Hedge Maze

By Fraser Wilson

A shower of sparks and explosive colours cascaded from the sky, flecks of firework ash and gunpowder scattering onto the hedges beneath. Yet Lisa’s eyes did not shift from their focus. Staring at the cloudless patch of the night sky, she ignored the fire, the catherine wheels, the food and even her guests. Lisa watched in silence, oblivious to the dull thump and intermittent crackles which filled the darkness above.

How could she have enjoyed herself on a night like this?

It wasn’t that she didn’t want to be there, Lisa had been planning this occasion for months. She loosened her grip on the balcony, fearing she might snap the chilled metal in two. She took a step away, and supped at her glass once more, swirling the vintage down her throat.

She exhaled breathlessly, feeling the chill of the air nip against her ivory skin, and the simmer of her blood which rose in her cheeks. She sniffed, remembering where she was. A single strip of yellow broke the darkness overhead, screeching as it careened over the courtyard, ending in a sudden, wheezing puff.

Lisa looked into her glass, last remnants of the wine clinging to the bottom, like a crimson lens, darkening. A bloodshot fish-eye. With a flick of her wrist, she hurled the glass into the garden below. She scarcely heard the sudden rustle of leaves, before she had reentered the ballroom, to join the others.

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