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Murder at the Beach

Published on May 2016 | Categories: Types, Creative Writing | Downloads: 18 | Comments: 0

Murder at the Beach



Murder at the Beach

By Clare Whitmell

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© 2015 Clare Whitmell, All rights reserved

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When you wake up on a perfect summer’s morning, you
never imagine that the day will end in a murder. Especially
when you’re only 16 years old, and on holiday with your
Actually, ‘family’ isn’t the right word for us. I don’t have
one of those big, happy families where the kids never argue
and where the parents go out to work or send the kids off
to school with their perfect packed lunches. I don’t
remember my mother at all, though her brother - my Uncle
Ray - tells me I look just like her. Ray has always looked
after me and my brother, Luke. I’ve got a Dad somewhere
as well, but he and my mum split up before I was even
Ray is in his own world a lot of the time, and Luke
pre y much ignores me. He’s almost 18 and acts like he’s
already the most important person on the planet. But for
this holiday, at least, Luke has to look after me. Ray’s told
him that he’s got to keep an eye on me while he’s working
and make sure I don’t get into any trouble. We all know
that I’m a bit out of control. I’ve already had two
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that I’m a bit out of control. I’ve already had two
suspensions from school for bad behaviour.
But when I woke up that Saturday morning, I felt things
could change. I was excited to be at the music festival and
to be at the beach while the rest of my friends were ge ing
bored back home. "It isn’t every day that you get to see
music for free," Ray said when he got the job as sound
engineer for the band. I guess he was just pleased that he
didn’t have to pay for us to go on holiday this year.
The band are old friends of his. They’re called “Lost
Cause” and they’ve known each other since art college.
Ray stayed friends with them even after my Mum died
and he started looking after us. I think Ray wishes he
could be free and easy like them, always on the road,
playing at one festival after another, but he’s got us and has
a boring job in an office.
But this morning, I was in trouble. Everyone hated me
and it was all my stupid fault.

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It started two days ago, on Thursday. We arrived in the
evening, when the sun was just se ing over the sea.
"Haven Beach!" I shouted. "We’re finally here!"
Ray drove up to the reception block and jumped out of
the van to get the chalet keys. Luke said nothing, just
staring out at the sea. I kept quiet. Luke needs time to find
the right words sometimes.
Finally he said, "What Ray said about keeping an eye on
"Yeah?" I answered. I knew what Luke was thinking.
"I don’t want you hanging around me all the time."
It was time for me to make a deal. "It’s simple Luke.
Give me some money and I’ll stay away."
Luke got out his wallet and handed me a note. I put my
finger up for a second one. He sighed and gave me the
money, which I managed to put into my jeans pocket just
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money, which I managed to put into my jeans pocket just
before Ray came back out of reception.
I got out of the van. "Can we just go and have a quick
look, Ray?" I asked.
I loved Haven Beach as soon as I saw it. It was quite
busy in the early evening with some people si ing on the
beach in small groups, and others playing a loud game of
frisbee. We crossed the road separating the reception block
from the beach, walking towards a bar. We gave it a quick
look as we walked past. A few older men were in there,
glasses of beer in front of them, while a couple of guys
Ray’s age were playing on the fruit machines.
We carried on walking along the beach to where some
men were building the stage for the band. It was a great
spot for live music with the sea behind and soft sand for
dancing. The band were playing on Saturday night, with a
DJ set after them. The beach ended just past the stage,
where huge black rocks stood in the sea water. We turned
back towards the road. In front of us, on the opposite side
of the road, was a large building on two floors. It looked
like an old house, but without any glass in the windows or
a front door. A path led up to it from the road.
Two people were in front of the house. A thin girl who
looked a few years older than me and a much older guy,
maybe about Ray’s age. Even though it was still quite
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maybe about Ray’s age. Even though it was still quite
warm, he was wearing a leather jacket and jeans. The girl
looked cold in cut-off shorts and a black, long-sleeved tshirt. She had the whitest legs I ever saw. They were
talking together, the man speaking fast while he stared at
her. She was looking at the ground as if she was unhappy
about what he was saying. The man looked at us as we
passed and put his arm out to stop us.
"Well, well, well," he said, without smiling. "Look who’s
here." He looked at each of us like a cat looks at a mouse.
"What are you doing here, Jake?" Ray asked. "I heard
you got five years."
Five years? So this man Jake had been in prison for five
years. I’d never met a criminal before. But he seemed
ordinary-looking. He was like one of those men who’s
good-looking when they’re young, but then stops taking
care of themselves. He was a big guy, but he was going a
bit fat around the stomach. His hair was dirty, and he had
a beard - like the one Ray has if he doesn’t shave for a
couple of days.
"They let me out early for good behaviour, didn’t they!”
he said with a smile on his face. "This your daughter Ray?
Very grown up now, isn’t she. Last time I saw her she was
just a child."
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I didn’t like the way he was talking. He was looking me
up and down like he was in a shop trying to decide if he
was going to buy something.
"No, not my daughter. Don’t even look at her Jake. I’m
warning you."
"Or what Ray? What are you gonna do?"
The thin girl stepped forward.
"For god’s sake Jake. Leave her alone. She’s just a girl,
can’t you see?"
Jake laughed and smiled - a thin smile that didn’t reach
his eyes.
"Just joking… Hey, let’s get together soon. We’ve got a
lot of catching up to do. Come round anytime."
Ray nodded and the man let us walk past.
When we got to the campsite between the old house and
the reception block, Ray put his hand on my arm.
"Kate," he said. "Don’t go into that house, OK?"
Ray’s normally a pre y tolerant guy and gives me a lot
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Ray’s normally a pre y tolerant guy and gives me a lot
of freedom, so when he’s strict about something I try to
take notice.
Luke was curious. "What’s up Ray? What’s the
"I just don’t want either of you going in there. You can’t
trust Jake."
We walked back to the van in silence and he drove it
through the campsite to our chalet where we unpacked all
his sound equipment. There was a lot of it and it took up
most of the lounge area of the chalet. I was exhausted after
our long day, but excited about the rest of our weekend.

