Clammy. Her hands were always clammy right about now, run with sweat she can’t blot enough. Despised her reaction, the guttural, instinctual need to run and hide, to cower in a corner and never, ever come out, to search out the deepest hole she could and grovel until it all went away. She blinked. Already the stench of cordite seeped to her nostrils, filtered through the cloying air of a late autumn evening turning to freezing mist.
Above, clouds reflect red from dancing flame, magnified by the thickening fog, and the sound of the crowd washed over her, energised, anticipative, gleeful. A baying of wolves, a pack of starving beasts ready for the spectacle of 5th of November, milling with their families, a cloying mass she couldn’t hope to escape. She loathed them. But still…
“Madam Mayor, we’re ready. Are you?”
As always,she’s taken unaware and chokes back bile to nod at the speaker, a shadow in the gloom, backlit only by the ruddy bonfire. Her imagination runs wild and, for a split second, devils and imps dance, gathered in a final, last, effort to bring about the inevitable.
She presses a red button and the world explodes in light.