’s misfortune. It was how we coped at the time; we meant no harm. Mrs Jones was a nice lady; she was the green grocer’s wife and she knew my mum. Their house had been hit the day before, killing her and her husband while they were in bed. It took several hours to dig them out of the rubble, and apparently, according to Sammy, she had been decapitated. I don’t know why we laughed, because it wasn’t funny, but I think that it helped us cope with the horrors that we were witnessing every day.
There was no room for sadness or compassion. Thousands were dying all around us; people that we knew. Neighbours, relatives, friends, old people, our mates from school, young children and even babies. The bombing was indiscriminate, and when someone we knew was killed, it was a case of rather them than us. We grew up very quickly that year and in more ways than one.
We were walking to his house. It was Sunday; my only day off from work, and I had skipped church to meet Sammy at the market.
“Where are you going later,” he said and when he turned his head, I caught that sparkle in his eye as it briefly met with mine. It was accompanied by a faint, but telling grin that warned me of his intentions and started a familiar butterflies in my stomach.
He lived about a mile from me, but the Germans, had recently cut the journey in half by bombing the milkman’s house at the end of his road. We lost our delivery, but gained a useful, if precarious short cut across a mound of rubble, timber, and broken glass that was once his home.
Most of his furniture of any worth had gone, either removed by his family or looters, but the rubble was still littered with personal items that were either too damaged to be of any use or that nobody wanted. The two story house had been reduced to one, and we threaded our way through the remains of what looked like his upstairs bedroom. Underneath, was the living room, where they had found his body, and to one side was the staircase. It was the only part of the house still standing and attached to a small broken section of wall. It looked funny, a staircase going to nowhere, but the stairs often survived along with the chimneys.