Under The Streets Of London – Episode 17

Mary thought she caught a reply.

“William!” she yelled again and now there really was a shout back.

They all spun round and spotted an ambulance cart parked up the nearest side street, its horses stamping their hooves on the street.

Several nurses were tending the wounded and there, sitting on the board at the back with his arm in a sling, was William.

“Thank God!”

Violet led the charge, throwing herself at her brother so that he squeaked in protest as she crushed his arm. He was smiling, though, and Mary thought she’d never been so glad to see someone injured in her life.

“What happened?” she demanded, but William was still smothered by Violet and it was the nurse who answered.

“He fell into the tunnel saving a little girl. She’d have gone down, the people around told me, if he hadn’t made a dive for her. He caught her and pushed her back on to the pavement, but then he lost his own footing and went over. He managed to reach a handhold but the pressure of it pulled his collarbone out of its socket. I’ve reset it. It hurt him a bit, but at least it’s in place. He should rest up for a day or two.”

“Of course,” Mary agreed. “Thank you so much. We were so worried.”

“My fault,” the girl said.

She was young and slight but had a confident air that Mary warmed to instantly and, by the looks from William, now extricating himself from Violet and Bertie’s enthusiastic embraces, her nephew had warmed to her, too.

“I’m afraid I told him he had to sit still for a while,” the nurse went on. “I didn’t want him fainting.”

“As if I would!” William protested and she turned back to him.

“I’m sure you wouldn’t normally, but it was a nasty fall and you must take care of yourself.”

“You’ve taken care of me something lovely,” he said, blushing slightly.

“You certainly have,” Mary said quickly. “You must come for tea so we can thank you, er . . .”

“Sophie,” the nurse supplied. “But there’s no need. I’m just doing my job.”

“We’d like you to come,” William urged.

The girl seemed to melt.

“In that case,” she said shyly, “thank you.”

They arranged for her to come a few days later, then took William back to the George. Violet teased him all the way about his “pretty nurse” until her long-suffering brother told her to shut up.

It was still busy in the public house but the children were more than content, as Ray had taken the easy route and given them some of his precious food to keep them beneath the table. Mary moved to fetch them out but as she did so a thin man in a dark suit stepped across her path.

“Excuse me, madam,” he said, bowing low. “I couldn’t help noticing your poor son here is injured.”

“He’s not my son,” Mary said indignantly; she was eight years younger than her sister.

“Terribly sorry,” he simpered. “I see now that the young man is older than he at first seemed. Working, no doubt?”

“Yes, for us,” Mary told him, trying to get past.

“Not with that poor arm – not for a while, I’ll wager.”

“I’ll be fine in a day or two,” William said stoutly, but the man moved up closer.

“Are you sure, lad? Looks nasty to me. And there’s the trauma, too.”

“What trauma?”

“The tunnel collapsing. The shock of the injury. The pain.”

“It doesn’t hurt that much.”

“But it might,” he persisted, wagging a scrawny finger at William before looking back to Mary and John. “It might if he strains it, and then what use will he be?”

John stepped up.

“Enough, sir. This is not helping anyone and we would like to be on our way.”

“You misunderstand me. I am simply saying that your worker here could be entitled to compensation from the Metropolitan company. Loss of earnings, see? And the stress of it all.”

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 tip to new writers is “write from your imagination”.