Fiction: ‘Embers’

26 - Embers
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Embers streak across the sky before exploding in a shower of colours. Rockets whir through the air. They glide passed each other like brilliant firebirds until finally colliding in a blinding flash which lights up the night. The blast sends shockwaves through the crowd. My ears are ringing afterwards with that inaudible note which persists for hours on end, no matter how quiet the world becomes.

I can smell the scent of gunpowder smoke thick in the air. I can see the quickly-cooling embers fade into the soil. I can feel the vast, gnawing emptiness left over after the final spark has died.

Another flash and the entire sky explodes in a shower of falling stars. They plunge down to the earth, drifting further and further apart as they fall. When they hit the ground, they scatter like ants under the carefully positioned shaft of light from a child’s magnifying glass. People jump out of the way, their laughter rising from the ruins. Another flash, and this time the sky is alight with the flames of a thousand stars burning as brightly as a crimson sunset. And then they fade like all stars eventually do.

Not a speck of light is left behind.

Not a flash, not a spark, not an ember survives.

It doesn’t feel like night anymore. Only empty and dark. But then, like it always does, the sun makes its appearance on a distant horizon, shattering the night and banishing its shadows to another realm.

We pack up our tents and leave the campsite.

The only signs left behind from the night before are the broken beer bottles, stumped out cigarette butts, and the charred remains of a few discarded sparklers.

~ Ekaterina

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