Extract from "The Spy" (draft copy). This is the second children's adventure in the Abbotsbury Series.
In "The Spy",Will travels back in time to stop a German plot to sabotage Operation Upkeep, the Bouncing Bomb development, which began on The Fleet, the natural lagoon next to Chesil Beach in Dorset.
Will woke up with a jump.
What was that droning noise? It sounded like an aircraft engine very close overhead. Funny, he had never seen a jet or even any light aircraft over this part of the coast before, although there were often paragliders near Burton Bradstock. The throbbing, grew to a ground shaking roar, and suddenly, breaking from the cloud to his right, a plane emerged, coming straight at him!
Will flung himself to the ground as the plane came right over his head. It banked sharply and then turned to towards Weymouth. Getting up shakily, Will grabbed his binoculars and focused them on the grey plane as it became smaller. He hadn't been very interested in planes, until last year's DT project at school, where they had designed their own gliders. They had also visited the Air Museum near Yeovil, and he had started to enjoy looking at different planes and their design. Surely it couldn't be a ...?
Incredible! An actual Spitfire, the black and white striping on its body and under the wings were unmistakeable. As he continued to scan the horizon, Will picked up two growing dark spots over Portland. The air was filling with a growling energy that made the hairs on the back of his neck stand up. He whistled for Tilly. When he had fallen asleep she was lying beside him, her impossibly long tongue hanging out covered in mud and grass from her rabbit burrowing exploits. She probably couldn't hear him. He tried to keep his binoculars trained on the new planes which were coming rapidly towards them, following the coast. They were much larger, twin engined planes, dark grey with markings . Now the low roar of the planes was becoming deafening, making the air around him seem to vibrate and hum. Then they veered out to sea and over towards Lyme Bay.
Will wondered if there was an airshow on that he had not heard about, but there was no-one else around, not even any of the walkers he had met earlier, or tourists visiting the chapel. Suddenly the Spitfire was coming up behind him again and made a low pass over his head. So low that Will could make out the pilot. He half waved at the him, but his focus was grimly ahead of him. Will was impressed. He was dressed just as a World War Two pilots would be, in leathers, goggles, the lot!
The other two planes were returning now, flying low, side by side. They also looked like old aircraft,
Will focused his binoculars more closely, and saw the markings on the side of the facing plane clearly - a black and white cross and a swastika on the tail. Will tried to think what sort of planes they were? Perhaps Junkers or Messerschmitts? As they headed down the coast towards Weymouth, Will saw the Spitfire returning at speed, heading towards them. It's nose cone was a gleam of silver as it caught the sunlight. It flew over the two German planes and Will thought he saw a burst of red, but the sun was in his eyes. The Spitfire banked sharply and twisted out to sea and into low cloud. The Junkers also turned abruptly and headed back out to sea. Will lost sight of them all, but then there came the familiar vibrating resonance, growing even louder, until Will felt as if he was vibrating too.
Then he spotted all three of them, coming out of the cloud and heading inland across Chesil beach below him. The German planes were behind the Spitfire and gaining on it. Becoming dangerously close in fact.
"What are they playing at?" thought Will. But even as he asked himself this question, he had a sinking feeling in the pit of his stomach.
"OH MY GOD!" He saw sudden bursts of fire coming from the German planes aimed directly at the Spitfire, and an alarming cracking noise "ak, ak, ak." The Spitfire rolled away quickly and gained height rapidly, then slowed its speed, so that it was actually above the other two, who seemed at a loss to locate it. Now it was the Spitfire's turn to fire, but as it did Will lost sight of them all as they disappeared over the Abbotsbury ridge and towards Dorchester.
It was happening again! He must be dreaming. But why was he seeing this? Why here and this point in time? Will had no more time to think about it. The planes were returning and the noise was so deafening that he had to put his hands over his ears. He started to run back, away from the sea and towards the chapel, but he tripped in a hidden hollow. Flat on his stomach he dared a look upwards. The German planes were so low that he could see the bombs attached to their undercarriages . Will looked around him, desperate for some cover, as the planes began to fire on one another again right above his head. There were a few chips and dents in the landscape, like the depression he had fallen in, but otherwise the ground was completely flat until you reached St Catherine's and made the steep climb down to the village. It was hard to think of a higher, more exposed area locally, thought Will grimly, how was he going to survive this one?
Karen lives and works in Bridport Dorset. She is currently working on her third book in the Abbotsbury Series, books for children aged 8-12.