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Friday, December 6, 2013

Observing the Coffee Shop People... And a Little Love and Passion - Entry 3


 Image courtesy of Sura Nualpradid /FreeDigitalPhotos.net
This story started as I sat at the coffee shop on writing days observing people for character development.

Reading over it one day I  decided to write a short story based on the characters.  I kept it in the form of a journal.


December 6….
Been busy preparing for the holidays now.   Worked very hard on hiking story, finished it and sent it out to several friends to read.  This could be a mistake since these friends are not writers.

Here I am, back at the coffee shop.  Need to clear up my writer’s block.   I get scared sometimes – maybe I have no ideas for stories; or I could have too many.  Maybe this whole crazy notion to be a writer in my retirement years is just that, a crazy notion.  I must want something out of this part of life.

Trying to write. I have been exercising to motivate my mind.  Physical activity and the brain must be connected some how, though I certainly haven’t found the connection out running the track.  Keep ‘looking for the words’. Where are they?

Today’s characters…two old people.

She intensely reads the paper.  Dresses for comfort not for style, but is style important when you are elderly?   Her bulky sweatshirt seems to be the only means of keeping the cold winter temperatures away.  Her stocking cap sits snuggly on her short thin gray hair.  Maybe no one told her that her hair was pretty.  She has an Eleanor Roosevelt look to her.  You can see at no time in her life was she a beauty, but her intense concentration on her newspaper shows a search for knowledge, for information.  She defiantly does not want to live her life uninformed.  To her being ignorant to the facts of the world around her would be a violation of life.

Her husband approaches the table after searching the bookstore.  He is also a well-seasoned reader.  Odd couple they are.  Even in his advanced years it can be seen he has always been better looking than her.   Society always wonders why is a good-looking man with such a homely woman? 

Question of mankind again: why must the woman be beautiful?   Why do we question this situation when it exists, homely woman - good looking-man?  Look at birds; the peacock is the stunning bird while the peahen is the drab and plain bird, but look at what she can produce.  The ugly man with the beautiful woman, good for him they say.  The handsome man with the ugly woman raises the question, what is wrong with him?  Has anyone ever thought some people may look at the inner soul and not the outer wrapping?  Many wonderful people are overlooked just because they are not beautiful.  Shame on us!....



© Copyright 2013   Eileen A Partak

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Power

Image courtesy of Idea go/FreeDigitalPhotos.net 
What is the power 
that fuels my soul
the love that keeps
me forever strong

Am I the master
of my body
who found the part
that is really me


© Copyright 2013   Eileen A Partak




Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Observing the Coffee Shop People... And a Little Love and Passion - Entry 2

Image courtesy of Sura Nualpradid /FreeDigitalPhotos.net
This started as a writing exercise as I sat at the coffee shop observing people for character development.

Reading over it one day I  decided to write a short story based on the characters.  I kept it in the form of a journal.

November 5….

Haven’t written or studied writing for a week.   The process does make me think young.   It does put me in an emotional slump if I don’t write…so write! 

Make room for writing. Make room for studying how to write and make room for research.  Bought study books and some sort of writing software today.  What am I looking for now, a new career as a writer or a new hobby?  Looking for something, maybe answers.  All these years of working all these years of living, there must be some answer to something I want to know.  But what do I want to know?

Who will be my character study today?  There, the Coffee Shop Couple –
They are young, but been together for a while, probably were high school sweethearts before marrying.  He is very good looking and in good shape.  She seems to have been pretty once, maybe the “Prom Queen”. Years have put pounds on her, so many she is on her way to being handicapped, has trouble walking. 

They sit and read, they must make the coffee shop/book store a regular habit.  I should talk I think I’m a regular now.  They comment on their reading but are pretty much in their own “cell”.  Him especially.  She makes comments he faintly listens, but he still loves her, kisses her when she needs his help getting off the chair. But he is missing something, he lives comfortable but needs a more charged emotional, physical life, it shows on his face and in his eyes. 

How does it happen?  How does love move into such drudgery?   Shouldn’t we always care, shouldn’t we always try.  What makes passion and desire take a nap with the one we thought would keep it alive?  Do we live too long?  Make too many personality changes so we out grow people, move on from what we felt and thought was our life dream.  Do our social rules stop us from letting our human side live as it was meant to live?

Make note: examine humans, their daily social routine and desires, both controlled and non-controlled.  Get more coffee...



© Copyright 2013   Eileen A Partak

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Eternal Ballerina

Image courtesy of sattva /FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Ballet was her only passion in life
Then he entered one cold autumn night
In the front row eyes fixed only on her

Back stage that night he came to meet her
As love fluttered inside both of their hearts
Now a new passion came to her life

Every night he came to watch her dance
While no other she saw in the room
Her performance on stage only for him

He asked for her to love only him
Love for him only was all she desired
Together forever they would dance

Late one October night he was to meet
In the parlor to take her away
There she waited ready to give him her heart

Hours soon passed as pain grew in her heart
Where was he at this night so important?
Dancing she would until they could meet

She danced and danced on that Halloween Eve
Soft music filling the room all night
Patiently she waited for her only love

Tonight she watches for that one love
Hoping he will show up for her this time
As she waits for him to take her away
Every year on Halloween Eve


© Copyright 2013   Eileen A Partak


video

                                                                               video courtesy of Andy Partak Imagery 






Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Observing the Coffee Shop People... And a Little Love and Passion - Entry 1

Image courtesy of Sura Nualpradid /FreeDigitalPhotos.net
This started as a writing exercise as I sat at the coffee shop observing people for character development.

Reading over it one day I  decided to write a short story based on the characters.  I kept it in the form of a journal.



