Out of the ashes and back again.

by Lewis

Ted Barnet watched, his head cocked to one side, wide eyed, staring in disbelief. His hooked nose stared with him and twitched his dismay. ‘The Clematis’ he hooted in alarm. But it was too late they were burning along with everything else. The roses were roasting. The carnations crisped. The lawn he had tended, trimmed and talked into all it’s precise beauty was becoming a blackened bed of ash. It didn’t take long to douse the flames with the hose, but as he stood in the smoking ruins of his perfectly formed garden he noticed the bench he had carved. Blackened, cracking and sizzling, the intricate etchings he had once inscribed with such delicate and permanent love, were gone. Mrs Barnet would have had something philosophical to say about that. How nothing is permanent, we come from nothing, we go back to nothing. She would have smiled at Ted and in that moment everything would have been ok again.

Ted remembered watching the lantern land from the top floor. The attic room allowed him to watch the town from all four sides, and vigilantly he did. Since the accident, roaming youths, stray dogs and especially any speeding vehicle was tagged and sent straight to the police. So it was no surprise he had seen the lanterns being released. He had watched their beautiful ascent from the north window, tutting to turn as just one danced its deathly decent onto his tiny but prize-winning garden; Shropshire Community Pride and Bloom - Gold award 2016 and 2017.

Up town The Church Stretton annual Golf Gala - the Big Swing was in full steam following their spectacular announcement of the Firefly Inc sponsorship deal. Ian, Head of Corporate Branding and Compatibility, made a note to point out the success of the launch and his sky lantern idea to the over indulging CEO, who promptly ignored him until he turned his attention to Jodie from HR. Jodie sighing and claiming the need for a toilet break wandered outside for a smoke. She noticed a thin old man with wide eyes wandering through reception and on request politely pointed him towards the piano in the main hall. Of course it had to be in perfect tune, she thought, rolling her eyes. Bastards dragging that poor man out at this time of night. Ian checked his Twitter; #FireDrive2018 was trending. He barely had time to shoo an ancient piano tuner out of sight before the performance from Frankly Sinatra. The room was crammed now. He could practically smell the money coming in from this deal. He smiled good riddance as he watched the old man wander out of the hall, not even a flicker of recognition of the man whose life he had now twice shattered, before briefly thinking ‘I’m sure Frankly uses a backing track.’

Ted was turning the corner to his street when he heard the first siren. He rushed upstairs and watched the dancing glow across town. He smiled, thinking Mrs Barnet would definitely have had something philosophical to say about this.