Under The Streets Of London – Episode 30

“I’m sorry. I’m so, so sorry!” Violet’s words came out on a strangled sob and Mary looked up to see the girl standing at the end of the bed.

“I know,” she said.

“Will he be all right? Please say he will!”

Mary looked to John, lying with a big white bandage around his head. William had run for the doctor last night and by the time he’d arrived, John had thankfully come round.

They’d helped him inside but he’d been very dazed and Mary had been terrified that the knock had done permanent damage.

The doctor had told her that his memory was likely to return after a rest, but he’d been asleep since, so there was no way of telling.

“I hope so,” was all she could manage and that set Violet crying again.

“I didn’t mean any harm, Aunt Mary. I only met him for a drink. I . . .”

“Met him?” Mary looked up. “You arranged this?”

Violet shrank back.

“Sort of. He said that if I was in the George he’d like to buy me a drink. I didn’t see the harm in it.”

“Well, you wouldn’t, would you? Because you don’t think, Violet!”

“I know. I’m stupid.”

Mary sighed and glanced again at John. He looked peaceful, but her niece was suffering. She owed it to her sister to help the girl. She rose and went to her.

“You’re not stupid.”

“I am! I’m stupid and no use to anyone.”

“That’s not true.” Mary put an arm around her. “You might be a little bit silly sometimes, Violet, but you’re young. We’ve all been like that.”

“I bet you weren’t.”

Mary smiled.

“I was. I mooned over your uncle for months when we were courting.”

“But Uncle John is a good man; worth mooning over.”

“As it turned out, yes. But I didn’t know it at the time.”

Violet looked to the bed.

“Now you might not get to speak to him ever again!”

Mary held her niece tight and prayed she wasn’t proved right. She looked to the window. The sun was rising over the train works outside, casting sharp shadows over what had once been their street.

Mary felt them as if they were slashes across her heart. As far as she could see, this underground train had been trouble from the outset. First it had been Bertie in danger, then William, and now this.

At that moment there was a movement from the bed.


He shifted, moaned, then opened his eyes.

“Mary? What’s wrong?”

She could almost have laughed.

“Your head, John. How’s your head?”

He put a hand up to his skull and felt the bandage.

“What is up with my head?” Mary’s heart sank, but then he grimaced. “Of course – that man taking liberties with our Violet! Where is she? Where . . .”

At that, Violet threw herself on her knees at his other side, grabbing his hand. Her hot tears spilled on to his skin.

“I’m so sorry, Uncle! I’ll never do it again. I’ll never even go out again!”

Mary heard a soft chuckle from John which melted away some of the fears of the long night at his side.

“Nay, Violet lass,” he said, “there’s no need to go that far. Just pick better company next time.” He turned his head to Mary. “Have they got him?”

“An officer’s due here shortly with a representative of the Metropolitan company. A telegram came first thing saying someone would be with us after breakfast.”

“Breakfast?” John’s eyes lit up.

“You’re hungry?”


“Violet . . .?”

The girl leaped up.

“I’ll make it. What would you like, Uncle John? Some toast? There’s plum jam in the store cupboard – if Bertie hasn’t got to it.”

“Lovely, lass. And a cup of tea. I’m parched.”

Violet nodded eagerly and dashed for the stairs.

“She’s changed,” John said to Mary.

“For now,” Mary agreed. “About time, though I’m sorry it took something like this to do it. Do you truly feel well, John?”

“Truly. I’m sorry if I gave you a scare, sweetheart. I’ll be up and about in just a minute, I promise.”

Mary wasn’t having that.

“Not today, you won’t be. You’re resting until we’re absolutely sure there’s no harm done.”

“But the police! The man from the Metropolitan!”

“They can see you here. Best they know how serious this is, anyway.”

John sighed. He knew his wife. When her mind was made up there was little could be done. Reluctantly he lay back against his pillows and resigned himself to a day in bed.

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”.