Night of the Fireflies – A work in progress

     Grandma Lucy sat in her favorite chair on the back porch, enjoying the cool fall night.  The sounds of the swamp at were a sweet symphony to her ears, one of the small joys in her life.  She got up to fix the bread, thinking it would be perfect for the breakfast she was going to make the Tibedaux boys tomorrow when they came to fix the fence around her garden.

     With the bread left to rise on the counter, she stepped back outside to gather up her tea cup and the book she was reading.  As she exited the door, she paused something different about the night.  Then she noticed how quiet it was, even the insects had stopped their nocturnal song.  She grabbed the onyx pendant that hung around her neck and mouthed a few words as the sounds of the swamp slowly started to come back.  She gathered up her cup and book and went back into the house, touching the ward carved into the frame.

     The next morning, Lucy was in the kitchen placing the last plate of food on the table when she heard Tim and Billy Tibedaux as they let themselves in the front door.

            “Granny Lucy, we’re here,” Tim called out.

            “In the kitchen boys.  Breakfast is ready.”

            The boys walked to the kitchen and gave Lucy a hug before sitting at the table.  Plates filled with crisp bacon, fried potatoes, scrambled eggs and buttered toast sat on the table.  Lucy poured each of them a glass of fresh squeezed orange juice and sat down.

            Lucy smiled at the boys, “Dig in.  I know young boys have a strong appetite and Grandma Lucy’s breakfast is always the best.”

            The boys piled their plates with food.  They ate with all the vigor of twelve year olds, as though this could be their last meal.

            “Did you hear that Katie Miller went missing?” Billy asked between mouthfuls.

            “How do you know that?” Lucy asked.

            “We heard mom talking to Mrs. Miller on the phone this morning before we came over,” Tim told her.  “She told her that dad would help look when he got back from the hardware store.”

            Lucy leaned back in her chair and sipped her coffee, her eyes focused on a black and white picture hanging near the back door.  The photo was of her mother, grandmother and herself.  The day it was taken was one of the last happy memories she had of her parents.  The boys finished up, cleared the table, placed their dishes in the sink and headed outside, eager to get to work.  She smiled at the enthusiasm of the two.  Though sometimes they could be real trouble makers, the boys knew how to put in a good days work.

            The boys had the fence fixed by lunch time and she treated them to some cold fried chicken, fresh baked biscuits dripping with cream butter, fresh vegetables from her garden and large glasses of iced sweet tea.  Lucy held the onyx pendant hanging around her neck, watching the boys eat, her mind thinking about the missing girl.  The odd moment last night when the night went quiet troubled her and she couldn’t shake the feeling that they were connected.

            “I’ve got something for you boys before you leave,” she said, standing up and walking into the living room.  She opened a box on the mantle and removed two necklaces with a silver pendant formed in the shape of a winged creature brandishing a flaming sword.  She handed one to each of the boys.

            “I want y’all to have these and wear them,” she told them.  “My granny would always tell me, “Limyè a Pwoteje” which means the Light Protects.  They will protect you from anything that would try to hurt you.  Promise me you won’t take them off.”

            “Are they magic Granny Lucy?” the boys asked in unison.

            “Serious magic boys,” Lucy said with a smile.  “You promise me you won’t take them off.”

            “We promise,” the boys said at the same time.  They understood that Grandma Lucy knew things they did not and when she told you something, you did it.

            “Now run off home and don’t be playing in the woods at night,” she told them.  Lucy gave each boy a hug and stood on the porch and watched them as they raced away down the dirt road on their bikes.

            She walked into her bedroom, changed into her hiking shoes, grabbed her knapsack and walking stick and exited through the back door.  She donned a boonie hat to keep the sun out of her eyes and walked into the woods.  Something had to have scared everything into silence last night and she was going to find out what it was.  Everything left a trace, a scent, a mark on the earth as it passed, it was just a matter of recognizing it.

