The Inky Writer


She / Her
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Elizabeth Martins Excerpt

November 15, 2020

Elizabeth Martins smiled a sad smile at her mother. Her bottom lip quivered as she held in her cries. Elizabeth was wearing her mother’s thick woolly cardigan, a knee length skirt and a grey wool bucket hat. A white label hung limply off a brown string from around her neck, as if she was a parcel. Her younger brother Thomas was terrified and crying and Elizabeth was unable to comfort him. Thomas was clutching his teddy bear and blanket, one in each hand. The youngest, their little sister Mary Rose, was excited to go to their new home. 
    Elizabeth was worried about going to the whitewashed cottage with red roses surrounding the front door, or at least this was how the house had been described to her. She felt that she should be responsible for her younger siblings as she was ten years of age but really she was scared as well as very upset to be leaving her mum. Elizabeth was unaware of how long they would be staying in their temporary home but she knew they would be gone a while. 
    Part of her however, felt relieved to be leaving London as the memory of bombs being dropped from planes, all day and night was only too recent. Since the three-storey Victorian townhouse, where her family once lived,  had been bombed she and her family, excluding her paps, had been living in the local smelly and dark underground station.    
     Often Elizabeth would wake up to the noise of shelling and people whimpering. People were constantly getting sick, crying and sometimes even dying. She knew her family were extremely lucky to have survived the bombing but often Elizabeth found herself wishing she had died instead of having to live with the constant fear. What she had seen in London was enough to frighten her for the rest of her life. 
    The chatter of people seemed to grow louder. Students were arriving at the station. People were preparing for the train to leave, very soon. Men in green uniforms like the one her paps wore, stumbled and wheeled their way through the station.
    Elizabeth wanted to sprint back to the mat they set up in the metro station and stay with her mother even though she had the opportunity of peaceful sleep and a safe home. She did not run home however, as she promised her mum she would take care of Thomas and Mary Rose.
 Elizabeth had been told she would be staying near Brent in Devon but honestly she still felt concerned as to whether she was actually going to a safer place where they were kind to her or an awful orphanage like those she read about in stories. She was also worried that her brother and sister would forget their parents before they returned to London. 
  “Bugger off”, a stern, balding man groaned at the family, who stood in front of him, though he could move in any other direction to pass them.
People were beginning to board the train. Elizabeth stood on her tiptoes and squeezed her mum in a tight hug, breathing in her natural odours and trademark flowery perfume. Elizabeth hoped she would have the opportunity to rest her head on her mum’s shoulder again, sometime in the near future. 
As she waved her handkerchief out of the window, tears streaming down her face she wondered how long they would be away without seeing their mother and father as well as whether or not the foster parents would treat them well. Yet, somehow she managed to steer her mind to thinking of all the happy memories they would make in Devon. 
Elizabeth and her siblings arrived at their new seaside home in Devon before midnight on the seventh of November, nineteen forty. A man in a grey suit and a white shirt and a woman wearing a beautiful blue knee length A-line dress with puffed shoulders and white stockings collected them from the train station. 
    Strangers, Elizabeth thought to herself. During the war, priorities changed but now she wondered of the danger children were placed in by being sent away to families they knew nothing about.
    They had been on the train for six hours, according to the pocket watch her paps had gifted Elizabeth for her tenth birthday before he left. He gave it to her “saying, ‘my big girl should have a watch”. Elizabeth had no idea he would be going to the war and even less of an idea why he was giving her his prized possession. 
    Elizabeth remembered being extremely confused the day he said goodbye to the family and walked out the door in a striking green uniform. She was clueless as to why he was wearing a uniform. He wore a shirt, rounded cap and trousers, all coloured green. He never wore a uniform for work so she wondered why he was suddenly wearing one.
    After his departure, Elizabeth’s mother spent most of the following days in her bedroom. One late afternoon, Elizabeth went upstairs to find out if she was okay. Her mother told her she was but Elizabeth could sense she was not telling the truth. 
     “Then why are ye cryin'?” Elizabeth queried. “It has somethin' to do with father, doesn’t it?” 
Her mother then told Elizabeth about her father going to fight in the war. Elizabeth was told not to tell the others but she stated that would be unfair. 
    “They should know mother!” she had protested. 
That evening, Elizabeth’s mother asked the children to sit down and told them of their father going to fight for England. Elizabeth’s younger siblings did not understand though they claimed otherwise.
    “At least they know,” Elizabeth now thought to herself.
This is the first chapter of a book I am currently writing. Hope you like it :)

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  • Emi (Revival Year #NEWYEAR)

    I love it! The setting is one of my favorite time periods to write about in history! I would love to read more!

    13 days ago
  • wavewriter

    Oh my gosh... I love this! Historical fiction is the best and this excerpt leaves me wanting to read more. Keep writing! <3

    about 1 month ago
  • Stone of Jade

    OH I LOVE THIS TOO!! im realizing more and more i love historical fiction! this whole piece was really set the scene!

    about 1 month ago
  • Elizabeth Lewis

    Hello! I love this piece so much! You are so talented and it was such a delight to read this!!! Can't wait for more! I also loved how you chose to write historical fiction! I love it so much! Praying for you! God loves you!!!

    about 2 months ago