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It’s impossible to sleep for very long when you’re in the
middle of a festival. I could hear people in the campsite in
front of us, playing music, talking and laughing. I was
excited about the day ahead of me. Luke and I could go
and explore the campsite a bit more and hang out on the
beach. Ray had to do some soundchecks, and the band
were arriving in the afternoon. It was going to be a good
day. Maybe I could even meet some people my age and
leave Luke alone.
Ray was in the tiny kitchen, making coffee. He didn’t
look as if he’d slept well, either. He had dark bags under
his eyes and his beard made him look old and untidy.
"Ray? Are you going to tell me who that Jake is?"
"Look, I told you. I don’t want you going there," he
"Yeah, yeah, I know. But who is he?"
"He’s just not someone I want you around. He’s bad
news, Kate."
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"So how come you know him, Ray?" Luke asked.
"Oh alright!" Ray was ge ing annoyed. "There isn’t a lot
to say. I knew Jake years ago, that’s all."
"Yeah, but what happened?" I asked.
"Well, people said he was into drugs - really heavy stuff."
"So?" I asked.
Ray sighed. "One night there was a huge fight and a guy
was killed. Jake went to prison and I thought he was still
there. I was really surprised to see him again yesterday."
"Wow, that’s heavy," Luke said.
"Don’t worry Ray," I said. "I won’t go anywhere near
him - promise."
Ray looked at Luke. "You too, Luke. Just don’t get
mixed up with him or any of his crowd."
"No worries," Luke answered.
The morning was cold and windy and we were happy to
chill out at the chalet in the morning. Luke wanted to use
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chill out at the chalet in the morning. Luke wanted to use
his new video camera and he thought it was funny to film
me doing stupid stuff like ge ing a coke out of the fridge.
After a while it got really annoying.
"Can’t you turn that off?"
"Yeah later - I’m still trying to learn all the functions," he
After lunch we were beginning to get bored, so we
headed off towards the beach.
"How many people do you think are here?" I asked
"Dunno. About 100, I suppose, but Ray said these
festivals get very big. Today a lot more people will arrive I
We got to the bar and Luke remembered our deal from
the day before. "Look, I’m going to have a game of pool.
Meet you back here in a couple of hours?"
"OK Luke," I said. "See you later."
I walked down towards the sea. It was a blue-grey
colour, and a bright white where there were waves. It
would be nice to take my flip-flops off and walk in the cool
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would be nice to take my flip-flops off and walk in the cool
for a while, but before I got to the sea, I noticed the girl
from yesterday. Jake’s girlfriend. She was si ing, facing
out to sea, with her hands holding her knees.
"Hey!" I said.
She studied me for a second, as if she couldn’t remember
exactly when she last saw me. "Oh hi! You’re the girl with
"Yeah, he’s my uncle," I replied.
The girl took her hands away from her knees and
stretched out her legs. She was wearing the same cut-offs
and t-shirt from the day before. "Trying to get a tan…
What’s your name, anyway?"
"Kate," I answered. "You?"
She didn’t look very well. Her skin was pale but red
under her eyes. Her hair was tied up in a ponytail, and I
could see marks on her neck and throat. She saw me
looking and scratched the marks. "Oh yeah, Jake…
Sometimes he gets in a bad mood. But he’s harmless really.
Like a big dog - all bark but no bite."
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I was curious to find out more about her after what Ray
said. "So are you his girlfriend?" I asked.
"Yeah, sort of. It’s a bit complicated. He looks after me,
you see. When I met him I was in a bad way. I didn’t have
anyone else, but he helped me and I stayed with him. In
any case, he loves me. That’s all, really."
Ray once told me that you know if someone is lying by
looking at their eyes. If they look upwards before they
speak, it’s a sign they aren’t telling the truth. But Terri was
looking straight at me. I trusted her. In fact, maybe we
were quite similar. Like Terri I didn’t have anyone else. If
Ray wasn’t there for me I don’t know where I’d go.
Suddenly she smiled. A big wide smile that made her
look my age. "What about you Kate? Have you got a
"No," I replied, but I could feel myself going red in the
Terri noticed. "Go on! Who is he?"
"No, nobody… Well, I like him but he doesn’t even
know I exist." That was true. I liked a boy at school, but he
hung out with an older crowd and I was just Luke’s kid
sister to him.
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"Never mind!" Terri said, like she understood what it
feels like when you like someone but they don’t even know
who you are. "Lets go and get a coke."
"Actually, just stay here for a bit." I was worried about
going back into the bar where Luke was playing pool. If he
saw me with Jake’s girlfriend he might tell Ray.
"So, are you also here for the festival?" I asked.
Terri looked at me a bit suspiciously. I could see her
trying to decide how much to tell me. "Well, in summer we
do a lot of festivals and raves. Jake’s friends with the
festival organiser and he does all the security. You know,
stopping people from climbing onto the stage, making sure
everyone’s got a ticket. That sort of thing. We’re staying in
that old house over there. Jake hates camping."
"Couldn’t you get a chalet like us?" I asked.
Terri looked shocked. "Huh! No! That costs money! In
any case, nobody lives in that house and we can have
