Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Captured Fire - Part 3

Image courtesy of suphakit73 /
This is the Third 
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 had always enjoyed catching fireflies with the other neighborhood boys.  All the boys met in Jason’s backyard, each boy with a canning jar ready for the hunt.

“Ok guys,” Jason yelled with authority, after all it was his yard so he was the boss of this group.  “Everyone get as many and as quickly as you can.  Then we will have fun with them.  Captured fire is what we want.”  The boys scattered around the neighborhood chasing after the blinking fireflies, each wanting to get many quickly so they could play with them.

Thirty minutes later the boys met, each with jars glowing like lanterns.  Robbie was the first to finish and with the most fireflies in his jar.  All the boys agreed that he was the quickest and the best on Mayberry Street, they gave him the title ‘terrorizing menace.’

“Watch this,” Jason yelled.  He reached into the jar taking out fireflies and pulling off their lights.  After he had a handful of the glowing bulbs he started to smear them on his face and arms looking like a warrior decorated with war paint ready for attack.  Robbie was taken back by the sight of this but watched as the other boys started decorating themselves with the glowing paint.  He then joined in the fun.

This ritual was repeated every night with hoops and hollers from the group as they ripped bulbs and wings off the fireflies.  They left the mangled, along with the untouched ones in the airless jars to die, emptying out the lifeless dry bodies the next night.

One evening Nana Peters came into the potting shed to get her garden cart right at the moment Robbie was pouring out the dead fireflies on the ground.

“Robert William Johnson! What in the world are you doing?” she screamed at him.

Startled, Robbie dropped the jar.  “Cleaning out the old bugs,” he answered in a timid voice as he looked at the pile of dried carcasses on the ground.

This is when Nana Peters explained to him how precious life was and the rules to catching fireflies.  “Fireflies love playing the game with you, but always put them in a container with air, and always set them free. Remember Robbie everyone has a purpose.”  Robbie listened to her; she spoke with such sureness in her voice he started to feel guilty about capturing these creatures and leaving them to die.  So when his birthday came Nana gave him the ‘bughouse.

“So are you ready for a tour?” Rosella asked, her voice snapping him back to the present.  “ I will show you how we take care of the flowers from down here.  Then we will move you on to your purpose.”

Robbie was ready to move along, but wondered what she meant by his “purpose.”  He stood up to follow her hoping whoever it was that noticed actions didn’t know of his mutilation of the fireflies.

As they walked from the room a large blue and black dragonfly met them at the door.  Rosella hopped on its back and motioned for Robbie to do the same.  Once settled securely on the dragonfly it took off down the narrow hall out into the large room. 

They entered a buzzing microcosm.  The room was musty with dim lighting and a misty haze billowing throughout.  Fairies and insects flew around everywhere concentrating on their individual jobs; a different type of fairy performed each.  The dragonfly swiftly flew past Tytra; the first one Robbie met upon entering this land.  She was busy supervising her group of workers, all of them with twig combs tending to the long silky roots.  These were the Groomer Fairies he learned, their job was to keep the long roots of the flowers smooth and tangle free.  Other fairies fed the roots by attaching little leaf buckets containing a mixture of soil, mosses and water to the root ends. These were the Root Feeder Fairies their job was to make sure the feeding buckets were always full so the flowers had enough nutrition to thrive.

Nanny Fairies tended the new seeds keeping them warm and nourished in order to sprout.  This was a constant 24-hour a day job for if they were not tended to the energy would fizzle and the seeds would not sprout.  Once sprouted the Coach Fairies encouraged them to be strong, to push forward using their full potential to emerge above ground and grow toward the sun for more energy. 

Not every seed was strong enough or had the drive to push and become a beautiful flower.   The Coach Fairies could only encourage with love and words, the rest was up to the seed or sprout to do it on their own.  Most had the energy or the desire to move forward, others through no fault of their own could not make it.  The Doctor and Nurse Fairies attended to the weak or damaged sprouts.  Blankets covered spindly or shriveled roots to keep them warm and comfortable.  No one was to blame for any of this, “What is to be – is to be” the fairies said as they continued on with their lives.

The dragonfly soared into another large brightly lit room filled with a delightful perfumed air.  Robbie saw a ray of light coming from a shaft above that illuminated the entire room.  Along one wall were chutes coming from above that all types of flowers traveled down making huge piles on the floor.  Every type of flower petal imaginable lay on the floor.   Rose, African violet, bleeding hearts, bluebell, fuchsia, hollyhock, lilac, morning glory, Queen Anne’s lace, sweet William.  Many Robbie had never seen before and didn’t know what they were called.

