Name me if you will,
I won’t remember.
The sky was black, the ground was cold as a girl ran towards an Anderson shelter in the yard out the back. She could only hope that her loved ones were safe in a public shelter. Why she was home alone in the middle of a War? Only time would tell for this young girl.
The sirens stopped suddenly. Everything was quiet for just a moment. Then a small whistle from above could be heard. The whistle was getting louder by the second. The girl prayed that the bomb would land in the middle of a large empty cattle paddock. As you and I both know that did not happen.
The ground on which the girl stood on, exploded beneath her feet. The girl was thrown about a hundred meters from the g force of the bomb before hitting her head on a nearby tree and by doing so nocking herself unconscious.
I wake up slowly, but I notice I am on the ground. I look up and I’m surrounded by a group of people staring. “What’s going on?” I ask the women kneeling next to me. She has dark eyes and short brown hair but for some odd reason she is wearing a doctor’s coat.
“Honey, you were bombed, and I think you got thrown at the tree from the blast. You hit your head pretty badly.” The women answered with a hint of what seemed to be pity.
“Where am I?” I ask looking around at the small cottages painted along the country side. “You’re in Cotswold Valley, remember?” The women ask. “No” I say trying to remember a valley at all. What’s your name dear? The women ask me again. “I don’t remember my name.” I say with tears prickling in my eyes. The people staring start whispering behind my back.
I start to feel mad at them. Don’t they know what it feels like to not remember their past? I think to myself.
“Ok, let's take you to Doctor Rob, he’ll know what to do to help you remember.” The lady says as she helps me to my feet.
The last thing I want to do right now is have more people stare at me. I think as I start walking down a path, that doesn’t seem to end.
I see a clearing through some trees just off the path. “I could run down there, and escape being watched.” I thought to myself.
If I was ever going to do it now would be the time. I duck under the women’s bag and dash through the leaves not looking back. I can hear some shouting so that properly means someone’s chasing me. So, I quickly duck behind an old tree. I hear people running straight past where I was hiding.
Now I’m sure their gone I run farther out into the trees. I notice that the forest starts to disappear, and lush green countryside takes its place. The countryside is beautiful and has tall grassy hills surrounding the forest.
I make my way to the top of a hill and look down at the small village, the forest and the grass lands. I sit there and watch the towns people go about their midday errands at the small market area.
“You lost?” I whip my head around and see a boy walking towards me. I stand up quickly and almost fall over on the rocky hill.
“Kind of, who are you?” I ask him. I realize that the boys roughly the same height as me.
“Charlie Clark, Mr Clark’s youngest son. I thought everyone knew that.” Charlie said that last bit slowly.
“I don’t know anything, really” I said gloomily.
“Well you have to know something.” Charlie said with a laugh. “What about your name? You have to know your own name.” he said smiling at me.
Unfortunately for him I didn’t return the smile. “I can’t remember anything before this morning.” I mumbled.
“Whoa! Really tell me all about it.” Charlie said excitedly.
So, I told him about the weird lady and the whispers and my escape. When I finished his mouth was wide open with shock.
“I think we need to get you a name” He said a silly smile. “How about we walk back to my hide out and on the way, we can give you a name?” Charlie asks Holding out his hand for me to take.
As I walk over the fields with Charlie, He starts going through names for me. “Mary, Lucey, Madeline, Cara, Greta, Eliza, Ann? Any of the above?” He asks desperately.
“Maybe something with an M don’t you think?” I say.
“Ok, then what about, Mary, Megan, Madeline?” He stopped at the name Madeline and said, “You look like a Madeline.”
“Madeline it is I guess.” I said with as much confidence as I could think of. “
Come on Madeline it’s just up this hill and here it is.” Charlie said as I reached the top. In the middle of a huge cornfield was a single tree and in that tree was a small house concealed in its branches.
“You built that?” I ask in astonishment.
“Sure did, but it was on the ground before the war started.” He answered not taking his eyes off the tree.