parties and stuff whenever we want. People just come over
and chill out with us for a bit. Hey! Why don’t you come
over now? You can come and meet some of the security
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"Er, no, um, I can’t. Ray told me to stay away from, er,
from…" I stopped just in time. I didn’t want to insult Terri
and repeat all the bad things Ray said about her boyfriend,
but Terri didn’t seem to mind.
"Ah, don’t worry! Look, Jake isn’t here today. He’s gone
into town to take care of some business. He probably won’t
be back until tomorrow morning. C’mon! I’ve made it
really nice in there."
It sounded cool. Terri was the nicest person on the beach
- in fact she was the only person I’d met on the beach, and
it would be cool to tell Luke that while he was playing pool
with losers in the bar I was hanging out with the security
But just at that moment I saw Luke coming out of the
bar. Before I could turn away he saw me and shouted out
to me.
"Kate! You’d be er come here. They’ve arrived!"
"Aw, sorry Terri. That’s Luke, my brother. I’d be er go."
"OK - maybe another time." Terri tried to look as if she
didn’t care, but I was sure she was disappointed. Maybe
she didn’t have any friends on the beach either and she was
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"I promise!" I said, to try and make things be er.
"Who’s that you were talking to, Kate?" Luke asked
when I got back to him. Luke’s eye-sight is ge ing worse,
but he refuses to wear glasses.
"It’s a girl called Terri. You don’t know her," I said. Luke
gave me a funny look, but I was pleased that I had a secret
he didn’t know about.
"The band just arrived. We’d be er go and say hello."
"What’s the bar like, Luke?" I asked.
"Don’t ask!" he replied. "Full of bikers. They weren’t
very friendly."
We got back to our chalet, where an old campervan was
parked. It was in a terrible condition, with paint coming off
and dirty rear windows.
Ray was cha ing and laughing with a couple of guys
from the band as I walked up. "Hey babe! You remember
these guys, don’t you? This is Sean - you remember - the
singer?" he continued.
Sean nodded to me. I remember that I used to be
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Sean nodded to me. I remember that I used to be
terrified of Sean. He was a giant, with long hair in a
ponytail. Ray isn’t a small guy, but Sean looked as if he
could push Ray over with one of his hands. Sean smiled
and put a huge arm around Ray’s shoulders. Ray looked
really happy.
"And this is Rob, the guitarist," he continued, nodding
towards a serious-looking guy next to Sean. Rob was half
the size of Sean, and was wearing jeans that looked two
sizes too big for him, and an old Led Zeppelin t-shirt.
"Hiya," I said. I was going to offer to help them with
their stuff when my feet suddenly left the ground. Two
strong arms picked me up from behind and spun me
around in the air.
"Yo Kate! Look how tall you’ve got!"
"Jem!" I screamed. Jem’s always been my favourite of
Ray’s friends because he treats me with respect and asks
my opinion. Most guys of Ray’s age think I’m just a stupid
girl, but Jem takes the time to really listen.
“How you doing babycakes?" he asked. I really like Jem,
but sometimes he uses these stupid words. Luke overheard
and laughed.
"Babycakes! Babycakes!" he repeated. "That’s a good
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"Babycakes! Babycakes!" he repeated. "That’s a good
"Oh shut up Luke!" I replied.
"Alright you two!" Ray said, but I could tell he wasn’t
really bothered.
"Do you fancy tuning my bass?" Jem asked me. "I’ve still
got the same one and you always get the best tuning out of
I went red with pride. "Sure, Jem, Are you practising
He shook his head. "Nah - tomorrow. We’re doing the
sound check around five. Now we’re just going to set up
the tent and chill out."
I was pleased that the band were sleeping in the tent and
not in the chalet. It was already crowded enough with us
three and all Ray’s stuff. We’d also have to put all the
instruments in there after the band played, as it was the
only place that we could lock.
A Land Rover pulled up.
"Ricky!" shouted Sean. "Get over here and have a beer!"
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Two guys got out of the Land Rover and walked up to
"Hey guys!" Sean said. "Let me introduce you to Rick,
the official photographer, and James, the festival
Rick and James weren’t alone. There was a younger guy
with them, maybe about my age or a li le older. As he got
closer I saw that he was the sort of guy the more stupid
girls at my school liked to fight over at the disco. Blond
curly hair and big blue eyes, and with a deep brown tan.
He was wearing expensive gear too - much too fancy for
the hippy crowd that were camping at the festival.
I looked down at my feet, feeling a bit self-conscious. In
comparison, I was really badly dressed. Because I was
sharing a tiny bathroom, I didn’t bring much cute stuff
with me. No make-up, no hair straighteners - and only old
shorts and t-shirts, and a pair of flip-flops.
James brought the younger guy over. "This is Callum,
my son," he said. "But we call him Einstein…"
"Einstein?’ Luke’s eyebrows shot up in surprise.
"Stop it Dad!" said Callum.
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"No really, it’s because he’s so good at Maths," James
Callum - or Einstein - looked about as embarrassed as
you get when your Dad’s praising you to someone else.
"C’mon Callum," Luke said. "I’ll show you around the
"You coming too?" Callum asked me.
I looked up, surprised that he even asked. James smiled
at me, and not knowing what else to do, I just nodded and
joined him and Luke.

