The Lie

Posted: January 11, 2017 in Friday Fictioneers

photo by C.E. Ayr

“But, Mama, why must I take the train ‘lone?”
“Because, my darling, every five-year-old should have a grand adventure.”
“But, Mama . . . .”
“No more ‘buts’, Peter, you’ll get on the train as planned. I’ll come for you in a week’s time.”
Betty watched her boy, in tattered jeans and broken shoes, maneuver up the step, his beautiful round face stained with tears. Oh, he was so small.
“Go on now!” Her heart cracked; shattered. “Buck up!”
When only silence and her lie remained, Betty turned for home knowing the next orphan train would take two more of her children.



  1. Lynn Love says:

    Oh, my word, Alicia, this packs a punch. Awful, awful – unimaginable, to have to send your child away like that. Reminds me of my late father in laws memories of the war. Sent away to the countryside during the Coventry Blitz, sometimes it wasn’t the children who felt the worst of it (some really did think it was an adventure) but the parents were left devastated.
    Wonderfully written.,

    Liked by 1 person

  2. neilmacdon says:

    Oh god! That is truly dreadful! The story I mean, not the writing, which is wonderful

    Liked by 1 person

  3. James says:

    That was seriously depressing. I remember when my wife and I let our three children take a plane flight alone. They were pre-teen/young teen age and my wife (who’s tends not to cry) cried as their aircraft taxied down the runway.

    They arrived and returned safely, but the idea of abandoning a small child makes my blood run cold, which I guess means your story worked.


  4. k rawson says:

    Oh no, how wrenching. Wonderfully told.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Iain Kelly says:

    A heavy dark topic, expertly written.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Rea Ann Loomis says:

    Thanks for sending your new post! Another great one! Did you ever read the young adult book…Orphan Train Rider? It’s a picture biography…published a few years ago…I had it at school for the students.Love you


  7. Well told and poignant tale.
    Have you read the book, No time to Wave Goodbye, by Ben Wicks. He compiled many evacuees’ stories, including his own, as well as the memories of the parents who had to put their children on the trains in the “at risk” cities in England and the country families who took them in. NOT all roses!


  8. Graham Lawrence says:

    Oh la la! I wasn’t quite prepared for that.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Dear Alicia,

    As a mother I imagined any one of my sons’ faces on that five year old. Your story makes my heart hurt. Good job.



    Liked by 1 person

  10. plaridel says:

    a well-written sad story. made me feel sorry for the mother and the kids.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Sandra says:

    Heartbreaking stuff, Alicia. Truly moving.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Laurie Bell says:

    Oh my gosh… this got my right there… so tragic and terrible. That poor child.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. michael1148humphris says:

    I also saw a child being evacuated to safety during WW2, then the killer last line came. Well done.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. My heart actually ached reading this and I’ve read it 5 times! One of your best Alicia.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. gahlearner says:

    For once I saw it coming, but only because I read something about the orphan train a while ago. Very sad, but beautifully written.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. draliman says:

    Oh gosh, that’s really heart-wrenching. I could feel her emotion as she said goodbye.

    Liked by 1 person

  17. swarmsandbee says:

    Thank-you Alicia, that was a tough read. So much emotion in so few words.

    Liked by 1 person

  18. Michael Wynn says:

    That’s a very heart wrenching story, brilliantly told as usual

    Liked by 1 person

  19. I was walking in that mother’s shoes. Well done.

    Liked by 1 person

  20. Unimaginable heartbreak for those poor parents who had to make this choice. Very well captured, Alicia

    Liked by 1 person

  21. mjlstories says:

    Heartbreaking! Not much more to say, except you could really take this story places. Beautifully written.

    Liked by 1 person

  22. I had heard the term “Orphan Train” before without ever knowing what it was. Now I am heartbroken. Beautiful story Alicia.

    Liked by 1 person

  23. So sad.
    Poor mother and child.
    Very well written.

    Liked by 1 person

  24. I had never heard of an orphan train, but I did get the grim purpose… auction to the lowest bidder is what happened here with orphans.

    Liked by 1 person

  25. Oh my. That is heart-breaking. So well told. A brilliant write. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  26. Dale says:

    My heart breaks for both mother and child. I cannot imagine being in such a situation as to have to let a child go and hope all turns out well; I cannot imagine being such a young child being set out alone to the unknown. You do have a knack for ripping our hearts out! 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  27. I was so stunned and shaken when I first learned about the “orphan trains.” You’ve really nailed that sense of hopeless shock, Lish. Powerful!

    Liked by 1 person

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