“You have to be brave,” his mum said as they stood on the platform in the train station. There were other children, other parents all around them. The platform was packed with them. Some, he recognised from school, most not. Arthur didn’t look at his mother. If he didn’t look at her, the conversation couldn’t finish. If the conversation didn’t finish, she couldn’t put him on the train. If he didn’t get put on the train, he wouldn’t get sent away like all these other children.
But his mum gently took hold of Arthur’s chin and turned his face toward hers. And she smiled at him.
“Be brave, okay?” she said. “For me.”
And Arthur nodded.
And then the conversation did finish. And he did get put on the train. And he did get sent away with all the other children. And even though he knew it was making him safe from the bombs, Arthur had never felt so alone. Or afraid.
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