a little gold object laying on the stone passage between the two tall blue plaques. I brush the dust off my sleeve and wince in pain, as I kneel to pick up what turns out to be a watch.
The watch is one of those old-fashioned pocket watches. It has a swirly silver crest at the top and two jet black needles… Well, there are actually three, but unlike normal watches, the third needle sticks up like a joystick. The time reads 7:39. I look at my digital watch showing 15:13. I look at the sky, but it’s still a light baby blue. I try to turn the dial, but nothing happens. I give the third needle a flick. Suddenly, everything goes loopy again and the last thing I see is a swish of colours.
I open my eyes to the sound of a blaring whistle. To my surprise, I am no longer in a graveyard, but rather in the middle of a moving train compartment. I jump to my feet and look at two pairs of kids on either side of me.
“Excuse me, where am I?” I ask to no one in particular.
No one replies, but instead, a girl of around 12, with messy brown hair and big eyes, throws a brightly coloured sweet directly at me. I try to stop it from hitting my chest, but instead of blocking it, it goes straight through me and into the hands of a boy, on the opposite side of the compartment.
“Thanks, Charlotte,” says the boy with chunky brown glasses and neatly combed hair. He pops the sweet in his mouth, before pulling a piece of paper out of his rucksack. He holds it up and shows it to everyone.
“Say, James, what’s the map for?” asks another boy, who has a very strong build and defined features, sitting next to him. He looks rather grumpy and is anxiously rotating his hands.
“This, Archie, is a leaflet I picked up from the station; it shows our route to Cambridge-”
“This is so dumb. Why can’t we just stay in London?” snorts the fourth kid on the compartment.
With bright orange dungarees, rosy cheeks, and a wet lip, I’m surprised I hadn’t noticed him yet. Despite his plump shape, he seems much shorter than Charlotte, who was sitting beside him.
“Because, Peb, Hitler is bombing the entire country and we have to go somewhere safe,” says Charlotte with an annoyed undertone.
“Oh yeah, yeah, yeah right,” replies Peb.
Despite grinning, Peb is met with solemn stares right back at him. He mumbles something under his breath that no one can hear and returns to twiddling his thumbs.
After a few moments of silence, James speaks.
“Hey! Look, I drew an RAF model of a Spitfire. Father says it’s the best in the fleet and he’s been building planes for years. He says the Germans wanted him to build planes for them-”
“Bet he’s not as good as my dad,” Peb interrupts James yet again and receives the same reaction as before.
James ignores Peb’s interruption and hands Archie the sketch, as they begin a deep conversation about planes.
The sky outside turns darker and darker, and James and Charlotte fall asleep. Peb follows suit, but unlike the other two, snores loudly. This seems to irritate Archie immensely, who all this while had his ear pressed against the window. I crouch down onto the floor.
After what seems like ages, I’m suddenly awoken…
“Bombers!” screams Archie. Loud crashes and terrified screams fills my ears, whilst huge bursts of orange and black flecks flash across my eyes before I’m out cold.
“Are you okay?” a voice asks.
The world around me begins to look familiar again.
“Are you okay, dear?” the voice repeats.
I wake up staring at the face of an old lady, who looks concerned. She helps me get up and offers me to sit on a bench. She sits next to me and rests her cane against the bench.
“I hope that wasn’t too frightening. What did you think of my old friends?” she asks pointing at a grave, with the words:
In loving memory of Peb Bradburn, Archie Taylor, and James Walcott, who died along with over 130 other children in the bombing of an evacuee train at Cambridge Station, on the 8th September 1939.
“S-s-scuse me miss, are, are you Charlotte?” I ask nervously.
“Why yes I am! And I see you’ve found my nifty invention – first one ever to use it correctly.” She gives me a wink and a knowing smile.