300-word story: What is it that makes this old man's fireworks displays so special?
Whilst all kids enjoy Bonfire Night, with its sparklers, hot dogs and the burning of the Guy, there was a tiny village where little ones looked forward to it more than most. And it wasn't just the children, as their parents shared in the excitement and wouldn't miss the occasion, with all five hundred residents assembling on the green to admire a unique spectacle.
The reason behind the scale of these festivities was an old man called Mr Chamberlain, who had lived in the village his entire life. Not only that, he hadn't once left its boundaries, not even to visit the nearby beach. The cause of this was not illness or immobility, as Mr Chamberlain had always been as healthy as anyone can wish to be. Nor was it a fear of large spaces or busy environments, as he adored being the centre of attention. Instead, it was a painfully simple case of having never got around to it.
It was only in recent years that Mr Chamberlain had felt regret over not venturing outwards. So many opportunities had been missed, so many places unseen and experiences denied. It was enough to make a man believe he had wasted his life, but instead of becoming despondent and bitter, he did something else entirely.
Another Bonfire Night arrived, and with it came a thousand eyes intently focused on the night sky. The first firework exploded right on cue, followed by hundreds more throughout the evening.
Nobody knew how Mr Chamberlain made fireworks that were so utterly enchanting. It wasn't just the shapes and colours; they somehow encapsulated feelings of passion, curiosity and wisdom. It was as if the old man concentrated his hopes and dreams into solid forms, then released them into a world he would never get to explore.
Copyright © 2020 Rich Sutherland
Image: Mike Enerio