“This is the place where the petals of the flowers are received and sorted.  Many are used for clothing, food and gadgets for daily living”, Rosella explained.   They continue to fly along through several other rooms watching various fairies working with plants.  Finally they landed and four tall Acorn Fairies were waiting for him as he hopped off the dragonfly.  He was told to sit in the middle of an extra large oak leaf as the fairies each took a corner and flew up and away, as he wondered what was next.
© Copyright 2013   Eileen A Partak

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Captured Fire - Part 2

Image courtesy of suphakit73 /
This is the second installment
of the short story 
Captured Fire

This 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


The next evening Robbie clutched the rosebud in his hand and ran over to the spot in the garden where he had released the fairy.   He closed his eyes tight and whispered the magic words the fairy told him – believe in the promise - three times as the fairy instructed.  He felt a strong suction; a heavy downward pull as the ground collapsed beneath his feet.  In a split second he was carried down a dark narrow shaft and then stopped abruptly and thrown onto a soft spongy surface.  He stayed still for a moment on the soft ground feeling dazed from the fall.  It was dark and the air had a musty aroma.  He felt something gently tickle his face.  As his eyes adjusted to the darkness he saw something stringy hanging over him.  Looking closer he could see it was a mass of twisted roots fine as strands of hair.  He slowly stood up feeling a little dizzy and started to brush dirt from himself.  “Oh my!” he gasped, “my clothes.”  There he stood, the only thing covering his body was dirt on his arms and legs, he was completely naked.

“Hello there”, a squeaky voice greeted him from beyond the tangle root mass.  He squinted his eyes and focused his gaze toward the sound of the voice.  Fluttering before him, holding what looked like a comb made of twigs, was a fairy.  This one looked different from the one he caught the night before.  She had long yellow hair, making up her dress were long orange flower petals speckled with black, similar to a tiger lily; bright green tights covered her long legs.  From the top of her head antenna protruded like the stamen of a flower and little puffy soft orbs floated down from the ends, like pollen, as she spoke.

“You must be the Land-one who captured Rosella, we heard you might pay us a visit.” the fairy was busy combing the mass of roots smooth as she talked.

Being aware of his nakedness Robbie tried to hide behind some thick tangled twigs suspended from above.  “I’m Robbie, if Rosella is the fairy I thought was a firefly then yes that’s me.”

“Welcome Robbie, I am Tytra the manager of root manicuring.  Someone will be here to make you comfortable and show you around”.

“But I’m naked.” he whispered.

“Oh that is alright, they say every Land-one is when they arrive here.  You shrunk you know.  Once you become tiny your coverings no longer fit.”

Robbie looked at her with a mystified gaze and extended his arms and looked at his hand and down at his feet.   He was tiny! How did this happen. “I am no longer a boy, I must be a fairy,” he exclaimed in horror as he reached to his back searching for wings.

Tytra giggled as she watched, You do look somewhat like a fairy, are you sure you are not one of us?  Upturned noses and small points of the ears are a fairy quality.”  Robbie slowly touched the tip of his nose and let his fingers move to his ears.  “No, they are like Nana’s I’ve been told.”  Tytra nodded with a sly smile then made a loud clicking sound summoning two more Tiger Lily Fairies.  “Take the Land-one to the salon and inform Rosella he is here.”  The fairies obediently took hold of his arms, lifted him up and flew off through the silky root curtains, emerging into a magical underground world.   Robbie felt for sure he was in a dream.

They entered a room with rows dug into the earth walls forming shelves.  Neatly on each shelf were leaves and petals all stacked together by colors, starting on the bottom with the lighter shades and progressing up to the darker shade of that same color.  Several piles of stones covered with moss were in the middle of the room, reminiscent of small tables.  A fairy with short red curly hair and a dress made of lily of the valley bells greeted them with a cheery smile.

“Here’s the Land-one for you to dress,” one of the Tiger Lily Fairies said as they dropped Robbie on top of a shiny silver stone and flew out of the room with a Swoosh!

Without a word the Lily of the Valley Fairy flew over to Robbie and dressed him in a shirt and short pants made from small deep green leaves with serrated edges and placed the cap of an acorn on top his short sandy hair.  The dark colors made the blue of his eyes glow bright.   When finished she flew over and pulled a long snake like vine that hung in the corner of the room.  Lily of the Valley bells rang with a choir of soft tinkles and two more fairies immediately entered the room.  They were dressed as Robbie was only with brown mesh wings and a brown belt around their waists made from dried woven grass, little twigs hung like batons from the belts. 

