George, aged 11, living in Sussex during the war. He’s one of the characters that is still more in my head than down on paper, but he’s ready to fly, in every sense of the word. He has to be next to appear, even though there isn’t much to say. All there is so far is a couple of snippets, but you’ll get the idea. And soon, George, I promise, you’ll get your wings.
George wrapped one skinny arm even tighter round the soft velvety body and used the other to hold the thin pillow over his head in the darkness. A cool nose soon snuffled its way in and he felt a reassuring lick on his cheek.
“It’s alright Lucky, don’t worry.”
The familiar sound of raised voices and banging pots from downstairs wasn’t worrying the small Jack Russell, but the tears running down his master’s cheeks were. He gave another lick and a small whimper to try and comfort the boy.
Now that he could no longer make out what they were yelling, George relaxed slightly, and soothed by his dog he soon fell asleep again.
Early next morning, as he drifted between waking and sleeping, George let his mind roam free in the land of adventures he’d built for himself and Lucky. They could be the sole survivors of a U-boat attack, steering their life raft from sunken warship to a desert island where they would live like Robinson Crusoe. Perhaps they’d be with the army in France, Lucky sniffing out mines and being hailed a hero. Or the best adventure of all: they were parachuted behind enemy lines, leading a daring rescue of captured airmen, including Jim who’d be so amazed and proud to see them.
But the reality of course was no adventures and no Jim, just Mum and Gran arguing. George didn’t want to hear their rows. It was usually about him, and of course ‘that wretched animal.’
“Get that wretched animal off those sheets.”
“Morning Gran, how are you feeling? Is your leg better today?” George poked his head out from under the eiderdown and felt an icy blast of morning air against his cheeks.
Lucky knew the drill and jumped out of the bed, ran past Gran and shot down the stairs.
“That creature should be out ratting, not in there with you like a silly teddy bear.”
She tugged the heavy curtains open and then stomped out of the room, limping only slightly George was relieved to see. He’d worked out that the likelihood of his getting through the day without a clip round the ear was directly related to how much The Leg was playing up.
He managed to put on most of his clothes before fully emerging from under the covers and stepping gingerly onto the cold wooden floor. Finally he pulled on his prized possession, a battered old leather flying hat and paused at the top of the stairs.
“Chocks away” he whispered.