Caught in Time–2

by Aditya Sengupta

The story so far: Eleven year-old Ajay starts off for school but boards a bus that takes him to a strange place and time where a Luftwaffe airplane drops a bomb a few miles away. A second Luftwaffe is directly overhead and the pilot pushes the bomb release button …

Chapter 2: Surviving in a Strange Time

Ajay knew he might have only seconds to live—before he died in a strange, unknown place. He had always imagined … well, he hadn’t really imagined anything about his own death, apart from a wish to know where he would be when he died. He ran for the nearest cover, which was a small cottage by a river. He realized that there was only one thing that he could do to save his life.

He took a deep breath and jumped into the river.

The water was not particularly cold. Ajay felt the power of the bomb a few seconds later and realized that he was lucky to be alive. He forced himself to stay underwater for as long as he could, in case another Luftwaffe arrived. His head broke the surface after at least fifty seconds underwater. Gasping, he made his way to the ruined cottage. It had clearly been destroyed in the bomb blast.

An old lady lay on the floor, dead. Trying not to look at the body, Ajay searched the ruined cottage. He found a map and some bread. He found a bag to carry the bread in—he had a feeling he was going to need it.

He came out of the cottage and consulted the map. There was a large red dot marked on it, which Ajay took to be his present location. A good part of his extended family lived in Paris, and having spent most of his holidays with his cousins there, Ajay knew a little French. He immediately recognized the Seine, the river that flowed through Paris. He had almost fallen into it once when he was younger. Now, that same river had saved his life.

He was apparently in a rural area in central France. The nearest village was not for fifty miles and judging by the position of the sun, it was mid-afternoon. Ajay started walking away from the ruined cottage.


Ajay walked for the rest of the day and the whole of the night. He ate all of the bread that he had taken from the cottage. In the small hours of the morning he reached an Air Force base. He had no choice but to ask for shelter there. However, nobody could understand what he was saying, in English, French or in any of the other languages he knew. He recognized the sounds of German, although he couldn’t understand what was being said.

The conversation between the two senior-most officers at the camp, Oberstleutnant (Group Captain) Eberhardt and Major (Wing Commander) Bauer:

Bauer: “We lost Dresdner in the last attack on Paris, and they haven’t sent anyone else.”

Eberhardt (musingly): “I wonder if this boy knows how to fly a plane?”

Bauer: “He’s just a child, Oberstleutnant! He can’t be much more than ten years old.”

Eberhardt: “Still, we can teach him how to fly in a week. We need to man that Luftwaffe and, as you say, they haven’t sent anyone else.”

Bauer: “It’s impossible to teach him so quickly!”

At this point, Eberhardt asked Ajay whether he would be willing to fly a plane.

Ajay, who did not know any German, and thought that Eberhardt was asking him whether he wanted shelter, nodded eagerly.

Eberhardt clapped his hands. “Excellent! Operation Kadella begins in two weeks. He can be ready for that”.

Well, Eberhardt was clearly mad—sending a child in a Luftwaffe Messerschmitt with only two weeks of training sounded like insanity to Bauer, but unfortunately, Eberhardt was his senior, so he had to be obeyed.


Two weeks later

Ajay was nervous. He had been at the German base for two weeks. He had soon figured out that he had, unwittingly, said that he was willing to become a pilot. Well, flying a plane had certainly been on the list of things that Ajay had aspired to do, but not in a war zone!

He received the order to take off in German. He had managed to pick up some phrases while he was being taught to fly.

He took off as he had been instructed, and soon his plane was high up in the sky.

To be continued …

Aditya Sengupta is 11 years old. He is a student of Class VII in New Delhi, India. He enjoys reading, music and watching cricket.

4 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Upasana Pahwa
    May 23, 2011 @ 18:11:21

    you are doing a brilliant job Aditya … am looking forward to the next chapter!


  2. Meghna Goel
    May 24, 2011 @ 10:37:07

    Your story is really great!


  3. Akshdeep
    May 29, 2011 @ 18:17:29

    Rather exciting story. His story is keeping its job well. “I CANNOT WAIT FOR NEXT CHAPTER!!!”


  4. kanupriya
    May 30, 2011 @ 11:24:49

    your work is great……….keep it up….


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