Again he was escorted through the big room, down a narrow winding tunnel far from the bustling activity in the large room and into a small hidden area.  The tantalizing aroma of roses intoxicated Robbie’s nostrils as he was dropped off in this room. The walls were covered from floor to ceiling with over lapping rose petals of various shades of pinks, and reds.  The ceiling and floor were covered with white and yellow petals.  Small rose blooms were placed in the room for chairs and on either side of the chairs small stones covered in moss to serve as tables.  In the far corner was a bed of slate covered with moss woven together with rose petals.  Rosebuds were placed at the head of the bed for pillows.   

Robbie heard a trickle and saw in the corner a clear stream flowing down over silver stones forming a pond.  Pieces of rose petals gently floated and twirled in the rippling water that formed fluffy foam and floated like clouds on the surface of the pond.  This was the residence of Rosella the Queen of the Flower Garden Fairies.

Robbie stood looking around the little room in awe still thinking he must be in a dream when he heard a little humming sound behind him.   He turned around and there was Rosella behind him accompanied by four Rose Fairies. She settled down on one of the rose bloom chairs and was quickly attended to by one of the fairies. 

“Welcome Robbie the Land-one.  We are so happy that you decided to visit us.”  She motioned for him to sit down and then snapped her fingers twice, nodded and the attendants flew away. Robbie sat down a little uneasy on the flower chair as the cool petals engulfed his small body.  He was not used to the using flowers as furniture.

“We do not often have visitors from the upper land.  Upper land dwellers must prove they are worthy to enter the flower fairyland.  But you have proved yourself by showing your kindness for others and setting me free,” she said with a gracious smile and nodding her head towards Robbie.

Just then one of the attendants came back carrying a large leaf, using it like a tray.   On the tray were little bell shaped flowers with the stems twisted around the sides for handles making the flowers look like teacups.  She offered one to Robbie.  He hesitated then he took one.  With curious examination he sniffed the light pink liquid in the cup cautiously and slowly touched the rosy drink to his lips.  It was actually good. 

“One of my favorite drinks,” Rosella said as she took a sip and leaned back in her chair, “the morning dew off a rose petal mixed with honeysuckle nectar.”

“As I was saying,” Rosella put down the teacup and looking seriously into Robbie’s eyes, “you are one of the privileged.  Very few ever enter the underground flower land.  You shall be the ambassador between our two worlds spreading the word to your people that life exists everywhere.”

Robbie gulped down the rosy drink.  He started to tremble as he set the teacup down on the table.  “Ambassador?  Me, how could I tell anyone something important, I am only nine-years old.”?

Rosella laughed, leaning forward she touched Robbie’s arm and whispered, “All actions are noticed by someone, good, bad, all actions are noticed.”  Then she sat back with a sly grin and picked up her drink.

Robbie gulped.   Rosella mentioned his kindness by the fact that he released her, but he knew he was not always so kind. He thought back to last summer.   


© copyright 2013   Eileen A Partak

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Captured Fire

Image courtesy of suphakit73 /
This is the first 
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.

The yard glistened with dots of light. Robbie ran eagerly to each blinking yellow glow.  This was a nine-year old boy’s dream, a warm summer night and a sky laden with fireflies.   What could be better than this?

Robbie tiptoed in slow motion, calculating the flight speed of the fireflies along with his distance from each one in order to anticipate the exact moment to lunge forward for the capture.  Cupping his latest catch in his hands, Robbie quickly confined the newly caught firefly into the box with the others.   Nana Peters had given him the “bughouse” for his birthday.  It was an 8” x 6” box with screened walls so the inhabitants could breath.  It had a small sliding panel on top of the blue “roof” for entrance.  Nana Peters had reminded him that at the end of each play time the fireflies must go free for they are living creatures with feelings and families. They need to go back to their homes at the end of the night.

Robbie was astonished at the amount of fireflies populating the night sky this evening.   This would be his biggest round up ever. He stopped his vigorous running and looked over in Nana Peters rose garden where he sighted the biggest, brightest firefly he had ever seen.  It sparkled brighter than Mama’s diamond ring in the sunlight.  It looked different from all the others and moved differently.  It was three times as wide and five times longer than most.  It moved from flower to flower in a jerky manner, slowly then moving faster and stopping suddenly.  Its glow was brighter and it did not blink on and off as the others did, it had a continuous glow.

“I must get this one,” Robbie thought. “It must be the king of fireflies.”