“There’s a war happening!” I ask shocked.
“Yeh. I’ll tell you about it when we get inside.” He said as he pushed me into the cornfield.
The long stalks are so tall that I can hardly see a thing. I look down and see a small, strait line of pebbles put into the dirt. I look down and follow the trail of pebbles. I hit my head on a hard tree branch.
“Ouch!” I moan as I look up.
From a distance the tree didn’t look as big but up close it is a ginormous tree with small green fruit hanging off every branch. But wedged between the branches is a big house painted odd shades of brown and green.
“Welcome to me hideout” Charlie says with a smile as he appears through the grass holding two corn cobs. Charlie pulls back a piece of bark from the tree that gives a small metal creek. “In here” He whispers. I step in the tree and I trip over and fall on something soft. Charlie closes the doorway and rummages around in the dark for a bit. Then a small bit of light appears from a match and suddenly gets bigger as it is put into an oil lamp in the side of the tree. I look around and realize that Charlie has dug a large hole and filled it with a lot of random stuff.
“Charlie, do you live here?” I ask a little concerned.
“Course not. This is just in case the Germans attack, then I need a safe place like here to hide.” He said confidently. “You really don’t know anything about the war, do you?” I shook my head.
“Well the war started about three years ago when a German man named Adolf Hitler claimed war on the rest of Europe and he kills people because of their beliefs. He sends bombs to England to try and kill us. So, England is fighting back, and we are slowly winning the war. Well that’s what dad says anyway. Dad won’t let you come in the house he would just put you on the streets again” Charlie said seriously.
“Do you recognise me from anywhere? Maybe you know who I am from school or something.” I ask hopefully
“Well Mum lives in the city and dad lives in the valley so I used to live with mum, but she sent me far away from the bombs, and her.” He added the last two words quietly. “So basically, I’m not local here.”
“Could we ask your dad if he knows me?” I advise him.
“No way, he already thinks I can’t look after myself. If I went running to him for friendship advice, he would think that I am his most disappointing son” Charlie snapped at me.
“There is no need to snap” I say quietly. There is awkward silence then I speak up. “How many brothers do you have?”
Charlie looks up then looks at his feet “I’m the youngest of eight and the only one born in London.”
“That makes you different and special all together. Do you really want to be the same as all the others?” I say sincerely and kindly. Charlie looks up and smiles.
Charlie and I eat the raw corn in silence, then he gets up and walks over to the entrance. “Sorry but I have to go home now, feel free to make yourself comfortable.” Charlie half yawns goodbye. I begin to fall into a deep sleep.
My eyes jerk open and I realize that I’m in some sort of dark room. I shuffle over to where a thin ray of light dances on the floor and wall. I find a handle sort of thing near the light and I realize that it’s a door.
Once I’m outside I heard whistling, drawing closer to the tree. I ran off in the other direction through a huge cornfield. I jog further away from the field until I came across a dirt track and I saw a sign that said “Cotswold Village” on one side and “Little Barrington” on the other. Little Barrington sounded nicer. So, I began to walk along the path towards Little Barrington.
I had been travelling along the same path for quite some time now and no sign of a village or anything, just farms on either side of the road. I stopped and rested for about five minutes when I decided I should keep walking, then I felt it. It was as though someone was starring strait through me. I looked over to the long cabbage patch, then the forest of trees on the other side. Someone was there hiding behind the closest one.
“Hello? Is someone there?” I crept closer to the tree. Suddenly two little girls who seemed a little shorter than me stood out from behind the tree. I quickly noticed that I was seeing double. Both girls had the same brown eyes, same dirty blond hair and the same guilty look in their eyes. They were both waring the same coloured salmon pink dresses.
“Are you a German?” one of the girls asked staring at me intensely
“I don’t think so, Ava, she doesn’t sound like it, does she?” the other girl said with a very good, hard and curious study of me with her big brown eyes.