October 29….
It’s two days after my fifty-sixth birthday…oh… almost said twenty-six but that is how I feel inside.  It is hard some days to keep feeling that I have time to reach a goal.  Yes, I feel young, and then I pass the mirror and see time has not forgotten me.   Sure my hair is silver but I was in my twenties when that started, premature I’d say then, but not now.   My face doesn’t have the river of wrinkles some women my age have, but anyone can tell at first glance that I belong to AARP.

Now here I am sitting at the coffee shop that is inside the bookstore, sipping on a large dark coffee.  Bought another book today, trying to purchase a new book each week.  Keep reading every day. Keep writing every day this is the goal for my new life. Retirement and living fifty-six years - I have to have a plan.

The clerk at the coffee shop is very friendly.  An African-American woman in her late 40’s, maybe early 50’s, plump with short curly hair, glasses and a classic face, regular looking not a beauty but not unattractive. She would be the type that would dress up well.   Seems to be confidant, caring, would be the person you want for your friend. Kind of reminds me of Aretha Franklin, yes she is my Aretha Franklin.  Her words to me as she handed me my coffee was “Your hair is so pretty.”  Fifty-six, yes I do need to hear those words.

Becoming a writer at this age is not unheard of.  Baby Boomers can achieve anything we want. We are a positive group, but try telling that to the young generation, they are in charge now.  So I dream seeing my first novel on the bestseller list - sure that is a dream.

I thought coming to the coffee shop might give me inspiration to become that writer.  Keep a journal they say, so I’m starting a journal.  If I hadn’t given up my dream of writing to be a wife and mother maybe I could look over to a whole section in the bookstore just for my novels - again in my dreams.

Observe people this will create characters, this will help me be a writer and will also keep me friendly.  Be friendly and friendly energy comes to you!  Whatever.  I’m fifty-six now, what can I say - be friendly - think young.   Oh please don’t let me be old and fade away.

Make note: Come to coffee shop once a week for inspiration. Write during the rest of the week...




© Copyright 2013   Eileen A Partak

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Captured Fire - Final

Image courtesy of suphakit73 /FreeDigitalPhotos.net
This is the Final
installment of the 
short story 
Captured Fire

This story is the story of a nine-year-old boy,
Robbie, who enters a magical world where he learns about the meaning of life,
friendship, and respect for others.


***
 Jason sat in the tree watching the show. He wasn’t sure if he enjoyed this new life, which he didn’t understand at all.  Robbie having a firefly body and being a tiny person himself, he was ready to accept living a miniature life if this is where he was to remain. But he was really scared. The horror of seeing the capture and death of the fireflies the night before remained in his memory, he didn’t know how he could forget that scene. Watching the neighborhood boys playing tonight, he feared for his own life.  He started to think of the beetles as he would if they had been friends in his normal world. Robbie introduced him to many of the residents; he talked with them as if he were visiting with humans in his own world. He saw the hospital where the injured were recovering, and worse of all he attended the memorial services for the many who perished in the battle. He felt the sadness and was embarrassed. Yes it was a battle. Several nights ago he never would have, he then considered it only a fun time.  Now he didn’t consider this a dream it was a living nightmare for sure. Panic was his close friend and total trauma not far behind. 

The King was not happy that Jason was brought into the firefly land, this was usually reserved for those who were special, and very few times in their history had any Land-one been in their kingdom. Some had been allowed to enter as they desperately searched for the chosen one, but time and time again it proved not to be the one.  Rosella had to explain to him it was a necessity to allow Jason.  “We both know Robbie is the chosen one who is the rightful savoir our world has been waiting for.  I may have acted abruptly with my magic, which I know should be used sparingly, but it seemed the only thing to do at the time,” she hoped she could get the King to understand her action. “He was trying to kill Robbie, and we do know how well these Land-ones accomplish that deed.”

King Huron looked at her, one eye cocked waiting to hear more that would convince him this was the correct thing to do. “So what do you intend to do with this boy? Do you keep him here indefinitely, and if that the case, what do we do with him? Are your plans to send him back to his land, let him continue what he has been doing, or worse he tells his adventure, which, may interfere with Robbie’s purpose. Tell me my dear Rosella, what is your plan?” 

Rosella’s mind raced trying to figure out answers to the Kings questions while trying not to look panicked, the state she was now entering. In as calm of a voice as she could, she answered, “I do think sending him back to his own land is what should be done. I know you worry he may interfere with the purpose.  If I am allowed, by Your Majesty, to use some more magic I could erase his mind, not completely, keeping the memory of the horror they do to us, but he would not be quite sure why he felt that way,” she kept her confidence while looking with hope toward the King.

King Huron sat for a moment in thought, Rosella became a slight bit nervous at the silence.   “The use of our magic is limited as you know. More has been used with this project than ever before. I could grant you additional use of magic for this purpose. My only agreement for this use is your confidence that young Robbie is our chosen one. You have assured me of this fact, are you still completely sure he is the one?”

She sat thinking long and hard. Much depended on her belief that Robbie was the one. She reviewed the facts that led her to this decision. First his kindness releasing her from captivity. Then there was his looks, and she did see his grandmother and had a positive feeling.  The energy she felt with all these encounters, to her, was a true sign that he was the one. “Yes Your Majesty I am sure of who he is. Let me return this boy, whom I do believe came upon us to be a catalyst in Robbie’s purpose. We all know without the true chosen one nothing can be accomplished, we have failed before, but I assure you this time it is correct.”

King Huron listened with great thought to what was presented to him by Rosella. He knew his land needed help soon.  Rosella had always been a close confidant to him, he respected her thoughts and actions, and held her close in his heart. “I grant permission to your request. Go do what must be done. Luck to you and all our land.”

