Postcard story

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Dear Charity,

It’s Guy Fawkes or bonfire night here in England. Such a weird celebration to remember the attempted to blow up the houses of parliament in London, 1605. This evening there is a firework display and large fire at the park. I can see it from the window of the hotel. They are also setting up a funfair right now. I won’t be going, no need with my view here. I’ll try and take some photos to show you what it’s like.

Hope everyone is well and I’ll be home in a few days,

Love, Bill.

New Year’s Take Two #FFfTP

New Years

I had been sick with the flu on New Year’s Eve, so I didn’t celebrate. In fact, it wasn’t until Friday 11th Jan that I was feeling well again. Despite not feeling in the mood for it, my housemates threw a party – New Year’s take two, they said.

Laughing, I joined in with the singing and dancing. I drink not too much and didn’t snack either. Someone put a recording of London celebrating New Year on the TV. We couldn’t down midnight and welcomed 2019 in.

Then we crowed in the small garden and let off some fireworks. The colours were so bright against the dark, foggy sky. The whizzing and bangs so loud as no one else was celebrating.

Chilled by the coming frost, we warmed inside with more dancing and hot corn beef hash. People started leaving then, a few helping to tidy before doing so. I was in bed before the last guests left, tried out by everything.

Even though my new year hadn’t gotten off to the best of starts, I wanted to make the second take really did.

 

(Inspired by; https://flashfictionforthepracticalpractitioner.wordpress.com/2019/01/02/flash-fiction-for-the-purposeful-practitioner-2019-week-1/ with thanks).

 

 

Bonfire Sparks

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I hadn’t been feeling well all week but I wasn’t about to let it stop me from going to the bonfire night party.  I hadn’t been to one in years and the idea of seeing a professional firework display and spending the weekend with my boyfriend was just too good to miss.

Making sure I wrapped up warm and had everything I needed, we set off and walked to the park. There were huge crowds all ready and the smell of hot food swamped the air. I held my boyfriend’s hand tightly. We walked around, pushing our way through people who were gathering before a circled off area.

I saw they were waiting for the bonfire to be lit. I could see the pile of wood raising against the the dark sky. We found a place to stand and joined the crowed watching as some men light the kindling wood at the base. The flames were bright orange, red and yellow and they took to the dry wood quickly. Loud cracking and popping sounds joined the voices of the crowd.

We stayed for awhile, the fire growing and the heat becoming stronger. My boyfriend then moved us off to place where the fireworks display was going to be. There was all ready a mingling of people there, trying to get a good spot. That seemed silly to me because we’d able to see the fireworks from anywhere in the park. We stood before the rope and looked at the men who were doing some checks.

People began to press against us, loud voices and laughter surrounded us. I took deep breaths but it didn’t help. I felt unwell and just wanted to get out. I tugged my boyfriend’s arm and got him to lean down so I could tell him this.

He looked unhappy but we forced our way out of the crowds. We walked away and I felt better. The air was cleaner and cooler. We walked up a hill and joined a few other people who where there. Sitting down on our coats, he rubbed my back and talked softly to me. Thankfully, the tail end of my illness stayed to fade again.

The first firework screamed through the air and give off an ear shattering pop. I snapped my head up and the bright multi-colours dazzled me. Another firework shot up, exploding in front of the first and adding more colour to the sky.

‘Oh!’ I cried.

More fireworks went off, covering the sky in a wash of colours and deafening everyone with their music. I was enraptured and found it hard to take my eyes away. Then my boyfriend was calling me and tapping on my shoulder.

‘I’m watching this,’ I told him, unhappily.

‘I know, but I have to ask you something.’

I turned to him and noticed he was on one knee beside me. I frowned and then I spotted the small box in the palm of his hand. It was open and there was a silver ring glittering in the flashing lights.

‘Will you marry me?’ he asked.

The smile that light up my face was brighter then any firework that night.

The Last Day

2016, concert, december 31

Kerry looked up from her book at the muted TV screen. A reporter, wrapped up warm clothes was talking to people in a large crowd. Despite the drizzle, everyone seemed happy to be there. The camera turned away and focused on the London Eye. The big white wheel stood out against the black sky and the city lights. Then the camera flashed back to the crowd.

Blowing her nose, Kerry balanced the open hardback on her knees then added the used tissue to the pile that was gathered around her. Coughing loudly, she settled back down on the sofa under her duvet. She read another page of her book, feeling totally distracted by the drama unfolding on the page.

The TV screen went dark and Kerry’s eyes glanced over at it. The big wheel was shown again and this time the camera stayed on it.

Kerry turned up the volume and put her book mark into the page she was on. A count down had started on the TV and people were shouting the numbers as a clock also flashed them up. Placing the book down, Kerry grabbed the small bottle of champagne. It was still cold from the fridge and there was a sheen of water around the the neck of the clear glass.

‘Zero!’ shouted the voices on the TV.

Big Ben began striking the midnight hour and London went into a frenzy.

Kerry cracked open the bottle, which wasn’t corked, but a screw top. The fizz give a little pop still and she poured it into her glass.

Fireworks suddenly went off, both on the TV and outside her apartment as music played and voices took up singing.

Kerry rose the glass in the air to give a little toast, then she sipped the champagne. It tasted acidic against her tongue. Taking a mouthful, she swallowed and placed the glass down. Her phone beeped with incoming texts. She picked it up and answered them all just as fast as they came in.

