“These will make you feel better,” Charlie said handing me some paracetamol and a bottle of water, “I told you never to get involved in fights and now you see why...”
“You sound like my mum!” I told him,
“He's only trying to help,” Stewart smiled,
“Hindsight is a wonderful thing,” I muttered, the two guys smirked at each other. “What are we going to do now?” I asked, “Go back to the beach or go home?”
“The car's parked by the beach anyway, I doubt the party is still going on after the fight. I bet everyone's gone home.” We headed back down the steps towards the beach, suddenly Charlie stopped, I glanced at him and then followed the direction of his vision. A bright orange light lit up the horizon, pillars of grey smoke wafted up into the atmosphere. All we could do was watch helplessly as the fire licked up the dunes and the pier – what had happened? How had the pier caught alight? It was no way near the bonfire! My heart raced in my chest and I could hear the thudding in my ears. People were running past us shouting to each other and cursing. Charlie, Stewart and I just stood there watching, before Stewart said, “We have to do something!”
“What can we do?” I asked, “It's too big for three people to tackle, we need a fire engine!” The beach was practically empty now and I began to get a bad feeling, should we run and be let off or stay and get caught red-handed? “Guys everyone else has gone, shouldn't we go too?” I asked,
“Jade's right, let's go, we look pretty guilty...” Charlie muttered, we turned towards the car park and then stopped as two police cars pulled into the entrance. “Crap!” Charlie whispered,
“I don't know if they saw us, run!” Stewart hissed. We all turned and headed east, away from the car park and away from the fire. Charlie and Stewart were naturally fast runners, even when I was fit I had trouble keeping up with them but as I attempted to sprint with fresh wounds in my leg and back I was forced to hobble. Two hands grabbed my shoulders and ground me to a halt, two more policemen dashed passed after Charlie and Stewart - one had an Alsation.
“I'm arresting you on suspicion of arson,” the policeman said as my wrists were cuffed together, “anything you say will be used as evidence against you in court.” I kept quiet as he led me to the car, pushed my head through the door and slammed it. As we waited for the policemen to bring Charlie and Stewart I noticed someone watching me from a bush. He was the guy I'd run into this morning, I remembered the tattoos. Our eyes met and he raised his eyebrows and did a gesture which I didn't understand. Then he turned and disappeared into the blackness of the night. The policeman got into the car and revved the engine, he then turned and drove us off towards the station.
“We take your silence, Miss. Green, as a confirmation of your guilt,” the policewoman told me across the table in the interviewing room. It was the following morning and after spending a night in a cell I wasn't in the best of moods. Charlie, Stew and I had all agreed not to tell on the locals, if we wanted to be accepted this summer by them we had to keep them on side. We'd seen what they were capable of and we also knew we didn't want to anger the beast.
“I'm not even sure what you're arresting me for,” I admitted, she sighed, sat back in her chair and picked up the notes.
“On suspicion of arson,”
“Why would I deliberately burn the pier or the dunes?” I asked,
“You tell me,” she retorted.
“If I told you it was an accident would you believe me?” I said,
“What kind of accident?”
“The kind where we have a beach bonfire, which by the way is legal...”
“I'm a policewoman I know what's legal and illegal thank you very much,” I ignored her comment,
“Went to the local shop to buy some painkillers, came back to find everything alight,”
“That doesn't explain the pier,”
“We can't explain the pier,”
“Because we really don't know how that happened,”
“I see,” she cleared her throat, “were you alone at the beach?”
I swallowed, “No,”
“Who else was there?”
“We're not from around here, I can't tell you any names,”
“It was dark, I couldn't see,”
“If you couldn't see, how do you know they were there?”
“I heard them,”
“Do you think they set the pier alight?”
“It wasn't us, as I said we were buying painkillers,”
“I fell on some glass,”
“I'm small, someone walked into me, I fell...”
“May I see the cuts?” I gingerly held up my shirt, she nodded,
“Yes,” I agreed.
“Okay I've heard all I want to hear from you, Kevin here will take you back to your cell whilst I interview the boys and then we'll come to a decision. A word of advice, it was a mistake to run from the police Miss. Green, only guilty people run.”
"Hindsight is a wonderful thing." I muttered for a second time.