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Illingworth House: Chance Child - Part One: 88 - Those Who Have Bought It

..."It doesn't do to think about those who've bought it. You just get on with the flying and doing your job. Above all, trying to stay alive. Later, perhaps, there'll be time to think about it when this show is done, but not now.''...

John Illingworth has turned into an ice-cold fighter pilot.

John Waddington-Feather continues his gripping novel which revolves around the fortunes and misfortunes of a Yorkshire mill-owning family. To read earlier chapters please click on http://www.openwriting.com/archives/illingworth_house/

Before he left, he shook hands with each of them, then handed them over to the sergeant to take them to their quarters. As he quit the room, he asked Sydney to come back briefly with him before he turned in.

Once in his room, he tossed his flying helmet and jacket into a chair, offering Sydney the other chair before kicking off his thick, wool-lined boots and sitting on the bed. He was exhausted, aching for sleep, but tried to infuse some enthusiasm into his conversation, asking after Sydney's wife and family. Sydney pulled out a photograph of his son.

John looked at it before handing it back with, "He takes after you, except he's more good-looking." There was the photograph of Helen by his bedside and one of their son alongside it. He nodded at it, remarking, "They'll be much of an age. I wonder if they'll ever meet up? I'd like my son to meet yours one day, Sydney. Remember that."

"Do you see him much?" asked Sydney.

"Every time I go home, but not for long though. It's all to be done secretly through Helen's sister. You know how things are. One day, I hope they'll all change, one day when this bloody war is over."

He tried unsuccessfully to stifle a yawn and Sydney took the hint. He stood up and said he had better be going for the sergeant would be waiting to show him his quarters. Before he left, he said how sorry he was to hear about the missing pilots. It sounded trite but he sensed John was hiding deep feelings beneath his casual exterior.

As he pulled off his jumper, John said in a low voice, "It doesn't do to think about those who've bought it. You just get on with the flying and doing your job. Above all, trying to stay alive. Later, perhaps, there'll be time to think about it when this show is done, but not now. That's how it goes, Sydney. You get used to it."

Sydney nodded and left. This was a very different John Illingworth from when they had met last. A cold, ice-minded man. As soon as he had gone, John showered then flung himself into bed, wishing to God that Sydney had been drafted into any other unit but his. If anything happened to him.. .but he stopped his mind running along those lines and fell into an exhausted sleep.

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