“Excuse me but who are you?” I asked before their conversation got any weirder.
“I’m Ava and this grumpy grouch is Eva. She’s my twin sister” Ava said sadly, before she could say anything else Eva piped up.
“Who are you and where do you come from?” Eva asked staring me in the eye with the fiercest look I think I have ever seen.
“I’m….” I didn’t know the answer to that. Who am I?
“Hurry up spill” Eva said getting impatient.
“I can’t remember!” I shouted. Quickly regretting it as Eva’s nostrils begun to flare up.
“What do you mean, you can’t remember?” Ava asked curiously.
I took a deep breath and explained that I had woken up this morning in a tree and I had walked all the way here.
“Wow. Are you scared that you won’t find your way home?” Eva asked sounding a little sorry for me. I think she was beginning to soften.
“Not really. If I find someone that knows me, they might just know my past as well.” I answered trying to sound confident.
“Eva, we should head home, it’s almost time for morning tea. Your welcome to come, if you’d like. Mama always makes too many muffins.” Ava grabbed my hand before I could answer.
We ran through the forest of trees that was at the base of a hill. We reached the top and I saw a large house with a barn out the back.
“Welcome to our home.” Ava said admiring the house from the angle we were standing on.
I saw a little boy playing with a wooden horse outside on the veranda. He looked up as we approached. He had one of his front teeth missing and dark red curly hair. He couldn’t have looked any cuter if he had tried. I noticed that he didn’t look anything like his sisters.
“This is Matthew, he is an orphan Jew. A girl named Irena gave him to Mama as a baby and explained that he was a Jew, whose parents had been taken by the Nazis. Irena had given him a Christian name so that the Nazis didn’t recognise him.” Ava explained giving Matthew a hug.
“Eva, Ava, where have you been?” came a woman’s voice from the house. Seconds later, a short woman came running out of the house and gave the girls a hug each. When she saw me her eyes widened with shock?
“And who is this?” She asked kindly.
“We’re not sure. See, she can’t remember anything about herself before this morning.” Eva answered for Ava and me.
“Sounds like a bad case of Amnesia to me. Come inside and have a muffin while I try and find one of your father’s books on diagnoses” the lovely woman suggested.
While I was eating a muffin, the girls explained that their father was a doctor in Cotswold valley but was away in a horrible war now. The girls didn’t know much about what was going on in the war. They said that news from the battle fields would sometimes take months to receive. But they seemed very certain that their father was alive.
“Someone would have told us by now.” Ava shrugged. I guess they thought it was better to think happy thoughts than dwell on the hard ones.
"Mama, where will she go tonight? She doesn’t know where she's from" Eva said curiously.
"First of all, I think we should give her a name, it doesn't feel right calling her she. And second, I don't see why she can't stay with us the night." The girls Mama said with a soft smile.
"What is a good name?" Eva pondered.
"How about September because we found you in September!" Ava said clapping at herself.
"Perfect, Ava" the woman said happily.
The woman walked into another room and picked up some sheets and put them on her hip.
"I'll be washing these if anyone needs me" The girl's mama said as she walked out a back door.
"Let's go play with the chickens" Eva exclaimed.
We headed outside and found a small wooden hut. As we got closer we could hear some clucking and rustling coming from inside. Three Brown chickens were strutting around and kicking up some hay with every step.
"where's Eggly?" Eva asked shocked, looking around.
"Who's Eggly?" I ask wondering if it's another chicken.
"That's Eggly!" Ava points to the door that we just came through. A Black, beady eyed Chicken stares at us for a moment as we stare back. Then she makes a dash for the door!
"Get that chicken!" Eva screams as Eggly begins to run around the yard, as though she didn't have a head. Ava and Eva both dived at the chicken from opposite directions and missed the chicken and both bumped heads.
"Ouch!" The girls moaned as I dashed after the chicken. Eggly jumped on a barrel and I jumped after her. I slipped and hit my head on the barrel. Everything went dark.