            About a half mile into the woods, she noticed that the insect sounds had almost ceased to exist.  She gripped her walking stick a bit tighter as she moved deeper into the trees.  She walked into a small clearing, with a small pond on one side and almost dropped her stick.  A child’s body was sprawled face down on the water’s edge.  Tears rolled down Lucy’s face as she walked closer to the body, which she discovered to be a young girl, maybe nine or ten years old.

            She knelt down next to her and gently turned her over.  Katy Miller’s face was frozen in a rictus of fear, her mouth open as though she died screaming.  Lucy cried over the body of the child for a moment as the anger built within her.  She opened her knapsack and removed a small vial of blue powder, a cloudy yellow crystal carved to look like an owl and a handful of dried herbs.  She said a prayer over the body and sprinkled the herbs around the girl.

            She stood back up, opened the vial, poured the blue powder into a hand and threw it into the air.  She gripped the crystal in her left hand and closed her eyes.

            “Brisé, montre sa ki te konsa yo sou domèn ou,” she said.

 She opened them and the clearing took on a different aspect.  She could see the violence of the girl’s death and the mark of the creature that did it.  She saw where they both entered the clearing, the fear of the girl and the hunger of the creature that chased her.  She walked over to the spot where the first attack happened, where the creature first tasted the fear of the girl.  Something caught her eye on the ground and she knelt down to get a closer look.  Two dead fireflies lay there, but these fireflies were bigger than any she had ever seen.

            She placed them in an empty mason jar that she pulled from her bag, then put the jar back.  She stood up and looked around the clearing again and then at the body of the girl.  As she walked back to her house to call the Sheriff, she thought that perhaps it may be time for her to get one of those cellphones that seemed to be so popular.

#  #  #

            “Thanks for the breakfast Lucy,” Sheriff James Walters said as she refilled his coffee cup.

            “Jim, it is always a pleasure to visit with old friends,” she said, “You want to talk about Katy Miller don’t you?”

            “The coroner examined her body last night.  They couldn’t find any marks on her besides a few bug bites.”  He sat up straighter in the chair and looked Lucy in the eyes, “They are going to say that the cause of death was heart attack.  She was ten years old, but they can’t find any other cause.”

            “What do you want me say Jim,” Lucy asked.  “She didn’t die from natural causes.”

Lucy raised her hand, cutting off the question Jim was about to ask, “And no, I don’t know what killed her yet, but I do have an idea.”

            “It’s been quiet for so long, why now?” he asked.

            “I don’t know, but whatever it is, I will stop it.  I promise you that,” she told him, reaching out and taking his hand in hers.

            “Be careful damn it.  Don’t go getting yourself killed.  No one else in the parish cooks Creole like you.”  They stood up and he hugged her before leaving.

            She watched him as he drove away, her mind back on the fireflies she found.  There was that familiar feeling at the back of her mind, like a word that you know that is on the tip of your tongue but it eludes you.  She made her way into her workroom.  Bookshelves covered three walls from floor to ceiling full of books of every size and thickness.  A table sat in the middle, covered with a red cloth, an open book and a pile of dried herbs sat on it.  Various plants hung drying from racks, a work table on the only open wall was full of labeled containers of powders, liquids and in some cases, dried carcasses of insects and animals.

            She removed a slim, leather bound book from the bookcase and sat it on top of the open book on the table.  She grabbed the mason jar with the fireflies off the work table behind her and placed it on the table next to the book.  She let out a sigh as she found what she was looking for.  The picture of a female with long hair, fingers like claws and an unearthly perfect face was drawn on one side of the page.  The image of a group of fireflies was drawn next to the female. 

            That night, she sat on her back porch, waiting to see if the creature would make another appearance.  After having fed, it was probably content to stay hidden in whatever lair it had made for itself but still she waited until the ancient grandfather clock in her living room chimed midnight.  She would have to go back to the clearing and see if she could pick up its trail, follow it to wherever it had hidden itself and deal with it.