“Jason come we need to talk,” Rosella landed next to him on the oak tree. She had just returned from her meeting with King Huron. 

Jason looked at Rosella, happy to see her but still so frightened as to what the future held. “Come I will take you back to your home. I will try to explain things.” The little fleas where commanded to lift the boy and fly him along side Rosella back to the garage.

Once they arrived she told him what would happen. “Jason I am not sure if I was correct in bring you here, but I did and have told the King. You will be returned to your home place, but you will not remember most of this,” Jason sat looking, nodding his head not sure what he was to say or do. “You will sleep. When you awake go to your mother. Tell her you are fine, not hurt, but that you did see Robbie and he is fine. Once I leave you, you will not be able to remember where you were.  I do assure you, the effects of the massacre you saw will stay with you always, remembering the details of your stay here will be erased from you memory.”

Jason only looked at her with a blank look on his face, slowly nodding, not understanding a thing.  Rosella then raised her hands over the boy, recited some magical words – poof – Jason once more was his normal size. Rosella turned her head, seeing the boy was a little embarrassed at being naked, and told him where she hide his clothing. Once dressed she had him lie down on the workbench, again she recited some magical words and Jason fell fast asleep. Her work done, she hurried back to the firefly land to see how Robbie was doing.

 The faint smell of antiseptic and the hum of whispers woke Robbie.  He slowly opened his eyes not sure where he was; only knowing his mind was cloudy and he had trouble moving. 

“He’s awake I think he’s moving,” an excited Martworth called out. “Robbie are you okay? It’s me. Thanks to you I'm alive. You almost died saving me. I know now you were trying to warn me of the danger. I see how things can happen by accident, everyone I was with are dead, and it is my fault.”  Martworth put his head down on the side of Robbie’s bed sobbing.

Robbie tried to move his arm to touch Martworth, but the pain rushing through his body restricted his movements. Tears moistened his cheeks with happiness knowing he saved his friend, but the tears were also tears of sadness for the lose of the members of the squad.

“Maybe some things in life cannot be stopped and death is a part of life. Robbie you are my friend, I know now you didn’t intend to kill my father,” he fought the tears welling in his eyes, “I know it was an accident, you didn’t know. Forgive me for blaming you.”

“I know now too how important all life is. Just because some lives are different than your own doesn’t mean they are not important. Respect for all is important.  I will work as hard as I can to make everyone realize this.”  Then Robbie closed his tear filled eyes and nodded; with a smile on his face he drifted off to a much-needed nap.

Slowly Robbie opened his eyes, everything was a blur.  When things finally came into focus he saw that he was lying on a crushed rose bush in Nana’s garden with red petals scattered around him.  His arm was hurting and he ran his fingers over a puncture and a few scrapes on his arms.  He stood up trying to understand what had happened, then he saw Nana coming out of the potting shed carrying a garden statue. He stared at the concrete flower fairy she was holding, it was a total replica of Rosella. Nana seeing his condition put the statue down and went into the shed and brought out an old picnic blanket to cover him up.

“Come and help me find a good place for my new statue in the rose garden,” she said calmly as if Robbie had not been missing all summer long.  They placed the concrete Rosella between two yellow bushes; the color Robbie remembered her dress to be. “Come on and let’s get you cleaned up,” she said putting her hands on his shoulders guiding him to the house. Still silent he moved stiff like a robot clenching his hands in fists as they walked slowly into the house.

As Nana filled the bathtub with warm sudsy water Robbie opened his hand and found a small rosebud and an acorn cap in his palm. He stood there staring down at it as the past experiences flashed through his mind.

“Nana I had a dream, at least I think it was a dream, but I am holding a part of it still.” He proceeded to tell her about catching the giant firefly that turned out to be a fairy and how he said the magic words that took him to the magical underground flower world. “And I was turned into a firefly … and I made friends … Jason was there, the fairy made him tiny too.”  Tears came to his eyes as he recalled the injuries and deaths of his new friends and the horror finding out he killed the father of his new best friend. “I think it was a dream, it had to be, how could something like that be real. I guess I fell down and hurt my head.”  He looked again at the small treasurers in his hand and then at Nana.  She smiled a loving knowing smile at him, “You take your bath now and then I think a little a nap is what you need.”

Robbie woke up to voices in the front room.  He quietly got out of bed and peeked out the door.  Mama, Dad and Nana where sitting with two police officers who were questioning them.

“That is all I know,” Nana said in a quiet voice, “there he was sleeping in the garden. He was a little dirty and had a few cuts on his face and arms but otherwise fine.”

“Where did he say he was, did he say who took him?” the round officer with the deep penetrating voice asked as the thin officer with the kind eyes wrote down everything said.

“No he didn’t,” she said looking him straight in the eye, “all he talked about was a dream he had, a fairytale dream.  He does have a huge imagination you know.”

The round officer was getting impatient. “If you don’t tell us more how can we bring in the kidnapper? We’ve had two boys taken in this neighborhood and no one can tell us where they were and what happened while they were gone. We have boys saying they saw bugs that looked like the boys. Whatever has been going on here we have to get to the bottom of it, we need all the information anyone has.”

Nana raised an eyebrow and smiled her crooked little smile.  “Well maybe they weren’t kidnapped.  Children do have vivid imaginations. I think Robbie hit his head in the potting shed. I found a crate and a few things knocked over in there. He must have been disoriented and wandered off to one of the secret meeting place boys have, you know they do like to have their own space. I think he was just sleeping. ”

“All summer?” the officer growled.

“Didn’t you do something when you were a little boy and then too frightened by it to face your parents?  I am positive that is what happened, he wasn’t hurt just a little dirty and now he is home.”