My eyes fluttered open and I saw two pairs of Brown eyes staring at me close to my face.
"Do you think she's ok?" came a small voice from the left.
"Maybe?" came a soft curious voice from the right.
I realized the I was seeing double. Two girls with dirty blond hair, Brown eyes and they were both wearing a salmon Pink dress. I moaned as I realized I had a sore head, that must be why I was seeing double!
"Oh, the poor dear. She's awake. Here keep this cloth on your forehead, September." The kind woman said to me.
Was I September? Where these people my family?
"Who are you?" I asked feeling very light headed.
"Oh no! It's the amnesia Mama!" one of the girls whispered really loudly.
"September seems to forget everything every time she falls asleep!" the other girl exclaimed.
"Ok, your name for the moment is September, you were found walking along the road towards Little Barrington when Ava and I found you. You didn't know anything from your past and seemed lost. Did I get everything?" the girl asked her sister Ava.
"Think so. I'm Ava, this is Eva and this is our Mama" The girl, Ava answered.
"Wow! I did a lot this morning." I said to no one in particular.
"Girls I don't have everything I need for dinner so we might have to go into Little Barrington to get some groceries. I can't leave you home alone so you'll have to come into town with me" The girls Mama said with a sigh.
"It's ok Mama we won't mind, would you like us to get the tractor out of the barn for you?" Ava asked politely. Her mama just nodded and mumbled as she went to get something called Matthew ready.
"The last letter we got from Father said, that if we needed the money, we were allowed to sell our car for good money" Eva explained as we walked over to the barn where Ava and I pushed the doors open.
Eva pulled a dirty cloth off the top of the tractor. The tractor was small with only one seat.
"How will we all fit on that tiny seat?" I asked raising an eyebrow.
"We won't, that's why we have the trailer. Duh" Ava said pulling out a bright, red little trailer with five seats. There were four actually but one was more like a basket than a seat.
"Come on we have to pull the trailer over to the tractor." Eva huffed starting to try and pull the trailer all by herself. "Ava go get the keys, September and I can get it" Eva explained as Ava dropped the trailer and skipped over to an old oil can and pulled out a small silver key.
Eva pushed in the key with a clunk, turned it to the right and the tractor rumbled to a start. Ava jumped up in the seat on the tractor and pushed a bunch of buttons and handles. Then the tractor started to move forward, out the barn and towards the front of the house.
The women came to the front porch and had a little boy with blood, red, curly hair and put him in the trailer on the basket seat.
"Matthew, sit still and listen to the girls. Ok?" The women said to the little boy really slowly and loudly. The little boy laughed and clapped at the women who seemed to have taken that as a yes. I didn't see it.
"All aboard the Mama express!" The women giggled as she jumped up into the seat at the front.
"Come on!" Ava grabbed my hand and pulled me into the trailer, next to her.
I jumped out of the trailer and looked around at the busy markets.
"Looks like there's a festival going on today. You girls stick close and don't get lost!" the girl's mama shouted of the noise of all the chatter.
Eva, Ava and I were allowed to wonder around the kids market for a bit, while their mama took Matthew to go get food for dinner.
"Eva, look! It's just like the mirror dad keeps with him in his pocket!" Ava explained as she dashed over to a stand that had small mirrors for sale. The girls were looking at the mirrors and I was looking at the person looking back at me from inside the mirror.
"Do I really look like that?" I thought to myself. My reflection had long, curly, light brown hair and had somewhere in between green and blue eyes. I also realized for the first time today, that I was wearing a long green skirt and a navy long sleeved top. I stood there and looked at myself for a while, then I heard voices coming from behind the stands. I ducked my head around the back of the stalls and my eyes widened. A group of men were wearing strange uniforms under their jackets. I went back to the front of the stall and thought that they were probably just talking about boring grown up stuff. So I tried to forget about it. One of the men that was behind the stall came out front to the mirror stall. He shooed Ava and Eva away and muttered something.