            The next morning she was up early as she always was, making coffee when Sheriff Walters arrived.  He knocked on the back screen door before coming in.  He removed his hat and stood there for a moment, almost at a loss for words.

            “Another child went missing sometime last night,” he told her, taking the cup of coffee that she offered him.  “The Boudreaux family down on Canal Street discovered that their son, Walter, was not in bed this morning.”

            “You think it is connected to Katy Miller?” Lucy asked him.

            “I don’t know Lucy, but considering that what killed Katy is something not human and another child goes missing…yeah, I think it may be related,” he said.

            “Well, I found out what it is that did it,” she told him, “It is called the Adze.”

“What the hell is an Adze,” Jim asked.

“It’s a vampire type creature that originated in Africa and it can shape shift into a swarm of fireflies to lure its prey.”  She went into her workroom and returned with the mason jar that the fireflies were inside of and sat it on the table.

            “That must be how it got the kids to leave the house at night,”  he said as he picked up the jar and looked at them. “A big swarm of these flying around, begging to be caught.”

            “Well, according to what I’ve read, you can’t kill it exactly, but I should be able to banish it.”

            “Banish it?  Banish it where?  Should?” Sheriff Walters asked her.

            “Hell, Africa, some alternate dimension,” Lucy said, “I don’t know Jim.  Yeah, should.  I’m pretty sure it’s possible but you know how that goes.”

            “Do you need my help with anything?” Sheriff Walters asked her.  “You know I’m still a deadeye with my pistol.”

            “Firearms won’t hurt it and I don’t want to worry about your skinny white ass while I’m trying to banish it,” she told him with a smile.

            “You used to like this skinny white ass Miss Deveraux,” the Sheriff said, as he returned her smile.

            “That was long ago and we were both a lot younger,” she said.  “Seriously though Jim, I’ll be fine.  I may be older but I’m still strong.  I have what I need and I know what needs to be done.  Don’t worry about it.”

            “Well if you need anything, and you know I mean anything, you call me,” he told her as he stood up.  He gave Lucy a hug and walked out the backdoor.  She watched him get in his car and waved to him as he drove away. She picked up the jar and took it back to her workroom.

#  #  #

It was the second ring that woke Lucy from her troubled slumber.  She glanced at the clock on her nightstand and wondered who would be calling her at this ungodly hour.  She shuffled into the living room and picked up the phone.

“Hello?” she answered.

            “Ms. Lucy?  It’s Mary Tibedaux.”

            “Mary, what’s wrong honey?”

            “It’s the boys,” Mary said as the words rushed out. “John checked on them when he went to the restroom and they weren’t in their beds and their window was open.  I was hoping maybe they had come up to see you for some reason.”

            “I haven’t seen them sweetie,” Lucy said as her heart started to race. “I want you to get off the phone with me and call the Sheriff and tell him what happened.”

            “It’s not like them to do something like this,” Mary said.

            “Mary, listen to me.  Calm down and call the Sheriff,” Lucy told her.  “I don’t want you and Terry to go charging off into those woods either.  If the boys come home, mom and dad need to be there.”

            “I’m scared Ms. Lucy.  I don’t want them to end up like those other two kids,” Mary said, her voice breaking.

            “Mary, you don’t worry about that.  The boys will be fine, I promise you,” Lucy said.  “Now hang up the phone, call the Sheriff and try to stay calm.”

            Lucy said her goodbyes and hung up the phone.  She walked into her room and got dressed, putting her hiking boots on.  She grabbed her walking staff and a flash light then walked out the back door, headed towards the woods.  If the boys had worn the pendants she gave them, the vampire could not touch them, but that doesn’t mean it couldn’t hurt them.  The woods were oddly quiet and that put Lucy on edge.  All the denizens of the night were silent, hiding from the unholy predator that stalked the woods beneath the light of the half moon.  Up ahead, she saw small lights flickering in between the trees, so she quickened her pace.