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When we got back an hour or so later, Ray and the band
were si ing around, drinking beer and cha ing.
"Your Dad’s gone to the bar to meet someone," Ray
called to Callum.
"Oh, OK. See you!" Callum said and walked away.
"You have a good time, guys?" Ray asked us. Luke and I
nodded. Ray doesn’t expect us to tell him everything, and
he’s happy enough to know we aren’t in any trouble.
"Is there any dinner left?" I asked, seeing some empty
pizza boxes.
"Sure - in the chalet," Ray answered, turning back to the
band to hear another joke.
The kitchen window was open, and I could hear their
conversation as I leant up against the sink. Perhaps Ray
was drinking too much as his voice was louder than
normal. "Guess who I saw yesterday? That guy Jake - you
remember him. He got five years in prison after that young
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remember him. He got five years in prison after that young
fan was killed."
"Oh yeah," said one of the band. "I heard he was out. But
don’t worry about him Ray. He’s on parole and can’t get
into any trouble."
"Well, I didn’t like the way he was looking at Kate," Ray
Then Sean spoke. "Mmm. I’m not so sure. He was mixed
up in something nasty. Trafficking girls, I think. He finds
girls who are vulnerable and makes them work for him.
You know the sort. Ex drug addicts or girls whose families
just don’t care anymore. There was a rumour going round
about one girl who refused to do what he asked. She
disappeared a few months ago. Jake just said she went
back to her family, but nobody believes him."
"How do you know all this?" asked Ray.
"From James, you know, the festival organiser. He’s put
Jake in charge of security because Jake knows a lot of
bikers who can work for him. James overheard Jake on the
phone doing one of his deals. You’ve really got to watch
him Ray - make sure Kate doesn’t go anywhere near him."
"I’ve already told her. But she’s a good girl. She won’t
do anything stupid."
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My heart beat fast. Terri! She could be in danger. She
told me that Jake loved her, but suppose it was just a trick?
Suppose she was just another of his victims? Maybe Jake
only wanted her to think he loved her and then he would
force her to do what he wanted.
I was the only person who knew Terri’s story. I couldn’t
tell Ray because he’d be angry at me for talking to someone
connected with Jake. But I had to warn her. She was so
trusting of him and maybe didn’t realise how dangerous
Jake was.
But how? How could I warn her? Of course! There was
an easy solution. I could go to the house because Jake
wasn’t there. I could tell her what Sean said and then we
could find a way to get her out.
I walked outside. For my plan to work, I had to look
casual, but I was terrified and hoped my voice would work
I coughed. "Ray, I’m still hungry. I’m going to go and
get some chips. OK?"
"OK, but make sure you go with Luke," he said.
Luke wasn’t happy about that, I was sure. He wanted to
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Luke wasn’t happy about that, I was sure. He wanted to
sit around and hear the band and Ray gossiping. Maybe it
made him feel grown-up. But I wasn’t happy about it
either. I didn’t want Luke to know where I was going, or
he would tell Ray. I had to invent an excuse to be alone.
We got to the road. "Look Luke, you can have your
money back, but there’s something I need to do. Just give
me fifteen minutes."
"What have you got to do?"
I had a brilliant excuse. "It’s me and Einstein - Callum.
We agreed to meet by the stage."
"You? Einstein? What are you talking about?"
"Well, we kind of like each other. We agreed to meet up
when you went into the bar to get us some crisps. Look,
you can have all your money back - just don’t tell Ray.
Luke smiled. I bet he was happy to know something
"secret” about me. "OK then, I’ll give you fifteen minutes.
But no more!"
I ran off in the direction of the stage, trying not to bump
into people. The beach was quite crowded and I quickly
lost sight of Luke. I only had a few minutes to get to the
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lost sight of Luke. I only had a few minutes to get to the
house, convince Terri to leave, and get back before Luke
got suspicious.
Once past the stage, I sprinted across the sand and the
road to the house and ran up the path shouting "Terri!"
Nobody came out of the house. It all sounded quiet.
Maybe she wasn’t in. But I couldn’t come all this way and
not try to see her. I didn’t like the look of the house, but I
swallowed my fear and walked through the hole for the
Inside, there was a wet smell, like the smell you get at a
lake in summer. I imagined lake plants climbing up the
walls and shivered. It was cold inside, too. I was in a dark
corridor, with a door on each side and another two doors
further down. I didn’t know which one she could be in.
Should I push one of the doors open to see if Terri was
there, or should I call out first? I didn’t want to walk past
the closed doors down the corridor without checking the
rooms first.
I could hear my heart beating fast. What should I do?
What should I do? I chose the first door on my left,
knocking on it and calling more quietly this time, "Terri?
Are you in there?" Nothing.
I turned and tried the door on the right. "Terri?"
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Suddenly a hand landed on my shoulder. I froze. It was
impossible to run. The hand was heavy and strong, and my
legs were like blocks of cement.
"What do you want?" said a man’s voice. He definitely
didn’t sound friendly. I didn’t say anything. I couldn’t say
anything. My mouth was closed in terror.
"Well?" he demanded again.
"Um…” My voice sounded high and panicky to me.
"Um, I’m looking for Terri."
"Friend of hers are you?" He turned me around so I was
facing him.
He wasn’t very tall, but he was heavy, with a bald head
and small eyes. He was wearing a bomber jacket and I
could just about read "SECURITY" wri en in black on a
red T-shirt underneath.
"Hmmm. You don’t look old enough to be one of Terri’s
friends, but you’ll find her in there," he nodded towards the
right-hand door further down the corridor.
"Thanks," I said, my heart still going fast.
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I pushed open the door, but I couldn’t see anyone at
first. The room was dark, with something over the window
like a heavy blanket. The room didn’t smell very nice,
either. It was like a room in summer when you keep the
window closed but leave dirty socks in it. The walls of the
room were old, with graffi i painted on them. "Chelsea
FC" was wri en on one wall. I wondered when someone
painted that. Years ago probably.
The floor was horrible; no carpet, but two or three
ma resses covering the bare concrete. In the far corner of
the room I could see a pile of clothes. The pile moved and I
saw a person lying down. It had to be Terri. I ran over to
"Terri! Terri! You’ve got to listen to me!"
As I got close to her, a bad smell of dirty clothes and
unwashed body became stronger. Trying not to breathe too
much, I leant over Terri. It was her. She was wearing
exactly the same clothes but her eyes were closed. I
touched her cheek. Her skin was cold.
"Hmm, hello, who…" Her voice was so low I could
hardly hear it.
"Terri! It’s me - Kate! Wake up!" I touched her arm,
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trying to get her to open her eyes. Her sleeves were halfway up her arm and that’s when I saw more red marks in a
long line on the inside of her arm. I was even more sure
now that she was in danger and that Jake was violent.
My eyes adjusted to the dark and I could see that she
was looking at me. Her eyes were tiny, her pupils li le
black dots.
She was trying to focus on me. "Who let you in? Derek?"
she asked.
"I don’t know his name. But you’ve got to come with
me." I tried to pull her up into a si ing position, but for a
thin girl, she was very heavy. She pushed my hands away
and fell back down again.
I was ge ing desperate. Time was running out. "Terri!
Listen! It’s important. You have to get up. Come with me!
I can help you!"
"And why do you think she needs your help?" Another
man’s voice suddenly came from the doorway. There was
only one man with that voice. It was Jake.
"What the hell are you doing here?" he demanded again
as he walked towards me. For a second I thought about
running past him and out of the house, but my legs
wouldn’t move. He came right up to me.
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"Oh, it’s you! It’s Ray’s girl! Well, I asked you a
question. What are you doing here?"
I was in big trouble. Jake was dangerous and except for
Derek and Terri, nobody knew I was here. Terri was half
asleep, and Derek obviously worked for Jake. I was
completely alone with a violent ex-criminal. My mouth
went dry.
"I … I …"
"Yes? I’m listening…" Jake’s voice was low and calm, but
I sensed the danger in it.
He had a horrible, knowing smile on his lips. "Oh, now I
understand. You came on a social visit! How lovely!" His
voice was sarcastic.
His hand grabbed my wrist so quickly and unexpectedly
that I screamed. But in a second, his other hand covered
my mouth. His fingers smelled of cigare es and bank notes
- a smoky and sweet smell that made me feel nauseous.
"So how are we going to entertain you?” he continued. I
tried to twist away from him, but his hands were too
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"Not so fast, li le girl," he said. "You’ve only just got
I was panicking now. I tried to scream again, but he had
his hand over my mouth.
"Well, li le girl. This is your lucky day! Terri’s too tired
to have a conversation with us right now, but that’s no
reason you and me can’t get to know each other a bit be er.
What do you say?"
I couldn’t say anything. From the tone of his voice it was
obvious he wasn’t giving me a choice. He was going to do
something terrible to me and I couldn’t do anything to stop
him. I tried to get free again but he was holding me too
tight. I twisted to try and get a good angle to kick him, but
he was holding me to one side. It was impossible.
He moved me towards one of the ma resses, his left foot
trying to trip me up. I bent my knees. Maybe I could get
him off-balance enough to get free and run. I got myself in
position to drop to my knees, twist and run, but at that
moment we heard a voice:
"Jake! Is that girl in there with you?"
Jake froze. It was Derek, I was sure.
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"Only James is here looking for her," he continued.
James? Oh my God, James! Why was he here? But at
least I was safe! Jake was still holding me tight so I
couldn’t move. He moved his head to my ear and
whispered, "You ever tell anyone about this and you’re
dead. Understand?"
He finally let me go and I ran out of the room and into
the corridor. James was standing at the entrance of the
house. "Kate! Ray’s going to kill you!" he said, as I ran
straight towards him.