"Ava, did you see that man's shirt!" Eva exclaimed.
"I sure did. Quick we have to get mama and Matthew out of here!" Ava whispered whilst dragging me towards the food part of the markets.
We found their mama and Matthew and the girls whispered something into her ear and their mama gasped.
"You girls take Matthew back to the tractor and wait for me there. I have to tell someone." Their mama said and with that she hurried away.
"Why is that man's shirt such a big deal? Other men were wearing it too." I told the girls as we rushed Matthew and ourselves back to the tractor. Then The girls both stopped walking and stared at me, wide eyed.
"Are you telling us that you saw more than one Nazis?" Eva said, looking like she was having trouble breathing.
"I guess. What are Nazis?" I asked a little confused as to why them men where such a big deal to the girls.
"We have to warn mama that there's more than one!" Ava cried as she picked up Matthew and grabbed Eva's hand and looked her in the eye and said.
"You stay here with September and watch the tractor. I'll take Matthew and go tell mama-" before she could say any more Eva butted in.
"You're not doing this alone. I coming too." Ava saw that there was no persuading Eva. She nodded and they both ran off into the market to find their mama.
I stood next to the tractor for what seemed like a long time. I heard a big bang and then a scream. I don't know what told me to, maybe it was my instincts or my gut, I don't know but I ran over to one of the motor cars parked at the back of the market and I curled up into a ball behind it. Then I heard it. The loudest ear deafening bang that I could ever hear, hit my ears. Everything went black.
"It's a survivor!" came a voice above me. Then I saw daylight and an outline of a man's face. I felt so sore in the head and I couldn't feel my leg.
"Excuse me, sir? Is this the only survivor that has been found?" a young lady's voice from my left asked someone nearby.
"Sorry miss, I don't have time for questions. And no, a small boy, roughly her age has been found with minor injuries." The first voice said to the young lady.
"Where am I?" I managed to mumble to no one in particular.
"Your just outside the ruins of what used to be the market in Little Barrington" a small sad voice said quietly to me.
I now realize that I'm sitting in a small white tent, looking at the roof.
"I'm Laurence by the way, who are you?" the boy asked me looking at me with those deep green eyes of his.
I wanted to answer him but when I tried to give him an answer I just couldn't remember.
"I'm sorry, I can't remember." I said trying not to make eye contact with Laurence in case he thought that I was just being silly.
"What happened here?" I asked him looking around.
"All I know is that my parents and I were looking at some fruit, when a lady came screaming that there were some Nazis in the market. My Dad went off to help the lady warn people. I was crouched down behind my dad's motorcar." Laurence paused and I could tell that he was finding it difficult to talk about it. " My mum was just about to sit down when a huge blast came through and knocked her off her feet and then I got stuck under the motorcar. I haven't seen my mum since" he said with a sigh.
I got up and moved over to where he was sitting and I put an arm around his shoulder. I could tell that he was on the edge of tears and it just felt like the right thing to do.
Before I could say anything else, a woman with dirty blonde, dreadlocks, tied up in a lose bun came barging into the tent with wide eyes.
"Oh My goodness! Are you two ok?" She asked us as she put down a bag.
"I'm ok but I don't think that this girl here is." Laurence said to the lady who rushed over to me and started prodding me with little tools, that were obviously doctor's tools.
"What's wrong, dear?" The woman asked me.
"I don't know." I said with panic rising in my chest. What would happen to me if I told her that I couldn't remember anything. She could send me off to some sort of secret doctor's office where they take people apart! Wait. How do I know that would happen. Have I ever heard anyone talk about secret doctor's offices? Maybe I just can't remember who?
Before I could give it another thought. A man came in on a strange sort of bed off the ground.
"We think his still alive! Elly, quick. We need you to keep this man alive!" A tall handsome young man was carrying the man on the bed into the tent with us. Before Elly could answer the man rushed out the tent.