            She broke through the trees into a clearing just as the fireflies came together into the human form of the vampire.  Tim and Billy were sitting on the ground, hugging one another and crying, their eyes shut.  Lucy raised her walking staff above her head in both hands and brought it down, striking the ground.  A bright flash of light flared from its top.  The Adze screamed in pain and exploded into its firefly form.  They flew around the boys and Lucy before dispersing into the trees.  Lucy walked over to the boys and knelt down next to them.  They let go of each other long enough to grab onto her and clutch her tightly.

#  #  #

            Lucy refilled the Sheriff’s coffee cup and set the pot back on the stove.  The Tibedaux boys had left five minutes earlier with their overjoyed parents.  Lucy had brewed a special pot of tea for the boys to calm them down when they had returned to her house.  When the boy’s parents finally showed up, it was a happy reunion and they weren’t angry, they were just happy to have their boys back.

            “It was the vampire, wasn’t it?” the Sheriff asked Lucy.

            “Yeah,” she said with a sigh, “thankfully, the boys were wearing the protective pendant I gave them.  It didn’t stop them from getting hypnotized but she couldn’t hurt them.”

            “I hate feeling so incompetent and not being able to protect my citizens,” Sheriff Walters said.

            “I know James, but you know that just having you to lean on helps me do what I have to,” Lucy said.

            “When are you going to be ready to deal with it?” he asked.

            “I have everything I need.  I just have to set a few things up and I’ll be ready,” she told him.  “After last night, she is probably also going to be pretty pissed at me.”

            “Well you better be careful damn it,” he said, “I don’t want you getting hurt.”

            “Jim, when have I ever gotten hurt?” she asked him, smiling.

            “You aren’t as young as you used to be,” he said as he laid a hand over hers, “I don’t want to lose one of my dearest and oldest friends just yet.”

#  #  #

She laid the ingredients and the necessary tools for the banishment out on the table in the middle of her workroom.  She stood in front of the table and ran over the process in her head, reading each step multiple times until she could recite it from memory.  It was noon when she finished and the rumble of thunder in the distance confirmed why her leg was hurting.  The hunt for the Adze would have to wait until the next day when her leg wasn’t aching so badly.

            That night, she was once again sitting on her back porch enjoying the cool night air.  She was remembering another night like this when she was nineteen when the silence of the night intruded upon her thoughts.  She focused on the tree line behind her house and noticed a twinkling of lights moving through the trees.  She stood up as she noticed it was moving closer to her house.

            A swarm of fireflies moved out of the trees and toward her home.  A smile appeared on Lucy’s face as the fireflies stopped about twenty five feet from her back porch, some falling to the ground dead.  In the blink of an eye, they coalesced into the nude form of a young ebony skinned woman.  Her body was perfect, the ultimate image of sensuality.  Long dark hair spilled down her back and framed a face of unearthly beauty.

            “Old woman,” the creature hissed, “you tread upon dangerous ground witch.  Leave me be and I will not drain you of your power.”

            “Silence!” Lucy shouted.  “Leave this place or I swear by the gods of the Light that I will send you back to whatever Hell you crawled out of.”

            The creature laughed at Lucy as it walked back and forth, testing the strength of the ward guarding the house.  Lucy gripped the onyx pendant around her neck and stood straighter as she raised her right hand.

            “You are not welcome here.  In the name of Anyawu, leave this place,” Lucy said, raising her hand above her head.  It started to glow brighter and brighter as she repeated herself.  The creature emitted a cry and turned for the woods, transforming once again into the swarm of fireflies and disappeared.  Lucy stopped the chant and sat down heavily into her seat, breathing hard. 

“Now I have your scent,” Lucy said, “And I will find you in whatever hole you’ve hidden yourself in.”

            She did not tell the Sheriff about her encounter with the creature when he stopped by the next morning to check on her.  After he left, she changed into her hiking gear and walked to the spot in her back yard where the creature had stood the night before.  She pulled a dark blue crystal from a pocket, closed her eyes and mumbled a few words in Creole.  She opened them and the aura of the creature stood out in stark relief against everything else.  The pure, unadulterated evil of the creature was a dark red scar running through the yard and into the woods.