“That doesn’t explain where the other boy was,” the kind eyed officer said as he put away his notebook.

“Oh Jason, that boy,” Nana laughed, “I’m sure he wandered off so everyone would be looking for him. That boy just wants to be the center of attraction all the time.  Now if you will excuse me I do have to attend to my roses.”

Robbie still peeking out the door watched her stand up and look over his way.  With a little wink and a smile, she left the room.

Everyone looked at each other, then Mama said, “Maybe she is right, you know how boys  are.  We’ll take him to the doctor to make sure he doesn’t have a concussion and all is well with him.”

The officers stood up to leave, “Well we can’t do any more, this case is dead.  Call us if you know more details. Let’s just hope no more children disappear, or get hurt, or worse next time.”

Robbie closed the door and went back to bed, he knew no one else would disappear as he did. With a smile he snuggled down in the soft warm blankets happy to be in his own bed.

Life went on as normally as it could.  Robbie was checked out by the doctor who said he was not hurt in any way and in fact very well nourished. Wherever he was he was taken care of  wonderfully.

The boys still played their games at night but in harmony with no one being in charge.  Everyone was careful when catching the fireflies. Robbie made sure they all released them when the game was complete.   All the children in the neighborhood wanted bug boxes like Robbie’s. Robbie, Jason and a few of the other boys on Mayberry street spent several days building boxes. When finished they loaded them in a wagon and went house to house selling. The money they collected was given to the city park to help maintain the rose garden.  Their parents were happy everyone was back home and safe but very bewildered by the change in their play and this new concern for the environment.  As long as they were happy, and no more children disappeared, they did not question the actions.

Robbie was happy to be back home and to be a boy again, but he did miss the new friends he made, especially Martworth.  One occasion he did doubt himself, wondering if he really did just hit his head and his adventures were just a dream. 

“Nana, do you think fairies are real?” he asked one night while they sat on the back porch after dinner.

“Of course I do. Look at the fairy that looks after my rose garden. Don’t you think she is real?’

Robbie sighed. “Sure I do.” He thought for a moment. “Nana, do you think fireflies have feelings and know how to talk to each other?”

Nana laughed, “so many questions Robbie.  How could they not have feelings they are alive. And look at them in the sky now. See the wonderful light show they give us.  You don’t think they practice that show, you don’t think they know what they are saying to each other with every blink of their light. Yes Robbie, I know they have feelings and talk to each other. I know that for a fact, don’t you?”

She sat back smiling, looking at the sky. Yes he did know that. He also looked up at the light show, knowing which light would flash next. Then over to the right of the symphony of lights he saw one light blinking on and off.  He read the code it was flashing.  “Robbie I Miss You – Your Friend Martworth.”

End

© Copyright 2013   Eileen A Partak


Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Captured Fire - Part 10

 Image courtesy of suphakit73 /FreeDigitalPhotos.net
This is the Tenth
installment of the 
short story 
Captured Fire

This story is the story of a nine-year-old boy,
Robbie, who enters a magical world where he learns about the meaning of life,
friendship, and respect for others.


***


Word of the rescue spread through the village by the time Robbie and the others returned.  Martworth greeted him as he entered their dorm room.

“Robbie I heard of your heroic feat saving our brothers. I do think you will be a historic figure and a group named for you after this.  If only you had been around that terrible night my father was killed,” Martworth said with a sadness coming to his face. “Maybe things could have turned out different.”

Then he looked over and saw Jason standing behind Robbie.  “Who are you?” he asked with a rude tone to his voice.

“Martworth this is my friend Jason.  He is here to also help me with the purpose,” Robbie said moving out of the way so Jason could step forward to acknowledge himself.

“Well nice to meet you,” Martworth extended his beetle hand out to greet Jason.

Jason hesitated, and then slowly extended his shaking hand a little. Each new situation still was difficult for his brain to grasp.

“Well any friend of Robbie’s can be a friend of mine, as long as you aren’t the Land-one they call the ‘terrorizing menace’.  I welcome you and hope we can be friends,” Martworth gave Jason a pat on the back.

“Oh, I’m not the terrorizing menace,” Jason said with a laugh, “Robbie is the one who won that title.  You should see how fast he can catch fireflies he always gets the most and…” Jason trailed off when he remembered where he was and whom he was talking to.

Martworth’s face turned pale, as pale as a firefly’s face could.  Then he looked at Robbie, as tears started to fill his eyes, “You!? You are the one! The killer of my father!” Then he turned and stormed out of the room.

Robbie tried calling after him. “Wait it’s not what you think, I didn’t know then, I did change that is why I am here.  Please Martworth understand.” But Martworth was out of sight.

Robbie looked at Jason. “Sorry,” Jason said actually sounding like he meant it.
But his sorry couldn’t help make anything better. Robbie realized he was the one responsible for the death of Martworth’s father, but how was he to know.

“Come on Jason I’ll show you around,” and the two quietly walked down the hallway.

 Martworth moved out of their dorm room and down the hall to room with Cagewire.  Robbie didn’t saymuch to Jason, and Jason knew enough to keep quiet. It was bad enough he had to figure out how to achieve his purpose he now had to find a way to make things right with Martworth. He went over and over in his mind how he could have been the one responsible for the death of Martworth’s father. He had no idea when it happened or which one he would have been, all he knew, he would feel awful if his father died, let alone killed by one of his friends.

Later that evening all the fireflies met at the regular meeting place under the oak tree.  Jason came along wearing his little flying suit.  Martworth avoided Robbie and laughed extra loud with the others. Robbie had no idea what would happen tonight.  Rosella said she would talk with Jason after she met with King Huron; hopefully something would soon be resolved. The King was skeptical if bringing Jason here was a good idea. 

