Flames Of Hope

1st in the 'Just Keep Writing 2019' competition

A tight wisp of air from within my mouth escapes sharply into the strong breeze. Tight icicles of mist invade my unexpecting nostrils. My withered hands are trying to fight the heavy wind. Many people pass me by, pretending I'm not there.
I find a desolate alley and lie my crippled body down on the cool hard ground. Watching the glowing, glistening lights of the town festival, it reminds me of fire, THE fire.
A miniscule boy skips from the direction of the lights and music, his hair gelled back, wearing a brown woollen vest over a checked flannel. His light brown eyes reflect the moon.
His carefree gait reminds me of my lost girl Aurora and her face that lit up as she went on carousels and licked fairy floss off her button nose. The joyful glare is too much. My eyelids are heavy - I drift off with a beautiful memory in my head.
A rainbow lorikeet elegantly flies over me. It's a stunning day. The sky is scudded with cotton wool clouds. What a great day to live in! Out of the corner of my eye, I see the boy from last night, this time in school uniform. He's walking along the bridge, heading towards the state school. He looks happy, but not as happy as when he was at the carnival. His euphoric smile reminds me of Aurora on her first day of school.
More memories of Aurora come flooding in; being held tight in my arms while beastly jaws clasped over us. Embers spitting up onto my darling child. Her eyes blinking for the very last time. Her hands wriggling for the very last time. The fire that sent my house and my hope up in flames, the place that had my bundle of joy in it.
At 3.00pm, the school bell rings, its sound echoes throughout the busy city. The boy strolls along the bridge. His posture has been changed, his back is straight and his chest is out, booming with pride as he holds a slip of paper as though it were a precious gem. He leaps into the air with his smile reaching out to his ears. The wind suddenly blows the slip towards me. When I catch it, strangely I boom with pride too. It's a paper with A plus on it.
The boy rushes towards me, and doesn’t recoil at my sight, like so many others. He approaches me, seemingly without fear, “Hello” he says, his voice gentle and quiet. “Thank you for catching my test.”
I manage to stutter out the words, “Congratulations! What's your name?” I stare into his brown, soulful eyes. “Dillon.” He stays and talks awhile and my spirit soars.
Later, as he scurries away, I remember that Dillon means ray of hope. I've got a dream to make a change, because I know hope is not a dream, but a way of making dreams become reality.

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