Adam stopped. He wanted to help, but he didn't dare go near.
"We were just watching," he yelled. The policeman pulled the scarf from Lizzie's face. To Adam, it looked like a film the burly policeman, covered in body armor and riot gear; and slight Lizzie, hanging off his arm like a rabbit.
The policeman stared at her for a moment. "For fuck's sake," he snarled. "You want to end up in the nick, you silly bitch?"
He flung her down into the road and stalked off back to the main road. Adam ran to help her up and dust her down.
"Time to go," said Lizzie shakily. Adam nodded. Beyond the fires, the sky was growing pale. It was getting light. They were both really shocked by their narrow escape. The last time there had been riots, people had been locked up for months just for being there. Lizzie suddenly dived into her pocket for her phone. It had been on silent ever since the gig. She looked up. "Mum and Dad are going crazy," she said. "It's three a.m . They haven't got a clue what's been going on . . ."Adam got out his phone, too. Same thing.
"We're in the shit now," he said.
They both grinned sheepishly at each other."But that was great, wasn't it?" he asked.
"It was the best night of my life," said Lizzie fervently.
They kissed. Adam felt a thrill when their lips touched. Wouldn't it be great if they could go somewhere and make love now, while the fires still burned! But there was no chance . . ."It's all changing," Lizzie said. "Not just here. The whole world. People have had enough." Only a few hours ago the future had seemed so fixed. All the money was owned by the banks and the big corporations, the economy was falling apart, there were no jobs, social services were a joke.
For decades everyone had complained but nothing had changed. Now, suddenly, it was all up for grabs. The Zealots had shown the nation how to seize the future by setting fire to the present. Who knew what tomorrow would bring?
"When will I see you?" asked Adam. All he wanted was to stay with Lizzie. It was unbearable to think that everything was going to go back to normal as soon as they went home.
They wandered a hundred yards up the road, but they knew it was over for tonight, anyway.
"I better ring Dad, get a lift back," said Lizzie at last. She paused with her phone in her hand. "Shall I ask him to give you a lift, too?"
"No way!" Her parents hated Adam. "They'll kill me."
She nodded and rang her dad, arranging to meet him on Oxford Road, by the university, away from the trouble. Adam walked her there and waited with her. Her dad glared furiously at him when he turned up in his Jag. Lizzie kissed Adam passionately on the mouth, then ran to the car and drove off. Adam began the long walk home. He felt jubilant. He was falling in love, and the future was his.
Excerpted from The Hit by Melvin Burgess. Copyright © 2014 by Melvin Burgess. Excerpted by permission of The Chicken House. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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