Printed from https://www.writing.com/main/view_item/item_id/2318645-The-Lightning-Bug
Rated: E · Short Story · Fantasy · #2318645
A lightning bug gets hurt, but Emma and Remy discover it's no ordinary bug.
Featured in the Fantasy Newsletter dated: 18 June 2024

Word Count: 993

Grandma lived in a small town on the Mississippi River delta. Mom would send me down there every summer to spend a month. When I was little, I thought the bayou was a pretty spooky place. As I got older, it didn’t spook me as much. I got used to the night sounds – frogs and crickets mostly. On occasion you’d hear snapping sounds. I just assumed that was an alligator or two. Then there was the buzz of a lightning bug, usually at twilight, looking for something to zap. Well, I was young. I thought the intention of a lightning bug was to zap something. When I was twelve, I learned there was much more to lightning bugs than zapping things.

That summer was especially humid. Grandma’s swamp coolers were working overtime. Now, Grandma had a new neighbor. A Cajun couple moved down from New Orleans, and they had a boy named Remy who was my age. Remy didn’t know much about the bayou. He took a shine to me, and well, I liked him enough. We’d try to catch frogs, but they were faster than us. Grandma told us not to go round Morgan Pond – that’s where the alligators hung out. Often, Remy and I would stay out to twilight and just a tad longer, listening to the sounds and watching the lightning bugs come alive.

That fateful night, we were at Remy’s house when twilight descended. His mom told us to wait on the porch and my Grandma would be by soon in her golf cart to pick me up. She usually drove the golf cart around town.

“Emma! Remy! Ya’ll want some lemonade while ya’ wait for Emma’s Grammie to come on by?” Remy’s mom shouted from the porch door.

“Yes, please, ma’m,” I replied.

“Yes, ma’m,” Remy answered.

His mom smiled and headed back into the house.

Remy and I sat on the top step, just watching the road and listening to the sounds. The crickets were chirping. The sun had dipped below the horizon, and deep orange-red rays of light were fading over the nearby marsh. Several flitterly lights began to fly by.

“Dem lightning bugs are up,” Remy pointed to a patch of them floating by.

“I wonder what they’re going to zap tonight?” I asked.

He rubbed his chin. “Umm. I figure to guess they’re lookin’ for skunks tonight.”

I scrunched up my nose.

Just then a strong breeze whipped past us and hit the patch of lightning bugs. They swayed with the wind, but one lone bug near the back dipped and fell, landing on the dirt road in front of Remy’s house. It tried to fly off, would get a foot off the ground and then fall back to the dirt.

“I think it’s hurt, Remy.”

He frowned. “It might zap me.”

“What if that skunk comes by?” I asked.

He pinched his nose. “Yuck.”

“We should save it.”

He pursed his lips. “Do you think it’s safe? Ma don’t like it when we leave the porch.”

“We’ll be okay.” I tugged his arm. “We’ll come straight back.”

He sighed, but followed me down to the dirt road. By the time we got to the lightning bug, it looked different. It had grown a little bit, and looked like Tinkerbell with wings, only one wing was twisted in awkward fashion. Remy and I bent down and stared at the bug? Fairy? She stared back at us mortified.

“Are you okay?” I asked.

The fairy nodded her head ‘no.’

“We’ll help you.” I held out my hand, flat. The fairy climbed onto my hand, but winced.

“What are you? Are you a bug or a fairy?” asked Remy. We stood up and made our way back to the porch.

“I’m a fairy.”

Sitting down, I was careful and slow with my gestures. The little fairy sat on my hand, one wing twisted. “How neat. What’s your name?”

“Tallulah.” She grimaced.

“What’s wrong?” asked Remy. “Is it your wing?”

“Yes. It got twisted in the wind.”

“I’ll untwist it, okay? It might hurt a little,” said Remy.

Tallulah nodded. She sat in my hand as Remy touched her wing. She flinched. He tried to be as delicate as he could and slowly untwisted the flimsy wing. As soon as he did, she fell flat onto my hand and groaned.

“Yikes! Are you okay?” he asked.

“Yes, it feels so much better.” She relaxed into my palm. Remy and I looked at each other and then at the fairy not sure what to think. Finally, she sat up and slowly moved both her wings back and forth. They sparkled in the twilight as bright as a lightning bug.

“You glow like a lightning bug,” said Remy.

“We live in a pod down on the other side of the marsh. I’m a young one, tho. This was my first night out. I owe you a debt of gratitude.”

“Can you work magic?” I asked.
“I’m still learning,” she admitted sheepishly.

Just then three lights came back, zig-zagging. Tallulah flapped her wings, and the lights made a beeline to her as she sat on my hand.

As they got closer, they grew bigger and took on a shape like Tallulah.

“There you are! We were worried for you!” said one of the fairies. They had fair yellow hair like Tallulah.

“My wing got twisted. These kindhearted humans helped me.”

“I told you she was too young,” fussed a boy fairy.

“We owe a debt for taking care of our young Tallulah. What can we do for you?” asked the older girl fairy.

“Emma is my best friend! I don’t want to grow up without her,” exclaimed Remy. His request was rather spontaneous and surprised me.

Tallulah’s friends? Or family? flew around us and sprinkled a little dust before flying off with Tallulah.

I cupped my chin in my hand and stared at Remy. Our ten-year anniversary was tomorrow.

Sigil for Game of Thrones 2024

Logo for Writing.Com Moderators - small.

© Copyright 2024 StephBee (sgcardin at Writing.Com). All rights reserved.
Writing.Com, its affiliates and syndicates have been granted non-exclusive rights to display this work.
Printed from https://www.writing.com/main/view_item/item_id/2318645-The-Lightning-Bug