An hour into the journey, the children were becoming restless and the teachers became pacifiers. Billy had started the journey pointing out to Mary the barrage balloons that they could see in the sky and Kitty Jones smiled ruefully as she realised that some of these children really were oblivious to the reasons why they were going away.
Paper bags had been handed out to each child, containing three biscuits and a miniature bottle of milk. All that remained of Billy's snack were the crumbs down his front and the milk moustache on his top lip, which he seemed intent on leaving there.
'Are we nearly there yet?' He asked.
'Not long now,' answered Mrs Jones as her eyes skimmed fields and reddening autumn trees.
By the time Billy's stomach began to growl with hunger again, the train was beginning to slow and the children eagerly began to look out of the windows at their new destination. Mary had fallen asleep and rested her head in Billy's lap.
'Okay now children,' Mrs Jones called as she walked up and down the carriage. 'Make sure you have all of your suitcases and other belongings. If you have taken your coat off, can you make sure you put it on before we get off the train.'
'Wake up sleepy head,' Billy shook his sister awake.
Mary looked out of the window and saw the interior of the station, 'Are we home again? Where's Mam?' She asked sleepily.
Billy was sure they weren't home but he didn't know where they were. Mrs Jones voice drowned out his reply.
'I want you all to stand in single file like we do at school, and get off the train in an orderly fashion. Do you all understand?'
'Yes, Mrs Jones!' The children chanted.
The train pulled to a stop as the children followed their instructions, putting on their coats and gathering their belongings. Billy didn't know who they were, but a large group of people were waiting for them outside the train. They peered in the windows and chatted to each other.
* * *
Photo courtesy Liverpool Record Office, Liverpool Libraries
'I'll take that taller lad at the back.' A woman casually ordered, surveying the sea of bemused faces in front of her.
'I'll take those twins there,' one man said. 'No, the blonde ones.'
'We'll take this young lad here,' a woman said, looking at Billy.
'William and his sister must be placed together,' he heard Mrs Jones say and she walked over to the middle aged woman and her husband and spoke to them out of Billy's ear shot.
Billy felt lost.
All around him, people were staring, pointing and talking to their teachers or Policemen about them. Some children had already left the station with their new 'foster families', he had heard them called.
'Billy. Mary,' Mrs Jones walked over to them with the couple. 'This is Mr and Mrs Watson.' Mr and Mrs Watson did not say hello.
Mary's hand clenched Billy's.
'You two will be staying with them for a little while.'
Billy clenched her hand back.
'I'll pop round in a couple of days to see how you are settling in. Okay?' Mrs Jones placed her hand on Billy's shoulder. 'Off you go then.'
Billy knew he had to be a big, strong lad and look after Mary as his Mother had told him, so he didn't show that he was scared. Instead he held his head high, held Mary's hand tight and followed the couple out of the station, wondering where they would be taking them.
Fiction - The Terminal Brothel By Christopher Skolik
Gales crashed onto the housing estate. Grey sky like fractured mountains.
In the passenger seat Dennison read through the paper, as Snaith drives. As some story or headline caught Snaith's attention he would ask Dennison to read it in full.
The council estate was a maze of similarity -a dizzying optical illusion where homes, roads, and people all
Fiction - The Artist By The Silver Fox
Pencil in hand, he stands immobile. His eyes are locked onto the pristine expanse before him as though searching for some secret buried within the paper itself; an image that his pencil will simply be highlighting rather than creating. Above and beyond his eye line, the graphite point gleams dully in the harsh light that cascades down onto the easel.
Fiction - Independent By Katherine Horrex Photos by Darren Rogers
The room was pulsing with white noise and euphoria. Giles was positioned behind the sound booth, stupefied by the scene on stage: five Burberry clad men thrashing manically at their instruments, their sixties feather cuts flicking through the damp air.
A final power chord growled through the Marshall stack, reverberating triumphantly and the lead
Fiction - 3 Phones, 300 Words By Joe Hakim
She smiled as she handed him the bottle. He took it from her and poured himself a glass.
'So what do you think?' she asked.
'I'm not that bothered,' he replied.
He was pretty drunk by now and he attempted to think of something to say, but the silence remained stagnant. She took a gulp from her glass,
Fiction - Lessons Learnt By Nick Quantrill
DS Richard Coleman pulled into the lay-by and headed towards the flashing blue lights. An hour later it would have been someone else's problem. But it wasn't. An articulated lorry had been isolated from the other vehicles, cones placed around it, linked together by barrier tape.
A mobile generator providing power to the small floodlights
Fiction - Mr Keith Fortner By The Silver Fox
In assessing the nature and worth of Mr Keith Fortner, it helps to be acquainted with one or two salient facts about his background. This is true of anyone, of course; understanding can rarely come without some awareness of their past experiences and emotional development after all.
Even the vast majority of people who tend to exist in a very limited context - the parameters
Fiction - After The Rain By Joe Hakim
He noticed there was another crushed snail by the doorstep. It was the third one he'd found this week. It was funny because he could never recall standing on the snails, but there they were.
He opened his back door and lit a cigarette. He'd been in this place for a month now, but it still didn't feel like his home, just a place he was staying in for a while.
Fiction - The Suicide Park, Self Surgery And Brutalised By Affection By Christopher Skolik
Dennison followed Snaith from the road, through trees, to a wire fence. Snaith slipped through. Beyond the skeletal
trees, Dennison could see a smoky illumination. Snaith and Dennison walked around as if inspecting a gallery.
It looked like a derelict industrial estate from a distance. Only when he got closer could Dennison hear the sound
of 22 engines humming.
Fiction - Off To See The Wild West Show Part 2 Chapter 4 By Frank Beill
'There, there bai'n. It's o'right now. The bad man's gone away.' Sal walked up and down her bare living room, hugging her sobbing baby.
'Sorry, Sal. I shouldn't have done that.'
'Don't matter, Sammy.' She kissed the child's tearstained cheek. 'He deserves a good hidin'!'
'What was it all about? Sounded as though he was up to no good.'
I put two large lumps of coal
Fiction - Off To See The Wild West Show Part 2 Chapter 3 By Frank Beill
The red brick Board School stretched for nearly half the length of the street. Did Sal still live 'somewhere opposite'? My heart sank seeing all the doors to be knocked on especially after the Westbourne Avenue experience.
Fortunately, shops and other businesses occupied most of the buildings facing the school.
One caught my attention: Henry Tiplady,
Fiction - Smooth Operator By Edward C. Lynskey
Kenny was a thief. Nothing big. He'd only rip off the 'swag' owners wouldn't miss right away: CDs, auto parts, jewelry, tools, handguns from nightstands. Yeah, he was a smooth operator, nickelling and diming 'ditch-digging chumps.' A pawnshop run by his pal (never mind who) did a bang-up business, too.
Why did Kenny steal? Can't say. Could be he swore the world owed him