This little bit is from a story I started during the NaNoWriMo. I haven’t finished it yet, but I thought I would share. It’s the opening of the story, so, there isn’t any setup. It’s tentatively titled, “Fireflies.” I hope you like it.
A soft voice glided through the darkness of his bedroom.
“Follow the fireflies…,” it whispered.
Garek’s eyes snapped open and he gazed around at the shadows stretching across the grayish walls. He sat up slowly, checking the corners of his room. Rubbing his eyes, he checked again.
No one was there.
“Was it a dream?”
He flipped away the covers and walked toward the window, grabbing the glass of water from his bedside table.
Outside, the wind whipped the orange-yellow leaves off the ground in a swirl, snatching one or two from the shriveled branches of the maple trees along the driveway.
He squinted against the lamplight by the walkway, trying to spot the fireflies the woman had mentioned. The night had the feel of early morning, but the outside lights made it too difficult to see anything amongst the trees at the edge of the yard. He saw only the faint reflection of a boy with frazzled, dark brown hair.
“What am I doing? Fireflies are only out in the summer.”
He gulped the last of the water and placed the glass on the windowsill. He hesitated for a second, before smoothing his striped pajamas, and climbed back into bed. The pillow was cool against his head. The silhouettes of pointy fingers touched the family pictures on the dresser and his poster of a knight on the wall. He knew that it was silly to be afraid of the shapes, that they were harmless.
He stared at the ceiling, his mind reeling at the urgency of the words. He thought of the flashlight in the drawer next to him, and how it wouldn’t take long for him to go to the edge of the wood.
He turned over and shut his eyes, smiling at the silliness of the idea.
“I was sure it was real.”
His eyes popped open a moment later, almost on their own, and he threw the thick covers back. He pushed his feet into his sneakers and dug a light out of the drawer. He straddled the floor as he made his way down the hallway, trying to avoid the well-known creaks. Sliding down the railing was the fastest and quietest way down the stairs and to the front door. Before he knew it, he was outside.
The air had the bite of the oncoming winter and the familiar smell of a wood stove somewhere nearby. He crept down the cobbled walkway toward the forest, the frosted grass crunching under his feet as he stepped off of the curving stones. The yard was bright, and it wasn’t until he reached the darkened trees that he needed the flashlight.
At the edge of the treeline, he shined his light into the dark hollows of the night forest.
“This is stupid,” he said aloud.
He stepped into the darkness, knowing it would be the true test of whether or not he was imagining things. His eyes hadn’t adjusted yet, and he jumped when a hoot owl broke the silence. He tripped on a dried branch as he backed away. Something moved behind him and he fumbled with the flashlight.
By the time he got it up and shined around him, whatever it was had gone. He shined his light at the house, then at the forest, then back at the house again, before creeping toward the front door. At first, he edged across the yard, waving the light all around him, but began to walk briskly for a few strides, and, finally, broke into a full dash across the yard and through the front door.
He huffed and puffed, both from running so hard and from fright, as he leaned back against the door. He pulled back the curtain of the small window beside the door and glanced at the yard. Not even the wind moved. The floor creaked and he brought his light to the top of the stairs where his father stood looking down at him, arms crossed, eyebrow cocked.
Garek chuckled and rubbed his neck.
At the forest’s edge, a figure in a hooded, dark blue cloak stood beside a tree, looking at the house. The claws of his metal dug into the bark of the tree. A firefly flew out from under his cloak and he scooped it out of the air, stuffing it back into the little bottle with the others.
The hem of his cloak curled around the tree as he disappeared into the forest.