Robbie took his place with the other fireflies and tried to be enthusiastic with the lightshow, but his heart was not in it tonight. He really missed home, and being a boy. He now wondered why he was even here.   Jason sat in a tree with no expression on his face watching the show.

There weren’t many boys out playing tonight.  Since the disappearance of a second neighborhood child parents were frightened and kept them in as much as possible.  Robbie did his part with his squad; after all he had a responsibility to his job.  He watched the conductor to signal his part in the show, but was distracted by the neighborhood boys at the far end of the yard. They were jumping wildly and swinging big nets on long poles up in the air.  The boys started tiptoeing in slow motion, crouching with a look on their faces that was familiar to him. ‘What are they doing?’ he thought, and then he realized they were using his calculation method to catch fireflies. He looked in the direction the boys were concentrating and there several feet in front of them was the group with Martworth.  The group was casually hovering in the air waiting their turn for the light show forgetting there could be danger surrounding them. They were slowly moving towards the ground as they were listening to Martworth tell a story.  Robbie started to yell as loud as he could to Martworth, forgetting his voice was too small to be heard across the yard. He started fluttering his wings and waving his arms then blinking in code to Martworth to look behind him.  But he ignored Robbie thinking he was just jealous because he could have friends and a good time without him. Martworth decided to take the group away from Robbie’s view and waved them to follow him to the next yard.  They all preceded to follow him without looking were they were going and flew right into the open ready nets the boys held in their path. The boys were astonished and jumped and hooted in jubilant celebration over the catch of the summer. They immediately raced over to a back yard gazebo to survey their prize.

The thought of the horrors before the group engulfed Robbie.  He immediately dropped from the light show and flew over to the group at the gazebo, determined to save his friends. As he approached he saw them squeezing and pulling off wings and bulbs, torturing the little beetles in every way possible.   Martworth was in a complete panic as he helplessly watched; traumatized he made his way up the net away from their grasp. He hid in the folds of the net near the handle where he was out of sight.  He sat crying and praying he would be over-looked and his life spared.  

Robbie, with all the power in his little body, hurried toward the boys and flew right into their faces, pounding them between the eyes.  The boys swatted at him and continued to work over their catch totally unaffected by his attack.   Adrenalin surged in him and non-stop he kept flying at their eyes and noses hoping the continued aggravation would make them forget about what they were doing, and just go back home.  But the boys were not going to let the little tickling of a bug turn them from the biggest treasure they had ever been rewarded. 

Robbie saw Martworth hiding in the net and tried to get his attention. “Help me I’m stuck in here. I think everyone is dead. Don’t get caught,” Martworth cried as Robbie worked to get him untangled.  It was almost impossible to get his little beetle legs out of the strings of the net, especially since the net wouldn’t stay in a stable position. The boys were busy pulling out the remaining fireflies from the bottom.  Someone noticed Robbie and quickly grabbed him since he was a little bigger and brighter than most of the fireflies.

“Hey look at this one.  I think I caught the king of them all. He is huge,” a boy yelled. Using all his strength Robbie struggled to get away from his hold. Just when he thought he was getting away, he heard a ripping sound and the pressure of pain as his bulb was ripped from his body.  Immediately followed by the pain of a wing releasing from his back.  He tried to hold back panic knowing he had to survive so he could save his friend. The fate of the whole colony was his responsibility.  Then he remembered that he was human even though he has a firefly body.  As a hand closed around him he took a big breath, opened his mouth, using his human boy teeth he took a bite out of the finger that surround him.

“Owwww,” the boy gave out a loud yell and dropped his winged prisoner. Robbie rushed back to the net as Martworth watched in disbelief.  The angry boy went after him. “No bug is going to hurt me,” he grabbed Robbie again and enclosed him in his warm moist hands.  Robbie tried to bite him again but found it difficult this time to get his teeth around a finger, the huge boy hand now crushing him.  Robbie prayed, he was sure he now faced death.  Then the boy slowly moved his hand to peer in at the small creature.  As the stream of light and fresh air traveled toward Robbie he imagined this is how it must have been for Rosella when he captured her. A huge blue orb, the eye of the boy, appeared between the fingers, lashes, like spider legs, moved past the blue backdrop as the boy blinked.  Robbie sat still and stared back at the eye. His hand, like the top to a box, slowly moved  off  him and the face of the boy reveled. The boy shook his head and moved in for a closer look.  The boy couldn’t believe what was sitting in his hand. All the talk in the neighborhood these past weeks had been about the missing boys, Robbie and Jason. Now the face of his friend on this firefly and all the chatter in the neighborhood about the boys brought fear to him. He screamed and dropped Robbie, running home shaking and crying.

Now free Robbie made his way up the net to get to Martworth while other boys grabbed the remaining fireflies that were still struggling for life. He was able to keep away from their hands and finally reached his friend who was watching him risk his life in the dangerous journey up the net.

“Can you move your legs from the rope?” Robbie asked as he reached him and tried to untangle the strings wrapped around the tiny body of his friend.

“I think I can, it is pretty tight, but I think I can get out if you can pull it apart.” Martworth made an effort to get free as his friend, bulb hanging and wings torn and broken, worked with all his might to set him free.  The two pulled and worked diligently with the strings of the net, which seemed like heavy ropes to the little beetles. Finally all their hard work paid off and Martworth was set free from what could have been his demise. Robbie collapsed from exhaustion and his injuries.  Martworth held his friend’s broken little body close to him, weeping as he tried to signal for help.

