The sun hung low in the sky, and the last rays of the day glinted off of the water, reflecting the row of oak trees that marched along the river’s edge. She twirled the stem of the wine glass idly between her fingers as she gazed into its burgundy depths. Water lapped lazily at her legs as she sat on the edge of the dock. Her sandals were in a tidy pile alongside the bottle of Merlot she had lifted off of the drink table back at the party. She could hear the music from here, the soft strains of jazz filtered through the trees. She had spotted this peaceful spot earlier in the evening and had made a quiet exit once she was sure no one would notice. She simply was not in the mood for company at this moment. It seemed as if she couldn’t bring herself to be in the mood for anything anymore. A slight breeze stirred dark hair that draped in loose waves around her shoulders and she lifted her face to the wind, feeling its feathery touch caress her cheeks.

Sipping her wine, she felt a comforting weight in her lap, something she carried every day with her. Her fingers glide over its surface, tracing its outlines and curves. Contemplating if today should be the day. For a change. For a new beginning. A trio of mallards swam past her, their brilliant green plumage stark against the dull color of the water. She followed their movements, envious of the seemingly simple life they enjoyed. A brief, bitter laugh escaped her lips as her thoughts wandered to the past events she had experienced over the previous few months.

But today had been a good day. Her balcony was overfilled with flowers and herbs, and she had sat among them with her coffee this morning, their scents filling her senses. Afterwards, she had gone for a run around the neighborhood, watching the people living around her go around their daily activities. Work had even gone well, with none of crazy, hectic chaos. And now she sat here, the dark woody, berry taste of the wine lingering on her tongue, as the sun dipping down beneath the horizon. The serenity of the place and moment overtook her, almost convincing her that she was entirely alone, that the world around her had faded away to nothing more than a distant memory, that she was the only soul left. A burst of laughter from beyond the trees shattered the illusion, and she smiled wryly. She sipped the last of the wine in her glass and thought fondly of a time when her world was filled with happiness, even if it had only been an idyllic dream. She would find that joy again, somewhere. In a new place.

As dusk darkened the sky, someone on the far bank began shooting fireworks. Showers of white glittered and rained down, seeming to surround her as they fell. Back at the party, she knew everyone was gathering at the edge of the lawn to gaze up at the display. She could see glimpses of them through the trees and underbrush, their chatter ceasing as they focused instead on the night sky.

Holding glasses of Guinness and wine, the cluster of friends reclined on blankets reserved for such an occasion and exclaimed over the colors that flamed in the darkness. Sharp reports cued the incredible displays that followed. The pyrotechnics grew more frequent until culminating in the finale of strident bursts of sound and colors filling the sky. Staring up at the sky, no one noticed the extra blast that rang out. Eyes nearly blinded by the brilliant flashes of light, no one noticed the slim form with long dark locks floating down the current before them. As it ended, the party goers drifted back to the house, refilling their glasses and picking up conversations that had been interrupted. Laughter and voices filled the dark until the party ended, with friends bidding fond farewells. Not until late the next morning did someone come across a lonely pair of shoes, an empty bottle with a glass by its side, and a steel revolver lying on the edge of the dock.

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