The fiery crackles and the smattering splashes of carnival colors set against the backdrop of the starry night sky drew people from their homes in slow droves, as he knew it would.

Family after family waded into their yards barefoot, lush summer grass tickling their toes as orgasmic smorgasbords of light and sound erupted above them. Missile after missile shot into the air, combusting into shapes heretofore unknown- strange conglomerations of polygons, octagons and cylindrical spheres- while the colors combined into an elegant smear across the skyline- deep, majestic purples feeding into glittering golds and shimmering silvers, all tinted with a faint red hue, almost the color of fresh blood. So magnanimous were the colors and so cacophonous the sounds, no one took any notice of the queer odor dancing about on the cool night air.

It was not quite the smell of smoke, but something equally indicative of a coming fire. The people of the town could not be blamed for failing to notice; only someone who had encountered that particular scent before could be expected to recognize its importance. He knew it well.

Smiling, he launched rockets upon rockets into the local atmosphere, shivering as the fantastic explosions released the insidious chemical into the unsuspecting air. It was his newest prototype and was certain to waft and waver throughout every square inch of the small town. Any soul who dared to breathe during the next hour unknowingly invited the unstable aerosol into their unprepared nervous system. The first of them would be sick by morning. The last of them would be as still as stones within a week.

His grin contorted and froze onto his blotched face as he fired the last of the projectiles, the chemicals already working their engineered magic on the stunted synapses of his cerebral cortex. The final rockets ignited to form a near-spinning heart, a finale worthy of his last performance.