§

© Copyright 2013   Eileen A Partak



Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Captured Fire - Part 9

Image courtesy of suphakit73 /FreeDigitalPhotos.net
This is the Ninth
installment of the 
short story 
Captured Fire

This story is the story of a nine-year-old boy,
Robbie, who enters a magical world where he learns about the meaning of life,
friendship, and respect for others

***
After what seemed an eternity the neighborhood quieted down, only for the voice of a few mothers calling their sons to come in.  The trio flew down to the yard to view the aftermath.  Several jars were scattered in the yard blinking like hazard lights.  They landed next to one that was on its side with the lid off.  Robbie immediately ran into the jar.

“How is everyone, do you need medical help?” he surveyed the interior of the glass prison seeing most were well except for a few bulb amputees. Convinced that things were under control he ran off to the next jar that was standing up right in the yard, Rosella and Jason were already there.  As he approached he saw Jason’s face contorted in a look combined with fear and confusion.  Rosella seemed to be explaining something to him.

“As you can see, without air they can’t breathe, without breath there is no life.”

Robbie saw as he got closer the lid was on the jar and everyone inside was gasping for air.  The hurt and mutilated were lying at one side of the jar.  He had to think fast to try to save them.  There were three of them.  Maybe they could help everyone get out, he thought as he surveyed the jar.

“I’ve got an idea.  The three of us can push the jar and I believe we have enough strength to knock it down.  I got out of the bughouse by myself, I think the three of us can generate enough energy to open that lid.” He ran to the side of the jar and motioned for the others to follow him. Rosella hurried to help while Jason just stood staring at the jar.

“Fairy, why don’t you just use your magic and open the lid? Fix everyone.  Look what you did to me, just go ahead and do this. Help them.”  Jason tried to sound strong but his voice had a quiver to it, maybe even a pleading tone.

Rosella stopped and looked at him shaking her head.  “You just don’t understand do you?  Some things cannot be fixed with magic it takes much more caring and compassion. 
My kind of magic has it limits. Now the heart and love must do the work.”  Then she left him standing and accompanied Robbie in trying to down the jar.

“I think if we put our strength at the very bottom, push with all we have it will probably fall down.” Robbie said with assurance. “Then we can push on the lid and I know we can get it opened.”

Rosella agreed and both squatted down and pushed their hands under the bottom of the jar as far as they could.  On the count of three they both pushed with all their might. The tendons on their necks bulged and their faces turned deep red.  Out of breath they both stopped. Repositioning they tried one more time, this time the jar moved on the ground just a little.  Stopping to catch their breath again Robbie looked inside and saw the fireflies gasping for air but trying to look hopeful for rescue.

“I think we’ve got it now, we know what to do.  It did moved a little.  Just a little harder and we will have it.”  Robbie’s voice was starting to lose the confidence he had started with, but he got down again ready to try one more time.

“One. Two. Three. P U S H.”  They both grunted and strained pushing as hard as they could. The jar teetered just a little and those inside who could move tried to help by running to the other side and jumped up and down. Rosella and Robbie used all their muscle and faith in believing it their responsibility to knock the jar down. 

Robbie was just about to the end of his hope and ready to stop when they both heard a loud screeching and thumping behind them and before they could turn around to see, they were hit from behind with a huge force.  Something went sliding between them and down under the jar in a flash, it was Jason.  In an instant the jar started to rock back and forth in slow motion. As it leaned over farther the fireflies inside all ran up the angle and before anyone could blink an eye, it crashed to the ground. To the small creatures inside it fell with the force of an earthquake.

Panting and exhausted the three were motionless on the ground for a few seconds.  Then Jason stood up, “come on we have to get that lid off,” and he ran off quickly. Rosella and Robbie gave each other a surprised look then got up and joined Jason at the cap of the jar. 

“Okay we have to have a plan, I know we can do this if we all work together.  Look we got it this far.  I got out of the bughouse so with combined energy we can do this.”  The two watched Robbie as his mind worked to calculated how to unscrew the cap with the same concentration he used to calculate catching fireflies.  After all unscrewing a cap is much different when you are a beetle than it is when you are a human boy.

“Okay, if we use the force on this side to push up and force on the other side to push down we should get it opened. Jason you stay here and be the push up guy. I’ll fly to the other side I’ll pull down. Rosella you get on the top and watch how it moves and push up or down as needed.”

They all got to their positions hoping Robbie knew what he was talking about.
The fireflies in the jar looked with anticipation, also praying, that he did.  Robbie landed on the jar ring about midway from the ground and planted his feet as firmly as he could on the slippery glass. Rubbing his hands together he then placed them on the jar ring.  Jason at the same time positioned himself under the ring and dug his little feet into the ground as deeply as he could, placing his hands and his shoulders on the cold metal ring, ready to use all his strength to push.  Rosella flew to the top of the jar ready to see which way she was to push; she had no idea what Robbie wanted her to do.

The jar was quickly losing what little air it had and Robbie knew there was not much time left to get his friends out alive.  He closed his eyes tight, said a little prayer, and yelled. “Now push!”  Jason raised his arms like a weightlifter and Robbie braced himself and started pulling the ring. Rosella saw the best place for her to push was just a little past the middle of the jar.  Adrenaline kicked in for all three and none of them seemed to slow down.  One, two, three times they tried.  “We have to do it this time, or I think we lose,” Robbie yelled to them. All three nodded for they knew he was right, with a deep breath, and a pray, all pushed harder then they ever thought possible.  Finally a little slip of the ring, their little arms shaking and straining, the ring slid and the top popped off.  Robbie lay on the ground dizzy and out of breath as Rosella flew over to him. “Robbie, we did it we actually did it.  For years we have never been able to understand the mechanics of these prisons, we needed you to show us,”  she then flew over to the opening and started to help those who were injured.  Robbie stood up and Jason walked over to him just as the medic crew flew in to take the injured back to the firefly village.

