Darkness rolls in like thick, black smoke billowing from a fire. Jack Frost's wintery kiss caresses my cheek, and my eyes flutter open. I am standing outside, but my gaze is immediately drawn upward to the explosions of brilliant colors lighting the night sky. I stand watching in awe as the colors explode with a fury and then fade into the milky darkness. The sound of the thundering explosions is tempered quickly by shrieks and peals of laughter all around me.
My attention is quickly drawn away from the heavens and back to the earth. There is a figure looming ahead in the distance. It is a character like none other that I have ever seen. Its face is grotesquely over imagined like some caricature come to life. The children do not fear. They run past me with squeals of delight and surround the masked figure. His eyes seem to be fixed on me, so I turn trying to escape his gaze. The booming overhead continues… louder, ever so loud.
I am suddenly aware of the icy pavement under my bare feet. I seek refuge from its callous embrace. The lights in the sky above are reflected in the black water of the lagoon. Their colors are distorted with each ripple of the water as the cool wind ruffles the surface. The same wind sings through the trees and whips my gown around my legs. It is calling to me.
Through the booming of the explosions overhead, I hear the echo of men yelling for me to stop. They are rushing toward me. I test the water with one bare foot. It is frigid, numbing. As my pale flesh succumbs to the liquid blackness, the lights play along my skin drawing me forward. The water laps gently at my thighs as I wade in deeper. It is to my waist before the men reach the edge. They do not dare risk the icy blackness. I reach the center of the lagoon and turn to see in the distance a throng of people gathered to watch the explosions in the heavens. They laugh and shriek gaily.
At the edge of the water, the men turn to see the final display of lights. My gown drifts behind me. It billows up like a great soft pillow and I am tired -- so very tired. I lay back onto the pillow and I can feel the icy water flow over my shoulders as I close my eyes. I take a breath and succumb to the night.
I reach out with my fingertips and feel the cool damp blades of grass. I put my hand to my cheek. It is moist. The dew has fallen. The fireworks show has long since ended and all that remains is the smell of firing powder and a haze in the sky. I am alone in the night. I must have fallen asleep because I had a dream last night.