Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Captured Fire - Part 10

 Image courtesy of suphakit73 /
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

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