Jason just looked at Robbie dumbfounded, “Wow,” he said.  “I never would have believed any of this.” 

“Me either,” Robbie answered.

§

© Copyright 2013   Eileen A Partak

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Captured Fire - Part 8

Image courtesy of suphakit73 /FreeDigitalPhotos.net
This is the Eighth
installment of the 
short story 
Captured Fire

This story is the story of a nine-year-old boy,
Robbie, who enters a magical world where he learns about the meaning of life,
friendship, and respect for others


***
Robbie rested the next day with the horrible vision of the destruction to his firefly friends by his human friends. It was so vivid in his mind.   He wondered how he was supposed to make everything right. If he could not save the firefly kingdom he would be a firefly forever.

The next night they assembled under the oak tree once more before flying off to their assignment.  The new members of the squad were not filled with the same enthusiasm today. This was not fun and games; now it was a seriously dangerous job.

Martworth received praise from the older squad members for his quick thinking to go for medical help. He was awarded a certificate of commendation.  He was happy to have helped his fellow fireflies, but his thoughts now turned to what his father’s end must have been. It had always been a legend to him, now he knew it was a real happening.

Robbie was under pressure. He had experienced what happens on the side of the fireflies when the boys are playing their game.  This was not a game on this side. Now his mission was to get them to understand. How was he to do that? He was a firefly, even if he were still a boy they wouldn’t listen anyway, they couldn’t understand. Confusion filled his brain more as each minute ticked by.

Barra called them all to formation then off they flew to the neighborhood that was once Robbie’s home, but now a dangerous battlefield.  All the new members flew slowly not wanting to relive the experiences of the night before. Barra kept encouraging them “this is life men. Go do your job, be brave.” Even the mature experienced fireflies worried, but knew they had to go on and do what is expected of them whether they were frightened or not. Life was not always filled with peace.

The neighborhood looked like any summer evening Robbie could remember.  He saw the parents and grandparents sitting on the patios as the kids played in the yards.  But what once was a fun evening of games to him as a boy now brought terror flowing through his little beetle body.

Once again the group performed their light show routine with as much enthusiasm as the night before.   It was a beautiful sight as each bulb flashed at its appointed moment. The choreographed show could be set to the sound of a Mozart symphony.  Robbie seemed to lose himself in the moment finally relaxed and thinking only of his time to flash and the beauty of the evening.

The boys showed up quickly, running and jumping at the Meltor squad. Each firefly flew off as fast and as high as he could still flashing to the symphony.  Robbie panicked as he saw his old friend Jason capture Martworth and pull off his flashing bulb. Martworth struggled falling to the ground yelling for help. Jason took the glowing bulb and placed it on his forehead, “I have a head light,” he laughed as he jumped up and down and the other boys followed his lead all jumping around like little frogs.

Robbie made his way over to Martworth as he lay on the ground with a look of pain in his eyes.  “I’ll make it,” he said, “it’s just a flesh wound.”  He tried to stand up but weakly fell to his knees.

“Don’t move, just stay still while I get you help. You’ll be fine,” Robbie said trying to keep a confident sound to his voice, but all the while he was filled with terror.

Robbie tried to remember the distress flash they were taught in class.  He didn’t pay much attention to it that day not knowing why he would ever need to have such knowledge, now he knew.

It only took two emergency flashes and the medics were at their side.  They carefully lifted Martworth onto a stretcher made from spider webs and down from a milkweed pod and an oak leaf for a cover. Once he saw Martworth was on his way to the hospital, with exploded temper he went in off in search of the boys.

It didn’t take him long to find them in his back yard running and jumping after the Meltor squad.  He wasn’t sure what he was to do, but his anger was so elevated he just flew down at the boys in attack.  The boys were completely startled at the fierceness of this firefly, something they had never expected.  Robbie took advantage of their surprised state and made another dive bomb attack to their faces. The boys were startled and started screaming and swatting at the firefly. Dropping the jars they ran off in the direction of their homes. All that is except Jason he knew this was not an ordinary firefly so he was determined to get his hands on this one.  After several attacks on Robbie’s part, Jason captured Robbie cupping him in his hands. Robbie yelled at the top of his voice calling Jason’s name and stomping on his hand as hard as he could to get his attention.
Jason peered into his hands to see what kind of bug this was that was so active.  He looked closely blinking his eyes and shaking his head to take a closer look. He was in disbelief seeing a firefly in his hand with his friend Robbie’s face and hearing his name called.

“Jason it’s me, Robbie. Please don’t hurt me I need to talk to you.”

“Ro-b-b-i-e?” Jason stuttered still not sure what it was he was looking at. “I must be dreaming, Robbie was kidnapped. I must just be missing him and everywhere I look I see him.”

“No you’re not, it is me. I have become a firefly and I need to talk to you. You have to believe me, don’t hurt me, take me somewhere so we can talk.”

Jason looked closer at the strange firefly sitting in his hand.  Blinking and blinking he finally focused his eyes. His jaw dropped. “It is you!  How … why? I can’t believe this is true.”

“It’s a long story,” Robbie said, “We need to talk. Take me to Nana’s shed.”

Jason, still in shock, carried Robbie carefully in his hands. When they reached the shed Jason placed the special firefly on a shelf.  Robbie explained the whole story starting with the capturing of Rosella, King Huron, the legend of promise, everything that had happened to him.  He told him in detail the horror of being imprisoned in the glass jar and how the fireflies suffered, were injured and many died.  Jason was unsure of the whole thing and it horrified him to think his friend was a firefly. Looking around the shed he found the bughouse and locked Robbie in for the night.