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The perfect summer’s morning. Well, perfect for the
weather, but not much else. Everyone was angry with me.
Ray was angry with me because I went to the house
when he told me not to.
Luke was angry with me because I lied to him and told
him I was going to meet Callum. As an extra bonus, I got
Luke in trouble with Ray because he was supposed to keep
an eye on me. Luke will probably never speak to me again.
No doubt Callum was also angry with me because I
made him a part of my lie.
James was angry with me because I put him in a difficult
position with Jake.
But most of all, I was angry with myself because now
Terri could be in even more danger from Jake.
When James and I walked back to the chalet last night, I
wasn’t sure what to say. Should I say sorry or should I
thank him for rescuing me. In the end, I asked him how he
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thank him for rescuing me. In the end, I asked him how he
knew where to find me.
"Simple," he said. "While Luke was waiting for you, he
saw Callum in the bar with me. That’s when he knew you
weren’t at the stage with Callum and so he got worried."
Of course! I’d forgo en that Callum went to the bar.
"Anyway," James continued. "He asked me to go and
find you. He had a feeling you might go to the house and
he told me Ray told you not to. So why did you go there?"
I didn’t say anything. Whenever I say "It seemed like a
good idea at the time," Ray always gets angry. It was be er
not to say anything at all.
But James didn’t ask me to explain myself. In fact he was
quite nice about it. "Look Kate. Don’t make things difficult
for Ray, OK? He needs this job and I need Jake for the
security. Just do what Ray says, OK?"
Luke and Ray were alone in front of the chalet. None of
the other guys were there.
"Where the hell have you been?" Ray demanded.
"She was at Jake’s house, Ray," James said.
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"Get in, both of you!" Ray was really angry, I could tell.
Luke didn’t say a word to me. He didn’t need to. He was
furious with me.
"Well? Are you going to explain, Kate? Why did you go
there after I told you not to?"
So I told him everything up until what happened with
Jake. That I met Jake’s girlfriend on the beach but when I
overheard Ray and the band, I got worried about her - that
she might become his next victim. I explained that I
wanted to warn her and that I thought it was safe to go to
the house.
At least Ray listened to me, but he still wasn’t happy.
"You’ve got to learn to keep out of other people’s business!
Really! Jake’s girlfriend is an adult. She can make her own
decisions. She doesn’t need you to save her."
He was also angry with Luke. "And as for you, Luke.
You were supposed to keep an eye on her."
"But how was I to know that she was going there?" Luke
"I don’t care," Ray answered. "You two have got to listen
to me. I don’t want either of you going anywhere until the
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to me. I don’t want either of you going anywhere until the
concert. Stay out of trouble. Do you understand?"
We both nodded.
"OK. Now that’s clear,go to bed - both of you!"
So this morning, nobody was in a great mood.
Ray told me again, "I have to go and set up for tonight. I
don’t want you going anywhere. Get it?"
The front door of the chalet was open as Ray moved his
equipment outside. Rick came in.
"Ready Ray?"
When he saw me, he was friendly. "Hi Kate! You OK?"
I didn’t say anything.
"No. She’s in big trouble," said Ray. "She went to Jake’s
house last night when I told her not to. James found her
there and brought her back."
"Why did you do that?" Rick asked me.
"Because I was worried about Terri, his girlfriend. Only
now everybody thinks I’ve commi ed some terrible crime
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now everybody thinks I’ve commi ed some terrible crime
and I’m not allowed to move from here until the concert." I
wanted to add "And it’s not fair!" but stopped myself in
Rick gave me a strange look. "Why are you worried
about her? She can look after herself."
"Oh not again," Ray said. "Just shut up about her." He
picked up his van keys and walked out.
Rick looked at him then at me. "Look, I know Jake. I’ll
go over there a bit later and see if everything’s OK.
"OK," I said. I was pleased that someone took me
seriously, but it was strange that nobody else really cared.
He left and I sat on the front steps of the chalet watching
everyone else having a great time. I still felt bad about
Terri. Everybody else seemed completely OK about it.
Why couldn’t they understand she was in danger? And
now everybody was tired of me talking about her. I’d made
a real mess of it.
Luke sat near me in a deck chair. He was listening to
music through his headphones and playing with his
camera, but I wasn’t fooled by his relaxed a itude. He
wouldn’t let me out of his sight. It’s like having a guard
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wouldn’t let me out of his sight. It’s like having a guard
next to you in prison. Every time I got up to get something
to eat or find a book, he looked at me until I sat down
He was right about the campsite filling up. I watched as
a burger van drove in. Before long the air was filled with a
fantastic smell of barbecued meat and a queue of people
formed. Families with children were enjoying the sunshine,
with some kids playing football near our chalet. A young
couple walked by holding hands. I remembered the lie I
told about Callum. God! How embarrassing. He would
think I was really stupid.
At lunchtime I was really bored. "Can’t we even go to
the beach?" I asked Luke.
"No, we can’t."
It was torture waiting for the concert and watching
everyone else having fun.
"Smile!" Luke said, pointing his camera at me.
I pulled a face at him. "Don’t. Just don’t," I said.
"But I’m practising for the concert," he replied.
I couldn’t take it any more. I went inside the chalet and
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I couldn’t take it any more. I went inside the chalet and
left him to take stupid photos.
Jem came up to the chalet at about 4pm. "C’mon Kate!
You have to come and tune my bass." He had a huge smile
on his face and looked pleased to see me. I felt terrible.
"Sorry Jem, but I can’t. Ray told me I have to stay here
and Luke’s babysi ing me," I answered.
"No it’s alright. Ray’s OK with it. He told me I could
come and get you both," he said.
Being on the beach was like escaping a cage. Even the air
was fresher and you could sense the excitement building
for the concert and DJ set. The stage was huge with plenty
of space for the band to dance and move around. Ray was
at the mixing desk, and the rest of the band were on stage.
Nobody really looked at me. They either didn’t know
about last night or didn’t think it was a big deal.
I tuned Jem’s bass, pu ing my ear close to the strings as
I adjusted the keys. It’s always a great feeling when you
get exactly the right note, but you have to be patient and
you have to concentrate. When the guitar is perfectly in
tune you get this really beautiful, pure sound. I took my
time tuning the bass because I wanted it to be the best ever
for Jem.
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After the soundcheck, Ray and I stayed behind. The
band disappeared, but Ray was looking after the
instruments and his sound equipment. He was studying
the order of the songs and making notes next to the songs.
When he finished he turned to me. "When are you going to
start behaving more like an adult, Kate? I’m worried about
you. I promised your Mum that I’d look after you, but it’s
difficult to do that when you never listen."
Whenever Ray mentions my Mum, I know there’s no
point arguing. Ray was close to her - he was her big
brother after all - and I know that he still feels sad about
her. She died when I was two and Luke was four.
"I’m sorry Ray," I said, but my apology sounded stupid.
Ray’s right. I never listen to anyone else and it gets me into
He smiled at me. "Sometimes you’re so like her it makes
me laugh. When she was your age, she was terrible, too. I
remember one night she decided to go to see this band she
liked, but on the way back…"
I let him continue his story, but I wasn’t really listening.
Ray often told the same story. I was more interested in
what I could see behind him. It was Rick and he was
coming towards us. But he wasn’t alone - he was also with
Terri. My heart jumped in relief. At least she was safe. Rick
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Terri. My heart jumped in relief. At least she was safe. Rick
was saying something and she was laughing. But then she
fell and Rick held out his hand to lift her up. Even when
she got up, he still held her hand and continued talking to
her, and I got the impression that he was trying to
persuade her to do something. But she shook her head and
turned round, walking back to the house.
Luke came back with some burgers and fries, and we
watched the beach for a bit. The stage lights went on and a
few people around us cheered. Quite a lot of people were
standing around, and a guy wearing a SECURITY t-shirt
walked past. It was Derek. He looked at me and nodded at
Ray. I didn’t say anything but I was glad Ray was there
with me.

