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

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