            She walked it into the woods, following the trail for a couple of miles as it led her deeper into the swamp.  Eventually, it led her to an area that seemed barren of all life.  She did not see or hear anything from insects, birds or small animals in the area.  She knew that this was where the creature slept during the day.  Considering that there could be no cave for it to hide in, it had to be in its firefly form, spread out over the area.

            Lucy sat her bag down and stood there for a moment, taking in the surroundings and forming a plan in her mind.  She opened the bag and removed a small sharp dagger, the image of a sun carved into the polished bone hilt.  She opened her left palm and sliced across it, wincing a bit at the sting of the sharp blade.  She cleaned her blood from it, placed it back in its sheath and dropped it into the bag.  She pressed her hand against the tree, her blood smeared into the bark.  She then pressed the fingers of her right hand into her left palm and drew the same sun image around the smear of blood.

            “By the goddess Hepa, come and get me,” Lucy said with a cold smile.  She took one more look around and started her trek back to her house to prepare.

            Night arrived with the rumble of thunder and lightning tearing through the sky.  Lucy sat on her back porch watching the show and waiting, a fresh cup of coffee on the table next to her.  She took a sip of the coffee and tried to calm herself.  It had been awhile since she had faced off with anything this strong and while she was older, she wasn’t worried about dying.  It was the idea of failure that frightened her-had always frightened her.

            “Lord, I know I don’t talk to you often these days,” Lucy prayed, “But if it is my time, I’m ready.  If not, let me kick this unclean beast back into whatever Hell it crawled out of.”

            It was close to midnight when Lucy noticed the first of the fireflies drifting through the trees.  She set her cup down and slowly stood up, her left hand reaching up to touch the pendant around her neck.  The fireflies grew in number and moved from the trees but stopped short before it ran into the barrier her wards created.  The fireflies continued to gather until they were a swarm of blinking lights. They seemed to melt into one another and the creature stood there in her unearthly beauty once again.

            “You summoned me, witch,” the creature said, “Do you wish to sacrifice your life to me?”

            “Sacrifice my life?” Lucy asked, “I’m going to send you back to whatever Hell you pulled yourself out of.  So why don’t you come join me on my porch and we can get this over with?”

            The creature reached out a hand to where the ward barrier should be but met no resistance.  A very cold smile spread across her face as she slowly walked towards Lucy.  Lucy returned her smile and as the creature crossed the boundary of her wards, she brought her hands together.  A cascade of light rippled across the yard as the ward barrier came up behind the vampire.  The vampire screamed in rage and slammed a fist into the invisible boundary.  It winced in pain and turned towards Lucy.

            “You will suffer for this insolence, witch,” she told Lucy.  “Your pain will feed me for a very long time.”

            The monster surged forward, her form splitting apart into the hundreds of fireflies that comprised it.  They swarmed towards Lucy, emitting a high pitched whine.  She threw her hands up to cover her face as they hit her.  She stood firm as they broke around and battered themselves against her, flinching as they cut into her skin.  They continued to fly around her, pushing her to her knees.  She reached into her pocket, removed a vial and threw it to the ground.  It broke open, emitting a bright flash of light.  The fireflies fled from her, a number of them falling onto the porch dead.  She wiped the blood from a cut on her cheek and stepped down into the grass.  The fireflies were gathered together again and the creature stood before Lucy.

            She was no longer the unearthly beauty as before, her face was something from a nightmare.  Large eyes that gleamed red, a long mouth full of razor teeth, lean muscular arms ending in hands with claw like fingers.  Her hair poured off her head in a tangled mess, hanging over her shriveled chest.  Lucy took a step back, full of revulsion for the fiend standing before her.  It hissed and lunged for her, a hand shooting out to try and rip into her.