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The stage lights went on and the band walked out onto
the stage. The crowd moved forward to see be er. Rob and
Jem played the introduction to the first song, "Last
Summer". This song always gets people dancing, as it’s got
fast rhythms and a chorus you can sing to. First there’s a
simple drum beat, then the bass and guitars joined in, with
Sean tapping his hand against his legs. The band played
the first eight bars, then Sean leant into the microphone
and shouted, "Let’s go!" He sang the lyrics in a low, urgent
voice, tapping his feet in time to the lyrics. The crowd were
mesmerised. The music got faster and faster, and the
crowd went wild, with some people at the front jumping
up in time to the music. The final chorus ended, and the
crowd clapped. Some people whistled.
"Thank you ladies and gentlemen!" Sean was back at the
microphone. "We’re called “Lost Cause” and this next one
is for Suzie and Kate!" I was sure I saw Jem kiss the chain
he always wears around his neck and then Rob was
playing the first bars of my favourite song. My skin felt
cold and hot at the same time. I always get a strange
feeling when I hear that song. Suzie was my Mum and
Ray told me it was her favourite song, too. The song’s
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Ray told me it was her favourite song, too. The song’s
called “It’s alright on the night” and it’s got a great bass
solo. I closed my eyes and let the words and music fill my
"Well, it’s gonna be a long, long night
We’ve got no end in sight
Money’s low when you’ve no place to go
But it’s alright on the night…"
The band played eight more songs. They don’t play
music like any other band I’ve heard. They’re not
commercial, not pop and not rock. Maybe you could say
they’re like a mix of punk and folk, with songs about
everyday life. The crowd loved them. Luke was filming the
people near the front of the stage. Their faces and bodies
were just a blur of movement. Ray was smiling as he
worked on the mixing desk and I was happy and relaxed.
Their final song ended with Sean shouting "Thank you
Haven!" and the crowd cheered and shouted again. James
got on stage and thanked the band. "Don’t forget - we’ve
got a DJ set in half an hour!" he shouted.
The band left the stage. James and Luke helped Ray get
all the instruments into the van to take back to the chalet. I
stayed behind with Jem.
"How do you think it went?" he asked.
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"It was great! I think they really liked the music! Did you
see all those people dancing?"
We had a few T-shirts and CDs to sell. Normally you
can sell quite a few after a good performance, but only a
couple of people were interested.
Rick came up and took our photo. "That’s a lovely shot
of you two," he said. "Your brother’s going to be a great
photographer, you know! He took some fantastic video
footage. A li le bit of editing and we can put it online," he
I was pleased for Luke. I could see he was really happy
when he was taking photos and videos. Maybe he could
even become a professional photographer.
Rick picked up his camera again and clicked a few more
photos. I watched where he was shooting. He was pointing
his camera towards the stage and I saw a girl with long
hair. It was Terri. This time she was wearing jeans and a
long-sleeved shirt, and the stage lights made beautiful
shadows on her face.
We watched her walk across the road, back to the house.
"She could be a model," Rick told me. "She’s got the right
figure and an interesting face… Shame about Jake, though.
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figure and an interesting face… Shame about Jake, though.
I asked her to leave him, I really tried, Kate. But I think
she’s almost addicted to him. She told me that she knows
he’s bad, but that she can’t leave. Such a shame…"
Terri got to the path which led from the road up to the
house. Maybe there was nothing anyone could do. Rick
had tried to warn her, but perhaps it really was love
between her and Jake. I felt sick again as I remembered
him trying to hurt me in the house. His cruel smile and
sarcastic voice, and the feeling of not being able to escape.
We were still watching her when we saw Jake come out
of the house. He walked fast towards Terri and slapped her
hard, across the face. She almost fell back, but he pulled
her up by her arm and forced her back towards the house. I
saw her try to shake his hand off her arm, but like me, she
wasn’t strong enough to stop Jake from pulling her.
"Oh no!" Rick said. "I’m gonna go and see if she’s
"Don"t!’ Jem said. "He’s angry and he’s unpredictable."
"I think I can handle him," Rick answered. He ran off
towards the house.
We watched him moving past the crowds of people on
the beach.
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"What do you think we should do?" I asked Jem.
"Should we go after him?"
"No! You’re staying here with me. Rick’s not stupid. I’m
sure everything will be fine."
I have to admit, I didn’t feel very happy about that.
From the corner of my eye I saw someone I recognised.
"Look Jem - it’s Derek!"
"You know, one of the security guys…"
Derek was heading towards the house as well, pushing
past people instead of trying to walk past them politely.
"Kate - just stay here, OK?" Jem was pu ing away the
unsold T-shirts and CDs into a box. I stood on tip-toe,
trying to see what was happening further up the beach, but
there were too many people now, all coming down to the
stage for the DJ’s set.
"Here! Help me close the box, then we can put it under
the stage for now," Jem asked. I turned back to help him
tape down the top of the box. I didn’t see Ray and Luke
come up.
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"Hey guys! Make any money?"
"Nah, not much," Jem answered. "Enough for…"
Then we heard it. A loud shout. A man’s voice coming
from the house. "Nooooooooo!"
We all turned round, some people near us also looking
towards the house.
"Rick?" My throat felt tight.
"No, no, that isn’t Rick!" Ray answered.
He raced towards the house, followed by Luke, who
shouted "Stay there!" at me as he left.
I watched them go, but I knew I couldn’t stay behind.
The people I care about most in the world were rushing
towards something terrible. I had to be there with them. I
started to run as well, pushing past people.
"Whoah there!" said a man as I lost my balance. I got up
quickly again and sprinted towards the house.
I ran through the doorway and followed the shouting
along the dark corridor to Terri’s room.
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Even though there were shadows in the room, I could
see everything. Derek and Rick were standing up, with
Derek holding Rick’s arms so he couldn’t move. Face
down on the floor was a man in a leather jacket. There was
a long piece of metal next to him. Under his head was a
dark red liquid, moving slowly outwards.
"You killed him? You killed Jake? You murderer!" Derek
was shouting at Rick.
"I tell you I didn’t touch him! I found him like that on
the floor!"
I stopped suddenly, horrified at the scene on the floor.
"Where’s Terri?" I said, to nobody in particular.
Ray turned round. "What are you doing here? Luke,
take her back to the chalet!"
Luke was staring at Jake, his mouth open in shock.
"Get her back to the chalet - NOW!"
We got out of the house. Luke and I didn’t say anything
until we got to the path.
"Do you think he’s dead?" My voice sounded tiny to me.
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"God, I don’t know. It looks pre y bad in any case," he
My head was feeling a bit strange like just before you’re
"Are you OK?" "Kate?" Luke sounded a bit scared.
I shook my head. I felt cold thinking of what I’d seen in
the house. Jake lying still on the floor, the blood
underneath his head. Rick standing there over Jake. The
soft candlelight and the atmosphere in the room. I shivered
and Luke put his arms round me, half-supporting me off
the road and onto the campsite. The noise of a siren cut
through the music of the DJ set and the police car drove
past quickly, a blue light flashing. I couldn’t believe there
was still music playing. Maybe the people who heard the
shout just thought it was part of the evening.
The campsite was deserted at least. I didn’t want anyone
to see me. By now I was crying, and anyone who saw me
