Wednesday, 1 November 2017

Bedtime Story (1/11/2017)

By the time this story goes life, Bonfire Night will be just a few days away!  I figured, in that case: why not write a topical story?!

The podcast version of this story can be found here.

Fireworks For Felicity

Every year, once Halloween was over and done with, all of Felicity's friends started to get really excited about Christmas.  But not Felicity.  Felicity had something very important to get excited about way before she could start thinking about tinsel, presents or any of the other good things about Christmas.  

Felicity absolutely loved Bonfire Night.

Every November, there would be a bonfire in the field on the outskirts of town.  Mum and Dad would dress Felicity and her little sister Lily in their warmest coats, hats, scarves and gloves and they'd bundle into the car to drive down.  Once they arrived, Mum would lead them through the growing crowd and lay a big, wooly blanket on the ground, whilst Dad would head to a waiting food van, to buy everyone a hot dog.  They would all sit together on the blanket, eating their food as the bonfire was lit.  If it was really cold, they'd take a flask of hot chocolate and sip it slowly to warm themselves up.  Once they'd eaten, Mum would buy the girls some sparklers and show them how to hold them safely in their gloved hands and wave them around, so that bright yellow patterns appeared in the air.  The sparklers would burn down and fizzle out, leaving a smoky trail, disappearing up towards the stars.  Sometimes, they'd have a toffee apple as they waited for Felicity's favourite part of the night: the fireworks.

BANG!  The fireworks would whizz into the air and explode into beautiful colours and patterns, lighting up the night sky.  Mum would gently place her hands over Lily's ears, but Felicity loved the noise.  She loved watching the colours burst out of the blackness and fizzle out as they tumbled to the ground.  She liked to look around at the excited faces of the crowd, all pointing and shrieking as the sky lit up again and again.  

When it was all over, Felicity would be lost in daydreams, watching the plumes of smoke breeze slowly away, until the night was normal, again.  She and Lily would climb back into the car and were always fast asleep by the time they got home.

Yes, every year, Felicity looked forward to Bonfire Night and this year was no exception.  But, on the morning of the fireworks display, a terrible thing happened...

Felicity woke up with her head pounding, her throat sore and her nose in need of a tissue.  Mum came into her room and gasped.  "You look awful!"  She took Felicity's temperature and shook her head.  "You're not well," she confirmed.  "You'll have to stay home from school today.  And I don't think you're well enough to go out tonight, either."

Felicity begged and pleaded, but it was no use.  Devastated, she sulked in her room, all day long.  She refused to eat any breakfast or lunch.  She stayed in bed, not wanting to talk to a single soul.  She barely even spoke to Lily, when she got home from school.

When Dad got home from work, Felicity rushed downstairs, with all the energy she could muster.  "I'm - achoo - feeling lots - sniff - better, now," she lied.  But it was no use.  Dad agreed with Mum; Felicity was too poorly to go out for Bonfire Night.  They'd all have to stay home, that year.  Felicity's face fell and her eyes brimmed with tears.  

"It'll still be special," Mum promised.  She looked at Dad and, without saying a word, they came up with a plan.  

"Come on, Lily," Dad called.  "You and I have to pop out for a minute."

Felicity was furious.  Why was Lily going out somewhere, whilst she was stuck indoors?  In despair, she hurried back up to her room and threw herself onto the bed.

A little while later, just as Felicity was lying in bed, reading her favourite book in an effort to cheer herself up, she heard footsteps coming up the stairs.  Her bedroom door opened and in strolled her mum, wearing - to Felicity's surprise - a thick dressing gown and warm slippers.

Felicity sat up.  "Are you poorly, too?"

Mum shook her head and ushered Lily into the room.  She was wearing a dressing gown and slippers, too!  Mum smiled at Felicity.  "Come on," she said.  "Out of bed!  We've got to wrap up warm and if we're not wearing coats and hats, it'll have to be dressing gowns and slippers, instead."

Felicity frowned as she clambered out of bed.  "What's going on?"

"You'll see!"  Lily giggled, as Mum disappeared and came back with the large, wooly blanket they used each year.  She spread it out on Felicity's floor.   Lily pulled two, perfectly wrapped toffee apples out of her dressing gown pocket.  "We're not allowed to eat these until we've finished our hotdogs," she explained.

"Hotdogs?!"  Felicity gasped.  Suddenly, Dad came into the room, carrying a plate full of hotdogs in one hand and a flask of hot chocolate in the other.

"If you're too poorly to go out for Bonfire Night, then we'll just do it right here, instead," he smiled.  He flicked off Felicity's bedroom light, leaving the door open just enough to let in some light from the hallway.  "I know it's not quite the same," he admitted.  "But it's the best we can do."

Just then, Lily pointed to the window, as colourful bursts of light went whizzing into the sky.  "Mum doesn't even have to cover my ears," she grinned.  "It's not so loud, from in here!"

Felicity snuggled up next to her Mum.  She ate her hotdog and her toffee apple, all the while, watching the bright display through her bedroom window.  It wasn't quite the same.  But all the best bits were there.

"Thank you," she whispered, as the last firework fizzled into smoke.  "This was really lovely."

Mum and Dad turned to look at her, but Felicity - just like every year - had fallen fast asleep, with a smile on her face.


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