The city was a mess, a flaming heap of dust and rubble. The worst strike to hit England they say, and the Mounter’s house was a picture of destruction. They had hit some of the planes; the bullets had pierced their wings and their fuel tanks. One Mecsherscmitt was lying maimed close to the old train station. Charlotte made her way towards it and saw the pilot within bloody and bruised. But she did not feel pity or sorrow for the man. His clothing was torn, and from his uniform a bright glint flickered in her eyes.
She leant forward. Reaching through the shattered glass and right up to the dead man. She grabbed at the glint and it ripped away from his clothing. She held it up, into the flame red and orange light and examined it. A clear white broach shone back at her. Beautifully polished and with no scratches or notches despite the obvious surrounding demolition. Charlotte pocketed the broach and stumbled away still crying back to the shreds of her home. She did not tell her Mother or Brothers about her find.
She did not get caught as a spy fifteen years later when the microscopic letter was hidden on the back of the broach. She did not get killed when another seven years later a German bullet with her name on it hit the broach and bounced away merely bruising her. It had stayed with her all her life, and now waiting for her husband to arrive, she remembered fondly how she had hidden the broach and guarded it with her life throughout her long years, how she had traded it in and stolen it back a thousand times for extra money, the way it always came back.
She relaxed into her happy memories, and a smile sank in across her wrinkled face. Her equally old and quiet husband returned, limping on his weak hip, and sat down next to her. He asked her why she was smiling, how was the tea, where she had bought the shawl. But she did not hear him. She was away with her happiest thoughts, drifting in her precious past. He shook her hand and checked her pulse, but her heart had stopped beating ten minutes ago.