would think I was drunk or something.
Luke got me to the chalet, half pulled me up the steps
and unlocked the door. "God, you’re freezing! Look, stay
here. You’ll be fine. I’m going over to the bar to get you
some brandy."
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He closed the door behind me and ran down the steps of
the chalet. I was really cold now. Inside, everything was
completely dark and still except a red, flashing light on the
kitchen table. I reached out to switch on the light.
"Stop! Don’t move!" A voice from the darkness of the
chalet kitchen sounded right next to my ear. I stood
completely still. The voice was familiar.
"Terri? Is that you?" I asked.
Something sharp touched my throat. I swallowed, the
movement in my throat pushing at the sharp object. It
scratched me, like how a sharp pencil feels when you
scratch yourself by accident.
"Shhh!" she said again. "If you move I’ll hurt you!"
"Sit here!" She pushed me onto one of the kitchen chairs.
The sharp thing was at my throat again.
"Quick!" she said. "Where’s your room? I want some
"Clothes? What for?"
"Just tell me!" Her voice sounded panicky to me.
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"OK." I didn’t like feeling something against my throat
and I wanted her to calm down.
"You can’t see anything in there without a light," I said.
"It’s on the wall, next to the fridge."
She moved her hand away from my face, found the
switch and turned on the light. Finally I could breathe out.
She didn’t have anything in her hands now, but when I
saw her face I was shocked. She looked terrible. Her hair
was a mess and one eye was closed, a huge red mark under
it. Blood was coming from her lip.
"Terri! What happened? Did he, did Jake do that to
She turned her face away from me.
"He saw me and Rick talking. He called me terrible
names. He said he would kill me. He hit me…"
She paused, then continued, "He took his belt off. I
thought he was going to hit me with it. He pushed me
against the window. There was something there. It felt
heavy and I, I…"
"What? What did you do?" I remembered the bar on the
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"What? What did you do?" I remembered the bar on the
floor next to Jake’s head.
"I just hit him with it. Just a couple of times. Not hard,
but he fell… Blood, there was blood…"
She shivered, then turned to look at me. "I thought that if
I came here I could get some clothes. We’re almost the
same size. I need to get away."
Now I could see that her clothes were dirty. The front of
the shirt had small spots of blood on it.
"But what you did - it’s not your fault, Terri," I said. "All
you need to do is tell the police what happened and…"
"No police!" she shouted. "I’m not talking to the police!"
"But Rick!"
"What about him? What about Rick?"
"Derek found Rick with Jake after… The police are
there. You can’t let Rick go to prison for something he
didn’t do!"
Terri put her hand into the back pocket of her jeans and
pulled out a knife. It was one of our kitchen knives - one
with a sharp point.
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"Don’t mention the police!"
She was pointing the knife at my throat again. I couldn’t
stop staring at it. I knew it was important to try and make
her understand, then perhaps I could get her to put the
knife down. "But Terri, you know it’s wrong they’ve got
Rick. He didn’t do anything! I’m sure that if you explain
everything, they’ll understand…"
"You really are stupid, aren’t you!" she said, with a look
of complete contempt on her face. "I thought you were
more grown-up, but you’re just a stupid girl! Of course
they won’t understand. Nobody ever understands. They’ll
lock me up in prison for the rest of my life."
Her face was ugly in anger. There was no sign of the old
Terri, the one I thought looked beautiful with the light
across her face down by the stage. This Terri looked angry
and desperate.
"Look, I can help you! I can help you explain," I said,
still staring at the knife.
"You?" She gave a li le laugh. "You’re just as dangerous.
You’ll tell the police and think that you’ve done the right
thing. But all you’ll do is make it even worse for me."
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The skin on her hand was white where she was holding
the knife so tightly. She wasn’t ever going to agree to talk
to the police.
"Fine. Look, you just go and I’ll say I never saw you.
"Please, Terri, say yes," I was thinking. "Please just go!"
We were both silent. She spoke slowly. "No, I don’t trust
you. You’ll tell someone, I know you will. Sorry Kate, but
there isn’t any other way. "
I had a terrible feeling of fear in my stomach. I imagined
the knife going into my neck and the pain. "Please, no
Terri. Please don’t hurt me…"
She laughed. "Not even I can kill you with a knife. I’m
not that cruel. Look, I promise, it won’t hurt. I was going
to have it myself later on, but you can have it instead."
She moved the knife into her left hand, still pointing it at
my throat. I didn’t dare move. She pulled out a syringe
from her pocket with her right hand. A strange, dreamy
look came over her face.
That’s when I knew from all those drug education
lessons at school: the long sleeves she usually wore, the
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lessons at school: the long sleeves she usually wore, the
marks on her arm, her tiny eyes yesterday at the house.
Why didn’t I realise earlier? I was so busy trying to save
her that I missed all the signs. "Terri! No! I’m begging
you! Please no!" I was crying. "Please, take anything you
need! Just go and I promise, I promise…"
But she wasn’t listening to me. "For someone like you,
this is a fatal amount. It’s really good stuff, really pure.
Jake got it specially for me. Just think, lucky you that you
can have it all yourself."
She held the syringe in her mouth while she felt in her
jacket pocket. She pulled out a long, thin tube, bending
forward to get it all out. Her movement away from me was
my chance to escape. I jumped up from the chair, pushing
it back from me. I was on my feet, reaching for the door.
She screamed out at me, making so much noise I didn’t
hear the feet coming up the steps of the chalet. I felt cold
air as the door banged open.
"Kate!" shouted Luke. Callum was behind him.
"What the…?"
"Get her!" I screamed, as I saw Terri trying to move
behind them and get out of the door. She hid the syringe
and the tube back in her pocket. Something dropped into
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and the tube back in her pocket. Something dropped into
the sink. It was the knife.
Luke put his arm out and stopped her.
"Let me go!" Terri shouted.
"No you don’t!" Luke’s voice was firm and calm.
"What’s going on here?" Luke demanded. "Kate! What’s
I tried to explain about the knife and the drugs, but Terri
started shouting. "It’s not true! Your sister’s mad."
"Look in her pockets! You’ll see her syringe!” I shouted
Luke stared at me.
"Luke, she was going to kill me!”
"Liar! Liar!" Terri spat the words at me with hatred.
“You’re the…” I stopped. Out of the corner of my eye I
saw the red flashing light. I turned to Luke. “Luke, look!
Your video camera - it’s still recording!”
The camera was on the table, probably where Luke put it
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The camera was on the table, probably where Luke put it
when he came back with Ray with all the instruments.
“Yeah! You’re right,” he said, as he reached over to it and
pressed a bu on.
At first silence, then some claps and cheers from the
crowd. He pressed the bu on again.
My heart was beating fast. "Please," I whispered to
Terri was looking at the camera as well, her eyes wide.
And then, a faint voice. "… that you?"
"Shhh! If you move I’ll hurt you!"
It was us! Terri and I talking!
Terri ran for the chalet door, but Luke was quicker. He
caught her as she tried to get past, and Callum dived for
her knees. She fell to the floor as the video camera
continued replaying our conversation.
Terri was trying to sit up, but she couldn’t. Luke held
her arms and Callum held her feet. She kicked, but Callum
held her still.
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Luke’s mobile fell out from his jeans pocket. I managed
to pick it up before it slid across the floor. My hands were
shaking, but I found Ray’s number on the speed dial.

