Short story entry: The Guy
By HELEN DAWSON It was a cold and moonless night when Rachel left the Proverbial in Stevenage Old Town. She had been celebrating Guy Fawkes Night with her friends and there were flashes of colour still appearing in the sky above near and distant houses.
By HELEN DAWSON
It was a cold and moonless night when Rachel left the Proverbial in Stevenage Old Town.
She had been celebrating Guy Fawkes Night with her friends and there were flashes of colour still appearing in the sky above near and distant houses.
They had begun their evening at Fairlands Valley Park firework display oohing and ahhing with the crowd as the rockets sped through the air showering their coloured lights in dazzling patterns.
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They had all cheered when the guy, dressed in a suit complete with top-hat, had gone up in flames on the enormous bonfire. Smoke from it had wafted across the crowd creating an eerie atmosphere as people temporarily disappeared from view.
A few drinks later found Rachel standing on the pavement ready to start her walk home and after the last farewell she crossed the road and left the High Street.
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As the friendly voices faded into the dark she wondered if walking alone had been a good idea. Rachel picked up her pace and as she passed parked cars and front gardens she rested her hand on the mobile phone in her pocket.
Her footfalls echoed on the pavement as she recalled the evening's conversations and events and she was just picturing the guy in his hat as she turned into the alley which led between shops and houses to her road.
She had only walked a few paces when her heart began to race. There was smoke drifting several feet in front of her and as she stopped to stare into the gloom she was sure she could make out a shadowy figure lurking by the wall wearing a top-hat.
Rachel waited a few moments until the paralysis of fear released its grip and as the figure didn't appear to be moving she cautiously edged her way closer along the wall. When she was no more than four foot away some of the smoke cleared and relief flooded her as she saw her Guy Fawkes.
Someone from the local Indian restaurant had left a large broom propped against the wall with a cleaning coat draped over it.
The top-hat was an upturned bucket over the handle and the smoke had been coming from the extraction unit of the restaurant.
Rachel was still smiling as she reached her home and the last bangs of November 5 were shut out behind her.