" No pressure." Elly mumbled to herself as she checked the man's wounds.
The man on the bed mumbled to himself.
"I think he'll be ok." She reassured us, seeing our worried faces.
"I'm Elly. I used to work for Dr Rob, in Cotswold valley" Elly said shaking our hands.
"I'm Laurence Keet" Laurence said to Elly as she looked in her little bag.
"Hi Elly, I'm sorry but I can't remember my name" I whispered to her hoping secretly that she would understand my situation.
"Oh no! Can you remember anything at all?" She asked me with wide eyes
I just nodded and she sat down on the bench across from me.
"What are you looking for?" Laurence asked Elly.
"I'm trying to. Find. This" Elly exclaimed as she found a small booklet in her little bag.
Elly began to flick through it, obviously trying to find something.
"Here it is! Amnesia. But I can't find a cure. It seems like one of those things that you just have to wait off." Elly said closing her book with a sigh.
"Until it goes away, I think we should keep you here with us so that you don't get lost" Elly smiled at me. I smiled back weakly. "I can't stay here. I have to go find my family!" I thought to myself.
Elly opened her mouth, about to say something when the same handsome young man that had bought in the other man who was now on the floor of the tent.
"Elly, come quick! We found more survivors!" He yelled. Elly jumped up from where she was sitting and almost got out of the tent so fast that anyone would have thought that she flew.
This was my chance to get out of this tent and find my family.
"Sorry Laurence, I have to find my family" I told him as I turned to leave.
"Wait, can you promise me that you will come back?" He said grabbing hold of my hand.
"If I remember, of course. Laurence, you have a family, I have to go find mine" I said and I crept out of the tent.
Outside was chaos! There was smoke everywhere and people were shouting to each other through the smoke. I crept behind some fire trucks and I was about to dash over to the dirt path that lead away from all the commotion. That's when I heard it. A child's cry from somewhere nearby. I walked over to a pile of rubble where a small girl was sitting with her face in her hands.
"I never should have left Mummy, it's all my fault!" The girl wailed.
"Have you lost your mummy?" I asked her. The girl raised her head and slowly turned towards me. She looked like she had just caught someone stealing jewellery.
"I'm dreaming, aren’t I?" she asked me.
"Not that I'm aware of, no" I answered unsure of what she was so shocked to see.
"Ronnie, it's me, Poppy. I'm your little sister, remember?" She said with the same shocked tone.
I didn't understand. I was this little girl's older sister? I knew that I needed to find my family but I didn't think that it would be this quick.
"So your my little sister?" I asked slowly, trying to process this all in my head.
"Why can't you remember me?" Poppy asked me frowning.
"I can't remember anything from before ten minutes ago" I said to Poppy.
"Maybe we should focus of finding Mummy, she'll know what to do" Poppy said getting up and wiping her face with the sleeve of her dark blue dress.
"Do you think she's ok?" I ask Poppy, beginning to lose hope in finding Mummy.
"Mummy will be fine. She's super strong" Poppy told me not sounding very confident.
We have been wandering around the ruins of the Little Barrington Market for a while now and there was no sign of Mummy.
"I can't believe I found you!" Poppy whispered hugging my arm.
"Mummy and I have been looking for months! The doctor in Cotswold said that you ran away from them and that you had a bad case of amnesia. Mummy and I set off to try and find you and we thought you might have gone to Little Barrington. Since it's not too far we took a cab here. At the moment we're staying at the motel in town. Mummy and I drew posters to put up around the town and we thought that we would start at the market…"Poppy's voice disappeared as one fat, lonely tear rolled down her cheek.
I bent down to poppy's level and whipped the tear off her cheek. Before I could say something to give her some confidence, a voice yelled through the debris.
"Survivors have been taken to the medical tents. Anyone looking for family or friends, I'd go see if they're there before they're taken to the closest hospital" Elly's voice echoed around the dust and rubble.
Poppy's eyes lit up and a wide smile spread across her face.