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Luke is officially the number one hero. The police can
use the recorded conversation as evidence against Terri.
Rick said Luke needs a few lessons to operate a video
camera, but he’s really happy. He spent a few hours at the
police station, but there wasn’t much reason to keep him
there after they arrested Terri. I don’t know what will
happen to her.
Callum tried to get credit for his rugby dive on Terri’s
legs. He’s been pre y nice to me in fact, and doesn’t seem
to remember that lie I told about meeting up with him at
the stage. The more I think about him, the more I like him.
He and James left today, but he gave me his phone number
before he left. There’s another festival next month and
maybe, maybe, Ray will let me go. Callum can be my
Ray’s in a great mood again. He said I’m probably the
worst sixteen-year-old he’s ever known, but he doesn’t
mean it. After I went to bed I could hear him telling Jem
all about me. The last thing I heard before I fell asleep was
that I should get a medal for bravery.
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And me? I’ve got a plan. I’m going to try really hard to
keep out of trouble next year at school, then I’m going to
ask Ray if I can help him with more festivals. I like being
around musicians and I’m good with guitars.
Rock on next year!

Learn English for free at www.english-at-home.com

Thank you for reading 'Murder at the Beach’.
I hope you enjoyed it!
Check out my other books for English language learners:
Speak English!
505 Business English Idioms and Phrasal Verbs
Business Writing Essentials: How To Write Le ers,
Reports and Emails
Everyday Grammar for Busy People

Learn English for free at www.english-at-home.com

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