            This time Lucy was ready and she raised her hands, a protective barrier surrounding her.  The creatures hand impacted upon the barrier and ignited in flame.  The beast cried out in pain and stumbled backwards, clutching the smoking hand.  Lucy took a step forward, her hands dipping into her pockets, removing a few more of the vials.  She tossed them in the direction of the creature and when they broke upon the ground, they each emitted a burst of light as bright as the noon day sun.  The vampire cried out in pain with each burst of light and continued to back away.  Lucy continued to toss the vials, driving the creature backwards.

            The creature stumbled against the ward barrier and screamed in rage.  Its form wavered, fireflies bursting into flame, falling to the ground.  Lucy brought her hands together again and the barrier surrounded the creature.  The vampire beat against it enraged.  Lucy flinched with each blow it landed.  The monster continued to beat against it and Lucy stumbled, going to a knee.  The barrier wavered for a moment and the vampire cried out in joy but Lucy raised her head and pushed herself to her feet.

            Lucy stood there silent for moment, watching as it fought against the weakened barrier.  Slowly, she went to her knees and drew symbols in the grass with her silver dagger.  The creature noticed the symbols and fought harder against the barrier, howling in rage.  Lucy grunted in pain, each blow from the hell spawn weakened it further and sent a jolt of pain through her head.

            “In the name of Hepa goddess of the Sun and by Surya’s holy chariot, be gone from this world,” Lucy intoned, stabbing the dagger into the center of the sun image she had drawn into the ground.

            The creature roared and Lucy staggered under the strain of holding the barrier up as it slammed itself against it.  It started to flicker and failed.  Lucy stumbled back as the vampire surged forward, reaching for her.  Its claws dug deep into her left arm, tearing her flesh.  Lucy screamed in pain, almost passing out.  The monster cackled with glee as she grabbed Lucy and threw her to the ground.

            “The old magic is not as powerful as it used to be old woman,” the vampire hissed as she brought her bloody hand to her face and licked the blood from her fingers.  “You may not be young, but you are powerful.  I haven’t tasted such richness in a very long time.”

            Lucy pushed herself to her knees, her mind racing, grasping for some way to fight the creature.  Blood soaked her left side and if she did not stop the bleeding soon, she would pass out.  Lightning ripped across the sky followed closely by thunder.  The vampire looked up into the sky as it started to rain, a cold laugh coming from her.  She looked down at Lucy who clutched her bleeding arm.

            “Are you ready to meet your God witch?”

            Lucy pushed herself to her feet, as pain flooded her body.  She stood there in the rain, a smile on her face as the creature advanced on her.  The Adze raised its hand preparing to strike her down when a shot rang out.  It cried out in pain, flinching backwards from Lucy.  Three more shots rang out and the creatures form flickered.  Lucy turned and saw Sheriff Walters slowly walking towards her, a rifle at his shoulder.  He fired again, the vampire screamed in pain and exploded into its firefly form, retreating into the woods.  The Sheriff was barely able to catch Lucy as she collapsed into his arms.

#  #  #

            Lucy woke in a hospital bed, her left arm immobilized, wrapped in gauze and bandages.  She looked around the room and noticed Sheriff Walters asleep in a chair in the corner.  She smiled at him and said a prayer of thanks that he arrived when he did.  She shifted in bed, trying to sit up and Sheriff Walters woke up, rising to his feet.

            “Well, you are finally awake,” he said to Lucy, walking over and taking her right hand in his.

            “Thank you James,” Lucy said, her voice breaking. “How long have I been here?”

            “Two days,” he told her. “You lost a lot of blood Lucy, it was a near thing.”

            “You didn’t call Marie did you?” she asked him.

            “No Lucy, I know you want to keep her out of all this.”

            “Thank you James,” she said as she pushed the blanket covering her aside.  “Now, are you going to help me get out of this bed?”

            “Lucy, I don’t think that is a good idea.”

            “James, either you can help me, or am I going to have to do it all myself.”

            James sighed in resignation and helped Lucy get out of bed and get dressed.  A nurse entered the room after Lucy removed the monitoring leads attached to her.  A few stern words from Lucy and the nurse left to call her doctor.

