It was the burst of light that first made me notice. A few minutes ago I had been playing happily with my best friend, Maya, giggling like all five year olds do, not having to think about anything. This morning it had just been an ordinary day at school with the dreaded maths lessons which make you groan at the thought of them and the literacy teachers forcing you to do spelling tests on some of the most simple words in the English language. The same as always. A normal day just like any other in the packed seaside city of Brighton.That was before it all happened. It seemed like a dream at first. A devious disturbing thought thrown in my head by the feisty devil. That flame outside the window growing into something bigger, more terrifying.
The sea slamming into the eroding cliffs is a familiar sound to me as I stroll along the uneven rocky beaches. A usual evening consisted of getting out of my small school and running down the cobbled road to the nearby bakery and ordering the same old doughy iced bun followed by skipping to the peaceful beach belonging to Rottingdean with its big, bold, smokey rocks and sunny sprinkles of sand. On the weekend I would normally venture down the many alleys with their miniscule shops or possibly take a trip to Churchill Square the shopping mall that never failed to impress me. If I was lucky, my parents would let me go to the pier. With rides that only kids could dream of , it makes everyone smile from when they enter until they leave. Fun never to be forgotten.
My hazel eyes reflecting the smug, golden flickers. A harsh glow piercing the gentle sky’s innocence followed by a fiery monster engulfing the dark metallic frame. A heavy fog hung thickly in the air, swarming around the pier like wasps. A sadness dawned upon me as I had to appreciate the last time I stepped on the pier, the time my parents and I spent all day there absorbing the sun and playing little carnival games where you always win no matter how bad you are. Eating fish and chips and ice creams whilst fighting of the angry birds eager to steal your over-priced food. A high pitched squeal comes from behind me and wakes me from a trance. Maya’s dainty face looks horrified making me realise that this was not a daydream but a nightmare as I watch her stare at the blackened tiring pier slowly giving into the awaiting monstrous ocean below it. She was so innocent, so sweet that even the raging flames must have felt sympathy for her. It’s only a second before a red lightning bolt flies past my eyes. An alarming flash making my eyes blur. The blue striking sirens scream in my ears like the screeching seagulls that surround the city. My head is spinning as I try to take in the recent event but something catches my eye. Maya’s flat is on the top floor of the building. It has a perfect view. Maybe that’s why I can see him and the cluster of people that had gathered to watch could not. A dark figure. Illuminated by the collapsing wreck. I’m tired and my imagination is always dramatic but somehow I think that for once my mind is not playing a trick on me. I see him for only a few seconds and then he is gone,disappearing further into the gloomy night. I asked Maya’s mum, ” What is happening?” She replies, “The pier is on fire” I looked puzzled and said “How?” She answers, “Maybe somebody set fire to it on purpose.” “But why” I respond quickly. “Why would someone do this? A sudden feeling rushed right through me . It was like the slamming of a cars brake.A whirlpool is swirling in my stomach and I can taste the last thing I ate lingering in my throat. Had I just seen the person who caused all this?
10 years later
That day was the day when I realised people could do wrong in the world. The day I learnt not everything is or will always be perfect. That people do bad things for a reason or no reason at all. A young girl finally realising what the world was really like after her innocence was snatched away from her by the mess caused.And to this day the thoughts and feelings still circle around my brain as if it happened yesterday. The strong smokey smell, the loud crackling of the fire in action, the overwelming flames. But most of all the unknown person. Whose identity may never be revealed. That moment when I witnessed the end of something. I don’t think I could ever forget that moment. It remains a mystery that maybe will never be solved The black burnt pier still waits for the truth to be told.