Year 6 set text
The Gas Mask
Billy had always been a curious boy. One sunny afternoon, he strolled up a steep hill on the outskirts of the town, to play hide and seek with his friends. When it came to his turn to hide, he ran uphill, downhill and from side-to-side until he suddenly stopped…
In front of him, he noticed an unusual wooden door, cut right into the side of the hill. The metal handle was shaped like a flower, on closer inspection, just like a Poppy. Gently, he turned it and the door creaked open.
He hurried inside and behind the door he found a dark, dark tunnel. Stepping through, he discovered a different world.
An elaborate maze of bunkers, caves and tunnels spread in front of him like a spider’s web. With some trepidation, he meandered his way through the dust and dirt, until finally he came to a clearing. Wounded and dead bodies lay thickly over the wintry ground. Garish scarlet liquid trickled over the frosted white snow, which was now beginning to melt in the unrelenting sun. The noise of war could be heard echoing from all around: gunfire, explosions, shouting orders, whistles and the cries of wounded men.
On feeling a bullet whistle by his ear, Billy cowered behind an old artillery truck - not knowing whether to run, scream for help or remain silent. Then, to his amazement, he heard a voice.
“What you doing here, boy?”
Billy stared inside the truck and there he saw a man. A frightened man. A soldier, hiding from the horror, wearing an alien-like Gas mask.
“I don’t know!” said Billy, trembling in fear. “Where am I? What is going on?”
The soldier said incredulously, “This is Dunkirk, boy; you are at The Battle of Dunkirk. We have been fighting for weeks. You must go home - get back to safety.”
Billy nodded in agreement.
“I was playing hide and seek in the hills when I saw a wooden door. I came through it and have ended up here.
I don’t understand,” he stammered.
“You need to find your way back, quickly, before you’re killed! I have no chance of escaping but you do. Here, take my gas mask and run! Whatever you do, don’t stop until you find that door,” said the soldier frantically.
Shocked, Billy took the Gas mask and placed it over his face. Running from the terror, the explosions, bangs and whistles began to get fainter and fainter. Through the bunkers he ran, back through the maze of tunnels, faster and faster until he spotted the same dirty, dusty tracks he had stumbled upon earlier.
Removing the gas mask from his face, Billy finally spotted the small, wooden door in the hill. He sped through it, shouting for his friends, but they didn’t answer. They were nowhere to be seen.
Eventually, Billy set off for home,
“Where on earth have you been?” his mother said crossly as he entered the porch.
“Only playing up the hill,” answered Billy meekly, still holding the gas mask.
Weeks later, Billy returned to the hill and two strange things happened: the gas mask disappeared straight out of his hands, and the door vanished in front of his eyes.
To his disappointment, Billy never found the door again; all that remained was a row of Poppies - they grew at the same time, in the same place every year. A stark reminder of his unexpected adventure!