I lazily woke up from my daytime stupor as the last rays of dusk slowly caressed the other moths awake. It was my first day out since my Hatching and I was eager to get out of the tree that housed the rest of my family.
“Watch out for the frogs, Quicksilver!” my “moth”er called. I waved at her. I shook my wings and launched myself off the branch into the cool, moist darkness.
I quickly lost my bearings as I swooped across the sky, feeling like Icarus, flying close to the stars and creek bed. I fluttered downwards, passing the “moth” of a cave. As I went for another swoop in towards the creek, a small, strong figure slammed into my body and nearly pushed me out of the sky. As I struggled to regain my balance, I noticed my attacker had a strangely compelling flickery light. On him? Near him? I couldn’t tell.
“By golly, you’re a moth! I’m Firedye, the firefly!” His face “lit” up as he waited for a response, which I did not give him. Who even says ‘golly’ anymore? I watched him quickly flick through several emotions and try to engage me again. “I’ve never met one of you moths of the Harvest Clan before! Do you want to go for a fly? Tell me about yourself! What’s with the face, lighten up!” He sounded so uplifting and excietable that I reluctantly agreed. I flew behind so I could selfishly gaze at his soft glow.
The glow flickered in a captivating, almost entrancing way. Like the rest of my Clan, I always felt safe around lights. They seemed to hold all the answers, protect us from anything. Firedye kept talking, and with every breathe and shudder of his wings, the light flickered as if tickled by the wind.
An hour passed and I became increasingly comfortable with Firedye, his presence calming, his persona livening. Polar opposites, like ourselves. A moth creature with an attraction to light, and a fire creature with an attraction to darkness. As the hills became ever darker as the dead of night came to settle, I noticed a dark figure bounding quickly through the field towards our flight path. Thinking it was a frog, I prompted Firedye to fly slightly higher.
“When can I see you again?” My voice held the lightness of a thousand stars, but the needy undercurrent of a midnight riptide.
“Tom- aghHHAA QUICKSIL-” A tall jar swept through the air catching Firedye’s side and pulling him down, cutting off his husky response. A heavy metal lid capped with small, sticky figures slammed down on the glass jar, trapping him inside. Childlike laughter echoed around and the dark figure from earlier took off running.
Fueled by fear and crazed by anger, I flew close to the top of the dark figures head- a child’s head- and buzzed my large leathery wings in his eyes, ears, everything. One of the sticky fingers flew up towards my futilely desperate form and sent me flying- not the good way- through the air until I hit the ground in a soft flutter of powdery dirt. Firedye and the figure too far away to see.
I flew up into the air, higher than I had ever gone, when I saw the lights. Lights that protected us, gave us answers. I knew where I had to go. Several minutes later, I alighted on the white painted window sill, looking through a pane of clear glass. Across the Room of Humans, there was a glass jar like the one that kidnapped Firedye on the opposite windowsill. I circled the Room of Humans and found the jar. Three fireflies fluttered, depressed inside the dirty glass jar, one lay motionless on the bottom. Panic shot through my heart until one of the slowly circling fireflies flashed their light; it was Firedye.
“Are you okay?” I “mothed” to him, hoping for a placebo response to set my mind at ease until I could rescue him.
“Don’t worry about me, the others have been here longer. We’re running out of air.” Firedye flashed me back.
Utmost panic flooded me. Without air, that meant that the fly motionless on the bottom was dead. Firedye could be next. I needed to move fast, faster than “light”. I frantically looked around, and I spied a light hanging. It was the brightest light I’d ever seen, and the air around it buzzed of its omnipotence. I noticed another bug fly towards it, disappearing into the blue tinged white beam. It never came out. I wondered if that meant it had reached en”light”enment.
I flicked my wings and jumped off my perch, heading for the Light. I had nearly reached it when I paused to look back at my love, Firedye. He was frantically slamming into the wall of the jar, trying to say something to me. I steeled myself, I needed to save him. I had to.
“Don’t go Quicksilver.”
“Firedye, you are the light of my life. I love you.” And with that I turned away. And I flew towards the light.
I watched him turn away from me and fly. Fly towards the light. Why would he do that? Questioning rage filled me. I needed to get his attention. I flew into the side of the jar as hard as I could. Each sickening thump, I felt my legs and antennae break, then my wings. I fell to the floor of the jar sobbing, half from the pain, mostly because he never turned back. I used the last of my energy to flash a last hopeful signal to him. To Quicksilver.
“I love you too.”
The next few seconds flew by in horrible slow motion. He neared ever closer to the light. Panic flooded me, making me even more lightheaded. I couldn’t help but watch as he flew into the center of the light, not pausing to look back, certain he would be back to free me. A blinding flash, worse than the very sun, lit up the sides of the glass jar, blinding me. As my eyes recovered, black dots dancing around, I saw a limp body fall to the ground. His limp body. My Quicksilver. I don’t think he ever even saw my declaration.
I had never known pain this great, and it wasn’t my back, legs, or wings. It was heartbreak. Pure heartbreak. I was never going to fly meadows and races with Quicksilver, my first, my only love. I curled up in a ball relishing how my wounds tugged pain throughout my body. I closed my eyes, wishing for the pain to end. Hoping to see Quicksilver again, in the Meadow of the sky. My afterlife name, Firedead.