The Evacuee, by Vicky Ireland

MRS BRIGGS: Let’s see your label. (READING)  Mary O’Brien. Hmm, well I’m Mrs Briggs. Take my hand please. What are you holding? Let me see.. Why it’s a shell? Please throw it away.

MARY:

No, it’s mine..

MRS BRIGGS:

But it’s dirty. Oh alright keep it if it’s that important.  THEY WALK. No wonder you were the last one left. You’re very small and thin.

MARY: WHISPERS

I want to go home, please Missus.

MRS BRIGGS:

Well you can’t. You’re an evacuee and we have to find you a new home here in the village where it’s safe. You must forget your old home for a while. No tears now. You’re to stay with me tonight until we find you somewhere permanent, alright?

THEY STOP.

MRS BRIGGS:

Here we are. (ENTER HOUSE) Wipe your feet on the mat and do come in. Look there’s Tiger, he’s my cat. (SFX CAT PURRING) Oh, he likes you.

MARY:

Do you live on your own, Missus?

MRS BRIGGS:

Yes. I do now. My husband died some time ago, and – (SFX AIR-RAID SIREN) Oh no!!

MARY:

Agh, what’s that?  I’m frightened.

MRS BRIGGS:

It’s the air-raid siren. Put your gas mask on, quickly. (THEY BOTH DO) There we are.

MARY, MUFFLED:

I can’t breathe

MRS BRIGGS:

We need to go outside to the shelter. (MARY GETS UNDER TABLE) Where are you going? (TAKES OFF MASK) Please come out from under the table.. (MARY RUNS AGAIN.) Where’re you going now? Stop panicking Mary – Look, you’ve dropped all your rations, – there’s currants all over the floor. (SFX SIREN RUNS DOWN) Oh, it’s stopping. Thank goodness, must have been a false alarm. Please come out and I’ll make some cocoa. (MARY COMES OUT) That’s a good girl –I was scared too you know but …err! Why are you all wet? Oh dear –

MARY: MUFFLED

Sorry Missus. I couldn’t help it.

MRS BRIGGS:

Don’t worry. Take off your gas mask and your wet things and I’ll run a bath. Oh, you’re trembling, poor little mite. Come here and have a cuddle.

MARY: WHISPERS

I want my mammy.

MRS BRIGGS:

I know darling.

MARY:

Please don’t give me away?

MRS BRIGGS:

I won’t. I’m sorry. You can stay here with me and Tiger for as long as you want and we’ll keep each other safe. I have a little girl too you know, called Helen, but she’s all grown up now and helping the airmen at the RAF station.  I’m so worried about her, but……… Goodness, you’re still holding that shell.

MARY:

Yes. Mammy has one too and maybe she’s holding hers and thinking of me like I’m thinking of her?

MRS BRIGGS:

I’m sure she is.

MARY:

I will see her again won’t I Missus? Like you’ll see your Helen again?

MRS BRIGGS:

Yes Mary, I’m sure you will. Let’s make a wish on your shell. THEY DO SO. Now cuddle up.

MARY:

But  –

MRS BRIGGS:

Don’t worry. What’s a bit of wee between friends?

THE END


Vicky Ireland MBE FRSA
Vicky is a children’s writer for theatre, TV and radio; a theatre director, and  published dramatist and author. She is an Honorary Member of ASSITEJ.

www.vickyireland.com