Robbie yelled for Jason to come back. He started flashing distress signals hoping the squad could see him, but to no avail.  He was locked in the shed where he couldn’t be seen or heard.  He spent the night in there worrying about Martworth and about his future, until finally he slept.

In the morning he woke up hearing voices outside the shed.  Mama, Dad and the police were discussing a missing boy, and then he realized it was him they were talking about. His parents were distraught and he started to cry hearing Mama sound so sad.  Nana was with them and tried to comfort them, “He will be back. A boy sometimes needs an adventure and takes off.”  They just pacified Nana, after all she was just an old lady who didn’t understand what was going on.  Robbie wondered why she didn’t sound upset and sad, thinking maybe she didn’t really love him.

 “Mama, Dad, Nana, it’s me Robbie I’m in the shed. I’m a firefly,” he tried yelling as loud as his beetle lungs would allow, but no one heard him. They all walked away and he was left alone in the shed again.

He knew he must find a way out or he would die. “How can I get out? ”  He rested his chin on his little beetle hands thinking, and realized he knew everything about this box because it was his.  “The entrance is at the top of the box and all I have to do is fly up and slide the little panel on the blue roof and I will be out.”

The idea was a good one, but he forgot he was not a large human boy any more and the box was made to keep the fireflies in.  It was very hard to move the panel now. He placed his front legs flat on the panel and braced his back legs against the sidewall that the panel rested up to.  He pushed all his legs in each direction as hard has he could, he pushed and pushed but nothing happened.  He collapsed on the wood, hot, tired, and ready to cry.

“This was so much easier to do as a boy. I don’t think I will ever get out.” He sat back closing his eyes and cried.  He laid there for a few minutes in defeat and then visions of his fellow fireflies being captured and suffocated filled his mind. “ I will get this opened I must do this for the whole kingdom.”  More determined than ever he pushed and pushed all his legs shaking and his head feeling like it would explode.  Finally the panel opened and he flew out of the box and through a crack in the window.  Right over to Jason’s house he went.

Now that he was out he had to come up with a plan.  He waited in the garage sitting in Jason’s baseball mitt hoping to come up with an idea when Jason showed up.  After what felt like hours Jason came out to the garage. Robbie knew Jason’s routine. Every morning he always went over to the baseball field. So he sat quietly in the mitt as Jason picked it up.

“It’s me again. We have to talk,” Robbie shouted so he could be heard.

Jason blinked his eyes and shook his head as he looked into the mitt. “I thought you were a dream. Maybe you are and if I get rid of you I will finally wake up.” Jason tried to smash Robbie in his mitt. Robbie dodged him and flew out of the garage and back to Nanas rose garden. When he got there he found Rosella sitting on a red rose.

“Jason is trying to kill me. I don’t know how to get him to listen to me. I am afraid I will always be a firefly. I wish I never found you.” Robbie yelled without taking a breath.

“Calm down. We were all worried about you when you didn’t come home last night.  I do have a plan to help you convince Jason. But first let’s get you back for some food and rest.”

 The first thing Robbie did when he got back was go to see Martworth who was recovering from a bulb transplant. “Hey buddy how are you doing? You look great.”

Martworth was a little tired but seeing Robbie perked him up a lot. “Can’t complain. Look at the size of this new bulb they gave me.  Going to have a little therapy to get it to work, but everything is going to be fine.  Waiting to get back out there again and do my job even better than before.”

He did seem more determined to go back out and do his job. But first was a recovery period were he was transferred to lamp duty.  There was one good thing that came out of the situation, he was now not the shy little beetle he once was, but a confident firefly.

Robbie tried to rest all day but kept having visions of being captured in the jar the night before. He attended memorial services for the members of the group that perished in the attack. When evening came Robbie and Rosella went to Jason’s house and waited for him again in the garage, this time sitting on the jar rim. Right on queue he came in for his jar.  Rosella was the one this time who flew right up into Jason’s face. He was so startled he fell back onto the workbench in the corner. 

“This is an important lesson for you to learn and you will not refuse it,” with that Rosella said some words neither boy understood, touched Jason on the head and he shrunk down to the same size as them.  Rosella pulled a small yellow suit out of a bag she brought giving it to him to put on.  Jason was in shock but did what he was told. Then they all flew off together with Jason being pulled on a leash like a puppy as little fleas, holding on to the straps of the suit, flapped their wings to keep him suspended in flight.

As they flew across the yard Robbie relayed his first hand account of the harm they had done to the fireflies. But Jason was too scared and bewildered at his size and the situation.  Soon they flew right to the group of boys gathering in the yard ready to go on their nightly search. The small group of three hovered high out of the boys reach.

“We will observe from up here the actions of the boys,” Rosella said to Jason. “You then form your own conclusion.”

When the boys decided Jason was not going to show up that evening they started their bug chase in the usual manner.  The young fireflies performed with extra vigor tonight to convey to the Land-one visitor that they were more than flashes of light in the night sky. The light show tonight was the most spectacular ever. Jason was in awe as he hovered between Rosella and Robbie above the flashing lights.

All of a sudden the choreographed group started to scatter and the battle between beetle and human started once more.  Several boys scooped up fireflies with silken nets on long poles, while others captured zooming lights in their hands.  Soon all the boys were hooting and laughing with jars glowing like lanterns.

“See what is happening,” Robbie said turning to Jason with pleading eyes.

Jason now comfortable with his size and the fact that his friend was a beetle replied, “Sure I see, everyone is having a fun time as usual. What’s the big deal anyway?”


Robbie shook with anger and moved toward Jason, but Rosella moved between them. “Wait a while, the boys will be finished soon then we will go see the horrid results.” They moved over to the limb of a giant oak tree and sat and waited.

§

© Copyright 2013   Eileen A Partak