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

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