I hope everyone had an awesome Fourth of July! And a safe one, too :) It's that time of the month where I share a short little piece of fiction on the Lightening Quick Reads website. This month's theme is Freedom, and I guess I was channeling a little American Gods (though I could never presume to do it justice like Gaiman!). Here's a little teaser of that, and be sure to check out the rest on the LQR blog!***
The Spirit of Independence Day lives on.
The last of the smoke cleared from the fireworks that had lit the bay. The booming thunderclaps had scared the last dogs and the crowds gathered their blankets and chairs. The trickle of people headed home were a little quieter, their voices still filled with happiness, but now muted by the night.
“Ready?” He leaned over and bumped my shoulder with his own, a small grin lighting up his features as I looked at him.
I sighed. The end always came too quickly. The light from the show over too soon. I didn’t want to go back. If only there were a way to pause, let the night linger for just a few more hours.
“I guess.” He stood and held out a hand, pulling me to my feet with a little added force that made me run into him.
His arms caught around me, tugging me close as he rocked us around in a slow circle on the lawn. The lawn around us had nearly emptied and the calm of the night, the rush and hiss of the surf past the low wall, marked a perfect moment.
“Another year,” I whispered. His neck felt cool against my forehead as I leaned against him.
“One of many more.”
I didn’t respond. So many ‘ifs’ clung to that word that I didn’t dare think too much about it. We could only hope for many more. Our lives depended on it.
We gathered up our things, folding them away into a bag he slung over his shoulder. He took my hand as we walked up the path toward the city lights. A few other stragglers trickled out onto the busier street, the clog of traffic still creating a long line at the freeway entrance.
We kept walking, no real destination in mind.
These last few hours were the sweetest. The ones I cherished the most, even if the always heralded the end.
“What did you like best about today?” he asked. His hand twined with mine squeezed a little tighter.
I cocked my head to the side, pretending to think it over. While the fireworks were always my favorite, today had more things to celebrate. “The laughter.” There had seemed to be more today. More faces smiling. This city we visited so infrequently had felt happier. It rang out in smiles and the laughter of the faces we watched.
The answer seemed to please him and our arms swung as we walked along the lit sidewalks, passing parties and sparklers and music that spilled out to greet us.
“The peace,” he said, with a shrug, knowing I’d want to know his response.
“You always say that.” I laughed at how obvious an answer it was, coming from him.
“Doesn’t make it less true.” His dark eyes met mine and the night with all its wonders seemed to expand before us, ignoring the end that approached all too fast.
Almost seeming to respond to our good mood, a siren, then two, cut through the air. They slid under my skin and I shivered, drawing closer to him.
The source of need came clear as we walked. ....
Want to know what happens next? Check out the rest on the Lightening Quick Reads Blog!