“Everyone have a good view? It’s going to start in a second.”
Dan moved closer to the edge of the building, the cold wind grabbing at his coat. Around him the crowd bunched together slightly, trying to share warmth. The real party was being held inside, but first they had to see the kick off. A large 10 appeared above their heads, floating in the sky above the city, there was a brief pause then it started counting down. Dan could feel the flutter of anticipation in his stomach as he watched the numbers count down, as it hit three the crowd started counting down, as they all yelled one it started. Large screaming streaks appeared across the sky, whistling and shrieking, somewhere in the distance there was a large boom and a flash of light, others quickly followed. People raised their glasses and cheered as more and more booms filled the air. To Dan it almost felt like the building itself was shaking. He could hear the sound of air raid sirens, that awful whooping noise that haunted his nightmares. Searchlights lit the sky, scanning wildly, occasionally they would find a target and follow the holographic drones until they were shot down, smashing into buildings in an explosion of lights that left the buildings undamaged and untouched. Then one of the drones was falling towards them, Dan flinched back as it smashed into the side of the roof, you could still see where the old part had been replaced. It exploded, sending shrapnel of lights into the laughing and shrieking crowd. As the crash signalled the end of the most exciting part people started to drift from the edge of the building and most seemed to be making their way inside. Dan followed quickly, draining his drink and grabbing another from a passing tray as he went. He always hated the Night of Remembrance, ever since he was a child. He didn’t understand why they needed to recreate the battle with these light shows. Mostly he kept those thoughts to himself, anytime he’d brought it up he’d been labelled as a killjoy and on more than one occasion, unpatriotic.
Dan enjoyed the warmth of the room as it washed over him, people were chatting now, the light, soothing piano music filled the room, blocking out most of the noise from outside. The festival would continue for the rest of the night, until the final bomb fell and then the buildings that had been hit would appear to be on fire, the flames growing with the rising sun before fading away. It really was quite beautiful, if you didn’t think too hard about what you were looking at. Dan grabbed another drink, there was nothing more he’d love than to just go to bed, but it was tradition that everyone stayed up until the last flames went out. Around him people were laughing and chatting, Dan stood at the window, looking out at the flashes of lights, hearing the faint booms and crashes. He remembered watching the holographic people jumping from buildings when he was a boy, how if you went to the streets you could see bloodied holographs stumbling around in shock. They had been removed from the recent displays, they said it was because it was too distasteful and vulgar, Dan knew it was because it showed people the true horror of war. Now it was reduced to almost nothing, just pretty lights and loud sounds. Dan turned from the window, feeling faintly sick, he took a slow deep breath then a sip of his drink. He just had to get through this night then it would be over again for another year.