Phyllis watches them as they scatter across the dunes. Darius before them, walking backwards, talking, always talking; each time he turns another child slips away until there is only the skinny girl left, standing beside him, straight as a rod. Field trip, Darius calls it; skiving, Phyllis thinks.
She can see them from where she waits, engulfed in the burr of her generator, the smoky fug of her van a bubble of heat. The children clustering together in the hollows of the dunes; smoking, some of them. Kissing. Never thinking that they're overlooked. The things she sees.
Darius stands awkwardly with the skinny girl, staring all around; his reedy voice rises as he calls for them. "Jellybean," he shouts, "Legless!" The thread of his voice tangling round the dunes where the children are all hiding.
Silly old fool, thinks Phyllis, not unkindly. Watching as Darius surrenders and runs down to the sea, squealing like a child, and his pupils peel out from the dunes and run after him, all pretence of work abandoned, their voices rising together into the thin blue air.