He’s Watching You – Episode 04

THE next day two members of the Home Guard came to the school to check the fire buckets, the Anderson shelter and the tins of anti-mustard gas ointment that Joan kept hidden well away from the children’s eyes.

At playtime a group of Spitfires was scrambled from the nearby airfield and the children all stood in the playground, staring up.

“Bet they’ll knock them Germans for six, miss,” Clive said.

His brother punched him lightly.

“Drop loads of bombs on them, and all.”

As Joan watched the planes she reached a decision. If there was anything fishy going on in the village she would get to the root of it.

She had a mother risking her life in a munitions factory, two uncles fighting in France and a father toiling all hours to produce food for the country.

This would be her part of the war effort, to eradicate any possible Nazi sympathisers in the village. Her first step would be to check out the pillbox. She had a feeling that somebody was up to no good there.

Joan waited till dusk had fallen, then put on a dark, hooded top and a pair of black slacks and slipped a torch into her pocket.

Outside the rain was falling in torrents and a strong wind gusted. It moaned like a dervish in the copse and it was only the thought of her mother packing shells with explosive in the factory that kept her going.

The notice warning of mines banged in the gale and the rusty gate creaked eerily. She directed the torch beam to the ground and began to pick her way along the indentation in the grass, shutting out the thought of the buried mines with their sinister black spikes.

The square, solid shape of the pillbox loomed up, its entrance a dark crack in the concrete blocks. Ducking her head, she went inside, and shielding the torch beam with her hand, slowly swung it round.

Inside was empty apart from a scattering of cigarette butts, a heap of seaweed and a coil of thin wire. Scrawled on the wall in black paint was the outline of a Nazi soldier dangling from a gallows. There was a faint smell of . . . was it metal?

The pillbox contained nothing for her. It must have been a tramp or a drunk who had sheltered here at some time. Then she heard a crunch of shingle and every nerve in her body vibrated. Flicking off the torch, she peered through the slit in the wall that served as a window.

Between the pillbox and the sea stood a figure black from head to top, a hood pulled over its face. Somebody had followed her and she was trapped. Minutes passed, she did not know how many, and still he stood there unmoving. Or was it a woman?

Joan forced herself to think. There was only one chance. She’d make a run for it. She was out into the darkness in a flash, skidding behind the pillbox, haring along the path in the darkness, dreading the explosion that would blow her apart.

Then the trees closed around her and she was out on to the road by the inn. A glimmer of light came through the blackout curtains.

Two old men staggered out of the door somewhat the worse for drink.

“Evening, miss.”

“Now then, lady.”

The words were a caress and a great sweep of relief ran through her. Joan took a breath and turned round to stare at the copse. Nothing moved, nothing broke its stark outline against the night sky.

She fell into bed and slept uneasily, her dreams punctuated with visions of a lurking figure dressed in black from head to toe.

Alan Spink

Alan is a member of the “Friend” Fiction Team. He enjoys working closely with writers and being part of the creative process which sees storytelling ideas come to fruition. A keen reader, he also writes fiction and enjoys watching football and movies in his spare time. His one aspiring tip to new writers is to “write from your imagination”.