Once again he used his calculation procedure for capture.  Slowly he crept across the yard toward the rose garden, his “bughouse” on its long strap hugging his chest and bouncing up and down with each prudent step he took.   Figuring speed and distance, he quickly moved his hands in for the capture.  Swoosh – the firefly moved like a flash to the other end of the garden.  Dumbfounded he wondered how he miscalculated so since he was known in the neighborhood as the quickest bug catcher on Mayberry Street. 

The firefly hovered, shining brighter than before over a large red rose.  “Maybe I need a surprise attack through the backdoor,” Robbie thought.  He slowly turned his back on the firefly and walked away from the garden and around the potting shed at the other end of the garden.   He slowly looked around the corner of the shed.   The firefly was still above the red rose.  Robbie figured the firefly was still looking the other direction as he made a flying leap.  He flew a half a foot off the ground and propelled himself horizontally two feet forward into the garden.  As he reached his hands forward to grasp the firefly, Swoosh – it moved to the other side of the garden again.  Robbie plopped straight down on Nana’s rose bush.  Crash - the branches of the bush broke, the petals of the flower scattered on the ground like red confetti and the thorns punctured Robbie’s arms as he plummeted down.  Looking up dazed he saw the bright rays of the firefly shining at the other end of the garden. Now more than ever he was determined to catch this elusive firefly. 

The next evening as the darkness engulfed the yard like a curtain and the fireflies sparkled in the neighborhood sky; Robbie was poised in the garden once again.  Not only did he have his bughouse strapped across his chest, but also he held a long pole with a silver silky net at the end.  

The hot summer breeze blew over Robbie’s face like the warmth from an open oven door.  The crickets began their loving evening serenade as the birds finished their evensong and settled in the trees.  Robbie sat waiting, eyes wide open without a blink glued in a stare at the roses in the garden; waiting for the return of the firefly.

Suddenly there it was flying up from a large pink rose at the corner of the garden.  Robbie didn’t even calculate his attack; he took a deep breath his net held out in front of him and with one quick swoop he caught the firefly.  He quickly transferred the firefly into the bughouse and sat staring, heart pounding loud in his ears, head spinning as he tried to catch his breath before examining his prize.

Once he was composed he slowly lifted the bughouse up towards the light of the moon so he could see more clearly.  His jaw dropped, he shook his head and blinked his eyes to try to focus again on what he thought he saw in the box.  Moving his head closer he peered inside to see.  He did see correctly the first time; this was not a firefly looking back at him but a tiny fairy.  She wore a yellow rose bud upside down as a hat on her head of raven hair, green leaves made up the bodice of her dress and the skirt was made of yellow rose petals.  Small lacy green wings moved quickly like the blades of a fan as she suspended herself in the center of the box.  This was better than catching any firefly, this was a magical prize. He slowly took her out of the box. She didn’t try to fly away she sat with elegance in the palm of his hand.

Robbie was so excited and overwhelmed at seeing this tiny little creature sitting in his hand.   He wanted to show it to everyone; keep her forever.   He imagined what this would do to his status as bug catcher on Mayberry Street.  “I will be famous, I will be on TV and travel the world with a catch like this”.   He ran into the shed and pulled out an old wooden crate.  He climbed up on it, stretching to reach the top shelf.   Feeling around, he hid his bughouse behind an old watering can.  Settling down cross-legged on the dirt floor he slowly started to plan his future with the fairy.

“First I can not let the guys know about this, especially Jason”.

He thought of traveling the world on tour with his fairy, London, Paris the whole world.  “I can have her do magic tricks, sing, dance.  I will make billions of dollars, and I will be so famous.”

Suddenly his daydream stopped.  He thought about how he would feel if someone captured him and he could never get home again.    He then climbed back on the wooden crate reached around the watering can and carefully pulled down the bughouse.  Robbie looked at the fairy as she still hovered in the box.  She now looked scared.  Then he heard Nana Peter’s words in his head,  “….fireflies must be let free for they are living creatures… they need to go back to their homes at the end of the night.”  These words revolved in his head, “But this isn’t a firefly he thought.”  This was the hardest decision he ever had to make; even harder than when Nana tells him he can pick either candy or a cookie for a treat.  Finally he realized it was the same for fairies too and he decided he should let her go free.  The fairy was so grateful that Robbie didn’t harm and let her go she gave him her rosebud hat as a gift.  He looked disappointingly at the tiny flower wondering what kind of a gift this was supposed to be.

“I am Rosella the Queen of the flower garden fairies.  This is no ordinary rosebud; it is magic and the ticket to visiting the underground fairy world.”

A magical land to visit! Now what could be better than this for a nine-year old boy?  


© 2013   Eileen A Partak