Jim felt at the stitches in his forehead. He hadn’t slept for three days straight. It had been a crazy few days in Belgium with the lads. Now he just wanted to get them all home.
But he stalled their stolen butcher’s van just at the wrong time. Framed within the yellow hash marks, they had attracted the attention of a uniformed figure who gestured for them to pull off the road.
Jim ignored him, fired up the engine and sped off towards a quiet area near the sand dunes. He knew to leave nothing behind. Within minutes, they were on foot and their transport was a blazing wreck.
They walked quickly to the docks, sweating from the heat and the stress. It was organised chaos at the quayside. They joined the long queue as it shuffled forward towards the waiting boats.
“I hope you’ve pre-booked, Jim”, came a voice from behind, “I only travel First-Class!” Then they were all joining in, to ease the tension.
“When’s the bar open?”
“Tell them to be careful with my golf clubs!”
“I do hope we’re home in time for tea!”
“You should have organised this better, Jim!”
After three hours, they gratefully climbed aboard the ferry and were looking to grab a few hours sleep. In time, the harbour and coastline slowly disappeared from view.
Suddenly, the ship pulled hard to starboard, knocking many off their feet.
“Stuka!” The bomb was a near miss, sending a plume of seawater over Jim and his comrades. A few raised their rifles and fired in defiance at the retreating dive-bomber.
They had survived this time. But there were over seventy miles of English Channel between Dunkirk and Dover. And in May 1940, this was the most dangerous stretch of water in the world. Sleep would have to wait.
‘Lest we forget’.
This story is inspired by the photo supplied by Al Forbes of Sunday Photo Fiction, 13th November 2016. For more details click the logo.
To view other stories written for this challenge, please click here.