Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Captured Fire - Final

Image courtesy of suphakit73 /
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.”


© Copyright 2013   Eileen A Partak

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