Swapping her phone out for the champagne, she took two mouthfuls then looked into the glass. The taste hadn’t improved and she’d only drunk half now. Her phone rang loudly. Kerry scrambled for it, knocking her book to the floor.

‘Hello?’ she answered it.

‘Hi. Feeling any better?’ her boyfriend’s voice came through.

‘A little,’ she replied as she sank back on to the cushions.

‘Happy New Year!’ he added.

Kerry giggled, ‘same to you.’

‘As soon as I get home we’ll celebrate properly.’

‘No. We don’t have to…’ Kerry said.

‘We’ll go out,’ he cut through her words, ‘a nice meal, a movie, drinks after. However you want to do it.’

‘No,’ Kerry said again, ‘I want to stay in. Let’s just sit on the sofa with a movie and popcorn.’

‘Well…if that’s what you want…’ he responded in a dropped tone.

‘Yes. I just want you. Us,’ Kerry explained.

‘Okay, I’ll try and get home as fast as I can then,’ her boyfriend added.

‘Good. I’ve missed you.’

‘I’ve missed you too! I should go though…I can’t see the noticeboard from here.’

‘All right. Text me soon,’ Kerry spoke.

‘Sure. Night!’

‘Night.’

Kerry hung up and looked at her phone screen. On the TV, the fireworks were coming to an end and the reporter had appeared again. From outside came the whizzing of a rocket and sound of a firework exploding into a frizzling noise.

Putting the phone on the coffee table, Kerry tossed the rest of her drink back then put the empty glass beside her phone. Picking up her book, she lay down again and opened the pages. A sneeze hit her before she could start reading and she had to dig out a new tissue. Growling, she lent back and wondered how the start to the New Year could get any worse.

The Burning

Burning Coal

Godson stood at the edge of the burnt grass and looked over what remained of the church. There was a lot to see, but also very little. He sighed deeply and wonder why people did what they did.

Huddling into his thick red Parker coat against the late autumn wind, Godson stepped on to the blackened ground. The dead grass crackled loudly under him, just like the fall leaves. He took a deep breath and smelt smokey, earthy air. Even though it had rained in the early hours of the morning, the scent of the fire was still strong.

He came to a large stone, the first of many scattered around. Inspecting it, Godson tried to figure what where it had come from. Maybe from the door arch or one of the windows? It was impossible to tell. The stone had a large black scorch mark across one side. The fire must have been raging hot.

Godson moved on towards what had been one of the front windows. He spotted something and knelt to pick it up. It was a shard of red glass. He rubbed it between his fingers and straight away he could see the stained glass window that had been just above his head. He looked for more glass, but couldn’t find any bigger fragments.

Slipping the glass piece into his pocket, he walked fully into the church ruins. The floor was still mostly in attached but covered with soot, burnt things and fallen stones. He walked carefully over it all and towards were the alter had once been.

‘What devil compels someone to burn down a small community church?’ Godson said a loud.

He balled his fists and gritted his teeth. The anger that he had been trying to subside was rising. A small part of him had been hoping there’d be something left, but now it was clear there was nothing.

The smell was worse here and it felt like the smoke was clogging his lungs. He coughed and had to turn away. He had to leave. Even though he didn’t want to. Perhaps, under all this destruction was something that could be saved?

It started to rain again and Godson give up. He walked back out of the burnt church and to his car. Getting in, he sat looking over for a few moments then drove home.

Days later the police report came through. Godson sat at his desk and read it. A gang had actually been stealing the brickwork, wires, roofing and in fact everything they could get there hands on, just before the fire had started. It seemed they might have caused it and so far the fire bridge had said it was accidentally. Not the news Godson wanted to hear.

‘I won’t rest till this is solved,’ Godson muttered, ‘God. You must help me to bring to justice the people who did this.’

Falling into prayer, Godson saw the image of a burning church in his mind. Somehow, he knew the answers he seeked where there still.

New Year’s Eve

Rose always made a New Year’s resolution every year as the clocks struck midnight and shouting voices filled the air. As the numbers came from her mouth, her mind rushed with everything she wanted to do that year. This time around it been a simple resolution; loss weight and write her novel. Though she was sure those had been on her list last year too.

She felt her boyfriend clutch her hand tightly, their palms already damp. They were gathered around the TV just like everyone else at the party was, welcoming the New Year in with rest of the country. The last number and chime faded together then everyone erupted into song, even though most didn’t know all the words.

At the end, as the fireworks in London went off on the TV screen, everyone was kissing, hugging and shaking hands. Voices rose in wishing each other all the best and Rose felt swamped by all the bodies. Grabbing, her boyfriend’s hand, she tugged him out of the room and into the bathroom across the way.

‘Hey,’ he laughed, ‘slow down.’

Rose locked the door and turned to him with a shake of her head, ‘Don’t get any ideas. I just needed some space.’

The corners of his mouth dipped and Rose rolled her eyes. She stepped over and kissed him. Letting her lips linger, teasingly him before she broke away. He wrapped his arms around her, swaying them gently, though she suspected that was because he was drunk all ready.

‘Did you make your New Year resolution?’ he asked in a husky voice.

‘Yep. Loss more weight and write my novel. What was your’s?’

‘Aww, don’t do that,’ he said and grabbed her bum, ‘I’ll miss this.’

She laughed and pressed her hands to his cheeks, ‘I’m sure that’ll be fine. I just want my stomach flatter. What was your’s?’ she repeated.

‘This,’ he replied and kissed her deeply.