            “Well, let’s go,” Lucy said. “That monster isn’t going to kill itself.”

#  #  #

            Lucy and James sat at the kitchen table while a pot of coffee percolated on the stove.

            “So what’s the plan?” James asked her.

            “The plan is I’m going to kill that creature before it can hurt anymore children,” Lucy said.  “Don’t try to talk me out of it either Jim.”

            James shut his mouth and looked at her.  He stood up and poured them both a cup of coffee, setting hers on the table by her.

            “How are you going to do it?” he asked.  “Your magic didn’t stop it.”

            “No, it didn’t stop it for long, but it was hurt by the magic,” Lucy replied.  “It is out there, recovering, weak and I’m going to finish it before it gets to strong.”

            “You aren’t doing it by yourself,” James told her. “I don’t care what you say, I’m going with you.”

            “If you are going with me, I need you to go do something for me first,” Lucy said, pulling a pencil and pad of paper over.  “A few things I’m going to need.”

            She wrote for a moment, tore off the piece of paper and handed it to James.  He looked at it reading it, started to smile and then laugh.

            “Damn Lucy, you always surprise me,” he told her.  “Give me about two hours and I’ll be back.”

            “Take your time James,” she told him, “I have a few things to get ready myself.”

            It was mid afternoon when the Sheriff returned to Lucy’s home.  He grabbed a box from the bed of his pickup truck and brought it inside, setting it on the kitchen table.

            “Lucy,” he called, “I’m back with what you wanted.”

            “I’m in the workshop,” Lucy hollered.  “Bring them back here please.”

            James picked up the box and walked into Lucy’s workroom, placing it on the only clear spot the massive oak table had on it.  He noticed a black leather bound book laying open on the table with writing on the pages that made his eyes hurt.

            “What is this?” James asked, pointing at the book.

            “That is a very powerful, very old grimnoir,” Lucy said.  “One that I have not used in a very long time.  Old magic.  Powerful magic.”

            “If it is so powerful, why didn’t you use it before?” he asked her.

            “I didn’t think I would need it,” she said, “Besides, it is dangerous.”

            “Dangerous?  How dangerous?”

            “Jim, you are going to have to trust me,” she said as she started to unload the box of bug spray.

            “You didn’t answer my question Lucy,” he said, as he placed a hand on hers, stopping her from unloading the box.  “How dangerous is it?”

            “It is some of the darkest magic that has ever been written down.”  She placed a hand on the book.  “In the hands of someone who didn’t know what they were doing, they could die or worse.”

            “Or worse?  What could be worse than dying?”

            “Having some hell beast ride around in your flesh,” Lucy said.  “Now, are you going to help me or are you going to keep distracting me?”

            Two hours later, the bug spray was ready and packed in a bag.  Jim slung it across his back, his shotgun carried on a sling, hanging across his chest, ready to be used.  Lucy carried another pack on her back and the silver dagger on her hip.  The sun was low on the horizon and thunder rumbled in the distance.

            “Well, looks like we may get wet, but we should reach it’s lair before the sun goes down,” she said.  “It won’t give us much time but we can do this.”

            “I know,” James said.  “Lead the way.”

            Lucy walked across her backyard with James behind her, his hands resting on the shotgun, and into the woods.  It took them much less time to reach the creatures hiding spot, as Lucy didn’t have to search for it.  As they neared the creature’s lair, the woods grew silent.  Lucy stopped and motioned for James to hand her the bag of bug bombs.  She reached into the bag and withdrew one.
            “Well, let’s see if it is awake yet,” she said, tossing the bug bomb ahead of her. 

As it impacted the ground, it exploded, the smoke traveling along the ground, up trees, into bushes, fireflies began to fall dead to the ground where the smoke traveled.  The rustling of hundreds of insects taking flight filled the woods.  James brought the shotgun up to his shoulder as he clicked the safety off, stepping to one side of Lucy so she would be out of his line of fire.

