Dale sat on the hill above the high school football field. The grass was dead and dry and scratched at his bare legs. He looked down at the meandering masses as the gathering people chose their seats and spots for the fireworks display still 90 minutes away. The hot sun hung just above the horizon; its fat, shimmering heat permeating the muggy evening. Dale peered at it through his sunglasses and silently cursed its wretched warmth.
From where Dale sat he was comfortably out of the view of the scattered populace below, and that suited him fine. People irritated him to no end, and they always had. For Dale, seeing his father -just home from the first skermish in the Middle East called Desert Storm- descend into a pit of sorrowful madness was excruciating. His dad was a strong, proud man, but the war destroyed him from his psyche outward until what was left was a ragged husk that whithered and died like an Autumn leaf. Dale watched it all and stood by his father as waste ate him to death. His father was his hero regardless, but as he slowly died, Dale questioned constantly why his own government -those men he fought for- did nothing to help. Dale was done with people, and he found his solace in an item he discovered in his dad's old Army trunk.
It was a disk about the size of a '45. Its burnished and rough exterior was emblazoned with runes and etchings that meant nothing to Dale... but what did mean something was the pulsating rouge 'eye' in the center. It spoke to him. It comforted him, and it gave him both hope and a job. Dale would soon have the vengeance his dad so richly deserved.
As Dale sat on the grassy mound, he solemnly fingered the trigger of his dad's sniper rifle. It was loaded, and the safety was off. The time was nearly at hand; he just had to wait for the colorful explosions to light up the sky. Next to him, wrapped in a loose rag was the amulet. It thrummed red in unison with Dale's own heart.
The dark night slowly overtook the light of day, and Dale heard the announcement over the school PA system that the fireworks would begin in 15 minutes. Dale laid down and positioned the rifle, and in doing so he kicked the amulet from under the rag and it slid and rolled down the hill onto the night.
Dale froze. His mind cleared from a dense fog that had been blanketing it for what felt like an eternity. He suddenly heard his father's voice. His dad reminded him how much he loved him and that what had made him fall was no fault of Dale's. He told him that by his own choice he fought for the freedoms Dale enjoys and that what he was about to do would solve nothing. Dale heard his father's words and began to weep. What was he doing?
Dale looked up past the sight and saw hundreds of people gathered together in freedom and peace. The fireworks began and their beauty was unmistakable, as was the message for which they stood.
Dale silently thanked his dad, told him he loved him forever, and retreated with his rifle back down the hill as the bombs burst in air behind him.