Jane's eyes flew open as the ear shattering sound of the sirens went off in the night. She instantly jumped out of her bed, pushing her covers off her body as they threatened to tangle her feet. "Peter!" She shouted as she grabbed the torch at her bedside, and flashed it in the face of her younger brother. He was at her side instantly, and Jane grabbed his hand as they flew down the stairs and out the front door.
They ran across the front garden, their bare feet crushing any plants in their path. Their mother exited the house a few seconds after them, and together the three quickly made it down the road, to the community garden. At the front of the garden was an opening into the ground, the door of which had been flung open. "Come on!" An elderly man with a tin hat instructed them, standing by the entrance.
The three of them ran down the stairs into a dank, underground room lined with metal. There were blankets strewn about, along with a small pile of gas masks in the corner. The residents of Canterbury Road were seated in one group in the center of the room (not that there was too much space to begin with), and they instantly welcomed Jane and her family to sit down. There was a muffled explosion in the distance, hardly heard over the sirens. Four more people ran into the shelter, before the elderly man with the tin hat closed them in. "We'll be fine," Jane's mother cooed, rubbing her son's shoulder.
Peter nodded, still holding onto Jane's hand firmly. "I don't want to sleep in here tonight." He mumbled, and both his mother and his sister nodded.
Beside them were the late comers, the Yules, who lived in the house next to them. Mrs. Rutherford wasn't the strongest woman, neither mentally or physically. She had always been sickly, and it was a miracle she'd managed to give birth to three children. With her husband at war, the task of caring for her had fallen on her eldest son, Daniel. He sat beside her, with his baby sister cradled in his arms. His younger brother, Sam, slowly crawled over to Peter's side.
They were about the same age, and had been friends ever since they could speak. "Want to play a hand clapping game?" Sam suggested to his terrified friend, forcing a smile in the dim torch light. Peter nodded, and let go of his sister's hand. At that moment Charlotte, the infant Rutherford, began to wail.
Mrs. Appleby, an elderly woman with a sweet disposition, shuffled over to help a distraught Daniel, who clearly had no idea how to calm his screaming sister. His mother seemed to be out of commission, breathing heavily at her eldest son's side. Jane's mother was instantly at her side, holding the frail woman's hand. The other neighbors were tense, but considerate all the same. One of the older women handed Jane's mother a small bucket of water they kept in the shelter, and another provided a blanket.
Charlotte's screams finally subsided, as Mrs. Appleby managed to lull the baby into a trace with a calming lullaby. As a former school teacher and mother of four children, Mrs. Appleby was very apt to deal with crying children. Daniel, clearly was not.
A crash some distance away shook the ground slightly, causing all movement to cease for a split second. Four small hands grabbed onto Jane's arm, as both Sam and Peter glued themselves to Jane's side. She wrapped her arms around the two ten year olds, "We'll be fine." She murmured, though in the back of her mind, doubt raised its ugly head.