The sea whispered to the beach as though it knew some great secret it was eager to impart. We were together, side by side: me lying down, Julie sitting up with a book resting on her thigh. I was looking up at the sky, a slow cloud made its way across the blue as though it was lost and looking for somewhere it could call home.
Julie’s hand lay on my thigh, except for a few moments every thirty seconds or so, when she turned the page of the book she was reading. Then after a gap where I began to notice the absence of her hand, it was back, stroking the hair on my thigh before resting, proprietorial on my body again. My skin felt salty, hot, and Julie’s hand felt cool, soft, against me.
‘What?’ she said, turning to look down at me over the tops of her sunglasses.
‘Nothing,’ I said, not meeting her glance.
She sighed and closed her book, turning towards me. ‘There’s something,’ she said. ‘I know.’
‘This,’ I said, lifting myself up on my elbows so our faces were only a few inches apart.
‘What about it?’
‘Do we deserve it?’
Julie took her sunglasses off, screwing her eyes up at the sudden brightness. ‘Of course we deserve it.’
‘But….’ I said. ‘We got this…’ I made a gesture that encompassed the beach, the bluest sea I’d ever seen, the almost cloudless sky and the hotel that lay just at the edge of the beach. ‘…by killing people.’
Julie sighed and picked up her book with one hand whilst putting her sunglasses back on with the other. ‘But, they deserved to die,’ she said.