The creature coalesced in front of them.  It lacked any of the beauty it had from the night before, its glamour gone.  What stood before them was the creature in all of its hideous appearance.  It hissed as it stretched its sinewy arms towards them.

            “I told you that I would kill you Adze,” Lucy said.

            “You and the other will suffer for this witch,” It said.  “I can still taste your blood.”

            Lucy reached into the bag and pulled another bug bomb out and tossed it at the creature.  As it neared it, James opened up with his shotgun, silver buckshot tearing into the upper torso of the vampire.  It screamed in pain and lunged toward him.  The bug bomb impacted the ground, exploding, the smoke seeking it out.  As the smoke touched its skin, the areas turned black and dead fireflies fell from it.

            James shot it again in the chest.  It staggered back as Lucy tossed two more bug bombs at its feet.  They exploded, the smoke curling around its legs.  The vampire screamed in agony as its legs were being eaten away.  It launched itself at James, knocking him to the ground.  Lucy screamed, kicking it in the face.  As the vampire reared back from the kick, James pushed the shotgun into its abdomen and pulled the trigger.

            The creature doubled over, falling off of James.  He pushed himself to his feet and backed away as Lucy started to drop more bug bombs around it.  As they exploded, the smoke they emitted quickly moved to the creature.  Soon it was surround in the enhanced smoke of the bug bombs.  It screamed as its flesh was eaten away.
            Lucy stepped back as she threw the last bug bomb.  She moved over to James to check on him.  They stood there and listened to the vampire scream in agony as it died.  As the smoke cleared away, a pile of dead fireflies littered the ground.  Lucy reached into her bag and removed a bottle of oil.  She walked over to the pile of fireflies and poured it over them in an intricate pattern.  She stepped back, pulling a box of matches out, lighting one and tossing it onto the pile.  Fire blossomed up, forming the sun image she had carved into the ground before.

            “Time to go home Sheriff,” she said, leaning against James.  “Maybe we will beat the rain back.”

            They both looked up at the darkening sky as they walked back towards her house.

           

 

           

           

 

           

 

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About Joseph Capdepon II

Bearded, opinionated, writer and lover of all things science fiction, horror or fantasy related. Thank you for reading.
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11 Responses to Night of the Fireflies – A work in progress

  1. Alauda says:

    I would have taken your advice to heart, but then I noticed you wrote this piece of crap.

    • You sad little man. I guarantee that I will sell my work, long before you ever write anything that will sell.

      What do you know though, you’ve attacked a man who makes a lot of money writing “crap” as you call it.

  2. leochampion says:

    Thank you, anonymous troll, for deigning to grant your insightful judgment upon this humble story.

    “Piece of crap.”

    Wow. Such wit.

  3. Jerry Chancellor says:

    Good stuff!

    • Alauda says:

      You people need to get better taste.
      … it’s not “pink SF”… I guess that’s something.

      • Obviously, nothing compares to the pretentious crap that you write. Please, educate us poor mortals in how one should write Mr. Stalker man.

      • Alauda says:

        Firstly, learn what metaphors are. Also, insects are animals. That’s important. Commas are important too. P.Wretch from the I Hate Music message board described Ballard’s style as “dices science textbooks and Ernst-like surrealism with devastating precision.”

        Also, the word pretentious reeks of lowbrow snobbery.

        Also, first sentences are overrated. This is less a jab at you and more a jab at Correia, since you maintain a consistent style throughout.

      • So says the guy who hasn’t sold a damn thing, talking about an author who is living off the money he makes from his novels.

        Pretentious is the correct word for your work.

      • Insects are animals? What are you talking about?

      • Alauda says:

        You put a line about insects and animals in your story.
        HOWEVER, insects are themselves members of kingdom Animalia.

        You may not be the first or last person who’s made that mistake, but still.

        As for pretentious, do I use too many big words you don’t understand?

  4. Insectress says:

    Very nice! Look forward to reading more of it.

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