Eventually, curled up in his blanket, his tiredness overcame the cold, and he woke up again to hear a hammering at the front door. 'Mummy will get it', he though sleepily, and tried to drop off again. The knocking came again, louder this time. Wondering why mummy still wasn't getting up. Jonny wondered why mummy didn't wake up, then decided that it might be daddy's friends, and maybe he was with them. He grabbed his blanket around him again, crawled out of bed and wandered through to the dining room.
Just as he got there the banging started again. Through the open door of mummy’s room he could see that she was still asleep. The banging stopped, and somebody outside shouted, then there was a crash as something hit the door with force. It did not occur to Jonny to feel afraid, after all, he thought, why would anyone want to hurt him? To him, this was just a novel way of opening the door. A second crash made the door shake and the hinges creak, and outside Jonny heard someone shout “One more’ll do it.” A third crash and the door caved in with a shower of splintered wood and plaster dust. Through the cloud three men in camouflaged clothing appeared, guns raised, unsure of what to expect. Jonny instantly recognised one of them. “Uncle Gray!” he shouted, and ran towards a tall man who was slowly chewing an unlit cigar.
“Jonny!” he cried, lowering his gun, the relief in his voice unmistakable. He caught Jonny as he ran towards him and hugged him close.
“Where is daddy?” he asked when he had returned the boy to the ground, “Where did he go?”
“He didn’t say.” Jonny replied, suddenly recalling this fact. “And the men didn’t tell me either.”
“The men?”, suddenly there was panic in Gray’s voice again, “Who were they? What did they look like?” Jonny frowned in an effort to remember. He was tired and hungry, and his memory didn’t seem to be functioning properly,
“They were dressed like you,” he said slowly, “Only they shouted at daddy and daddy wasn’t happy to see them.” Gray muttered ‘sh*t’ under his breath and nodded to one of the men who were with him,
“They’ve got Stephen,” he whispered quietly. The man’s face darkened.
“No,” he breathed, then, “oh crap.”
“My thoughts exactly.” replied Gray. He looked up to the open door of the parent’s room, and then back down at Jonny’s smiling face. “How’s mummy?” he asked kneeling down beside him. “Is she ok?” Jonny looked towards the door,
“She’s asleep.” he replied, “She was screaming for a long time and hit me when I tried to come close, but then she went to sleep again.” The other man looked up at this and uttered an expletive. Jonny looked at him sternly, “You shouldn’t be using language like that!” he exclaimed. “If mummy hears you she’ll be very angry!” The man stared at him for a second then began to say, “But your mum’s d-” but was cut by a look from Gray and mumbled, “Sorry sir.”
“Mummy’s what?” asked Jonny, suddenly curious. Gray sighed.
“Mummy’s fine,” he said, ”but we’ll need to take you out of here, it won’t be long before those men come back, and you can’t be here when they do.”
“Why not?” asked Jonny,
“Because,” Gray started, “those men don’t like us very much, and they might want to hurt you.”
“Because you know u-”
”No, silly. Why don’t they like you?” Gray looked stunned for a second, never having been called ‘silly’ by a four-year-old before, but then replied,
“Because we don’t want to do what they tell us to do, because we think that what they want is wrong, because-” He saw the look of puzzlement on Jonny’s face and he knelt down beside him.“It’s all very complicated I’m afraid, but they have decided to fight against us, and so we are fighting back. Your daddy was helping us, and so we think it might not be safe for you here. Why don’t you come with us?” Jonny thought for a second, but then said,
“But I have to look after mummy.” Gray stood up and whispered into the first man’s ear again, then looked back at Jonny again,
“My friend here is going to look after mummy for us. He knows daddy, so he’ll know what to do. Well, will you come now?” Jonny’s brow wrinkled again,
“Will there be food?” he asked. Just then one of the men outside shouted in,
“Sir, there’s a group of soldiers coming up the hill!” Gray nodded in acknowledgement and turned to Jonny,
“Yes there will, and a fire, and a bed for you as well, but we have to go now.” Jonny nodded and Gray picked him up and hoisted him onto his shoulder. He ran through the hall, stopping briefly to let Jonny pick his coat off the hook and put it on before he ran outside into the snow.