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The August night was hot, humid and the air was lit dream-like with the sparks of fireflies.

Me, my best friend Kenny & my cousins, Toby, Lisa and Fred were in their huge back yard which bordered on the woods, Mom always scolded me for exploring them ever since I emerged with really bad poison ivy one time last year, Toby had stepped on a hornets' nest also last summer, I can still hear him crying and Aunt Sylvie yelling at him for being where he shouldn't.

Fred and  Lisa ran in circles chasing fireflies, They caught them in glass jelly jars and displayed them proudly to anyone they could. They called them "bug lanterns." I thought they were a little crazy.

Me and Kenny stood by the woods' edge thinking about how we could get into mischief but not get caught, Sometimes we would see bats flying thru the trees on nights like this while cicadas kept up a steady stream of insect chatter.

There seemed to be an ethereal mist out on this night, strange but in a another way very familiar.

Then all of a sudden, Everything got quiet, very quiet, the sky got dark, the twinkling firefly lights ceased as well. The ground began to shake and a low rumble began from what seemed to be in the heart of the woods, and toward us.

Toby, Lisa and Fred all panicked and ran hysterically to their back porch where the grown ups were barbequing and drinking beer. It was a big yard though and a long distance to run. They seemed to evaporate into the mist.

Me and Kenny ran behind a big pine tree, poked our heads out from behind it and waited to see if we could see what approached, The ground shook, a signal giant eye got bigger and bigger as the noise grew louder and louder. I saw Kenny scream but could not hear a thing, I was screaming too but didn't know it until I saw my cousins and Kenny standing around me.

"He's awake Mrs B!".. He's awake!" My folks and cousins ran to the side of the bed, nurses in tow.

Kenny was jumping up and down and practically hyperventilating. I felt as though I had just came through a door that connected two sides of myself.

"Your son was in a coma caused by Hypoxic-Ischemic Encephalopathy..the direct cause by that bee sting  in his neck." The doctor bounced a pencil off of his desk while my parents sat in front of him in rapt disbelief. "We will keep him tonight but barring complications he can go home tomorrow."

I woke up, it must have been midnight though I eventually found out it was midnight a year later from when I had my incident, That's why everyone was there, an anniversary of sorts I guess.

The rumble was back again, This time though I was awake and able to look out the small window in my room. Across the way was a trainyard, the din and light increased as a  freighter lumbered toward the station.

Fear was replaced by understanding, I touched the spot on my neck where the bee stung me.Something was blinking on the nightstand next to my bed, a jelly jar full of fireflies.

Outside the noise of the train was replaced by the drone of August cicadas, I went back to sleep.


MF Kepler is an occasional writer based in Eastern Long Island, He has published two previous stories on this site.



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