A Two Way Mirror
As I walk down the street, I can hear the droning sound of German night bombers getting closer. The sirens soon screech out for everyone to rush to an air-raid shelter. Suddenly, I listen to the high-pitched whistle of bombs as they fall everywhere, smashing into and blowing up people’s homes. Civilians run screaming as they try to find somewhere safe to hide. Then - I hear a strange high-pitched whistling sound, “boom!” A bomb destroys a row of terraced houses. I try to hide somewhere safe, but it’s useless; bombs are dropping In every direction. I bend down in fear and cover my ears every time I hear the whistling sound of another bomb; this time, a bomb smashes into the local grocery store. I struggle up and spot incendiaries like Roman candles on Bonfire night dotted on several rooftops of some nearby houses; I can see the air-wardens frantically trying to put the fires out.
Above me in the sky I see a Heinkel caught in the ack-ack gunner’s searchlights. Then, a moment later, all hell lets loose as I hear the sound of “clackety-clack” of the ack-ack guns firing from rooftops all around me. First, they locked onto the bomber, and then tracers swiftly shot up, followed by a barrage of shells. A sudden feeling of pity ran through my mind,
“the poor buggers will surely get hit.” I thought.
But my sympathy soon changed to one of hatred as those devils in that killing machine were hell-bent on killing as many civilians as possible.
A deadly silence suddenly permeated the air when seconds later, I hear a terrific explosion; the German bomber I saw In the searchlights seemed to disintegrate In a puff of smoke before my eyes.
"Hooray!" "You won’t be going home tonight!” Shouted some people In the street, raising their fists in the air in defiance. But this was just a tiny victory; the ack-ack guns were lucky to shoot one bomber down, even though they had hundreds of bombers like sitting ducks to choose from!—This was a testimony of how hopeless the ack-ack was.
Just then, the bombing seemed to intensify, as I rushed across the road to get closer to the nearest air-raid shelter. On the way there, I saw women running, holding their children; some were pushing their prams with crying babies as they raced to the shelter. They would duck nervously every time a bomb came raining down.
I continued rushing towards the shelter; I felt lost and disorientated for a moment. I am not even sure who I am anymore! But then, I heard another dreaded, loud whistling sound, and a bomb hit my friend’s house across the street.
“Oh no! I hope Laura and her family weren’t at home!” I don’t think anyone could’ve survived that!
Suddenly I hear fire engine bells ringing in the distance as they race frantically to nearby buildings on fire. As I walk into the next street, I can see some air wardens waving their arms, hurrying people up to get to the shelter. Looking across the street, I see a row of houses on fire, with black smoke billowing from them. Firemen close by with their powerful water hoses desperately try to extinguish the fires on the rooftops.
On the corner, I walk past the local pub, The Queen’s Arms. I spotted a dog shivering in fear, too terrified to move as it was cowering by the pub door. I try to coax it out, but maybe its senses are dulled due to fear because it doesn’t seem to see me. I can only hope it will be safe where it is, poor mite.
Across the Thames, I see the docks now engulfed in violent, orange flames, like devils dancing with black smoke rising hundreds of feet In the air. What an awful night; I fear many people in the East End must have perished tonight!
As I turn into the street, I can see the underground station now a hundred yards ahead of me. There’s a large gathering of people, now going into the station, walking down the stairs to the shelter. Strange that no one seems to take any notice of me as I walk by them. I suppose they are all focusing on getting to safety.
I go down the stairs in the station, deeper into its recesses for protection, feeling somewhat comfortable and relieved now. At the bottom, along the platform, I see all manner of people: Sailors, soldiers, Mums, and their children, some nurses, giving aid to some wounded civilians as they sit on some blankets on the floor. There are some volunteers handing out sandwiches and tea to everyone. The milk of human kindness shows its angelic face in these terrible, daunting times.
Further, ahead I see a group of families.
“Oh! look, it’s Laura!” I shout to her, but she doesn’t seem to hear me. She was standing with her husband and their two children John and Ann. Thank goodness they weren’t in their home when it got bombed.
Everyone gives a big sigh of relief now as the siren screams out for the all-clear.
I can go back home now the bombers have finished their carnage. I climb up the station’s stairs, back into the street, and into the cool, night air. The smell of acrid smoke and dust fills the air momentarily, taking my breath away. I feel excited now that I'm on my way back home. After walking, about half an hour, I turn the corner, and there is my street where I live. I can’t wait to see my daughter, Sarah, and my husband, David, again. But why did they not come with me to the shelter? Oh, I am so confused!
My house is a little further on now - “wait a minute!”
What’s going on over there? “No!” The house is gone! Why is that ambulance there? There’s David and Sarah next to the rubble. Who are they looking at on that stretcher?
Please! I hope it’s not anyone I know? I must get a closer look.
“David! Sarah! Why are you so upset?” Sarah turned and held her Dad’s hand, and looked up at him, and started sobbing. “Daddy, why? Why Mummy? It’s so unfair!”