massacre at camber sands

He looked at the debris scattered over the beach. Cans, bottles, discarded and sprayed with red.

He'd found himself eye to eye with this lithe, brown-haired thing. She beckoned with her hips and swung away from him. He had followed, hypnotised, out of the heaving crowd.

He was cold. The clean dawn light spilled shadows under every turned head, ripped shirt, wrenched arm. An upturned box of beer cans glinted despite the cloud cover. The spectacle refused to register, his brain wouldn't to respond. He was still high, nerves scraping, eyes wide. He willed himself to react but couldn't drag from his mind the deafening euphoria.

He collided with her when she stopped just before the treeline. Pressed against him, swaying to the still audible music, his mind almost painfully focused on her body against his. She whispered sticky words to him and pulled him to the ground with her.

He'd heard screams. Unfamiliar, out of place. Sharp crashes followed by a thud, then terrifying silence.

She was standing before he was, both suddenly animal, wordless, instinctual. She sprang away, searching the sand-covered faces, back towards the town.

Who had she lost? There was a nugget of civilisation in him that wanted to smoke a joint, have a night's sleep and retreat. He dismissed this as impractical. Curiosity was a more immediate concern.


Suspect number one: apparently sweet-natured, talkative. Buck-toothed and almost too innocent-looking for a woman of thirty years.
Suspect number two: soft-spoken, prone to outbursts without warning. history of family violence. Not many close friends.
Suspect number three: twitchy, small, sharp-eyed. Always looking over his shoulder...

She paused, and looked over her shoulder. The bustle continued. As long as her screen was filled with periodically expanding text, nothing was amiss. In reality, she hadn't worked for the best part of this month. She wasn't needed and took advantage of the chaos around her. An island of order and cleanliness in a dust storm. On really quiet days she would take her book and read in the little-used top floor lavatories.

The snapper turtle lurched from his glass-walled office, gurning and screeching. Legs jointed awkwardly to stiff hips and numb feet. Adjacent, the frog sits, sqaulid, dripping stagnant water onto the carpet and upholstery. His throat billows as he calls across the room.

Intent on the screen, glasses slipping down her nose. An escaped lock of hair dances in the breeze from an electric fan. She is motionless in a deserted room, quiet but for the tapping of fingertips against plastic.

Suspect number three is sleepless. He has attributed this to mythical 'nerves'. Pressing his face into the pillow, he breathes erratically and tries to stop thinking.