Fireflies – Part 5

Last week, my two Owl City fanfiction characters, Arden and Ben, had just captured Queen Titania, the firefly that will help Ben cure his insomnia and fall asleep. Join me for the last part of their adventure!

“Are you ready for the potion?” Arden asked, looking very serious. “I can’t give it to you if you’re not ready.”

“I’m ready,” I told her. I knew there were no such things as potions. Then what was she planning on giving me? Maybe her “sleeping potion” was some sort of alien beverage. Maybe she was going to use it to knock me out and carry me off in her mother ship to her home planet. Maybe I wasn’t so ready for this drink after all. “Wait!”

“Here you go!” She cut off my protest as she unclipped the red thermos from her backpack.

I didn’t reach out for it right away, suspicious of alien intentions. “Arden, that’s the thermos you’ve been carrying around all night,” I pointed out. “Titania didn’t give you that.” Unless Titania was actually one of her alien agents, and the firefly was just a cover story.

“It was empty before. As soon as we caught Titania, it filled with her sleeping potion.” Arden explained, twisting off the lid and handing me the bottle.

I smelled it warily. I didn’t know what alien potions were supposed to smell like, but this certainly reminded me of something with earthly origins. I slowly lifted the thermos up to my mouth.

“Go on!” Arden said with a smile on her face.

I looked down into the thermos. If I took a sip, I might be kidnapped by aliens, but on the other hand, I might be able to fall asleep. The desire for sleep overcame my fear of aliens. With that thought in mind, I took a sip. “This isn’t sleeping potion at all. Just warm milk.”

“The potion tastes like whatever the person drinking it likes. It just tastes like warm milk to you.” Arden sat down on the grass and patted the space next to her.

I sat down still wondering if it was truly warm milk I was drinking.

“Now that Titania’s given you the sleeping potion, we have to let her go.” Arden gently picked up the jar. “I’m weird ‘cause I hate goodbyes.” She handed the jar to me. “You caught her Ben, you get to let her go.”

I peered into the jar and stared at the fireflies we collected. The funny thing was, I actually felt a little sad letting them go. I twisted open the lid, and they flew out blinking.

“They’re saying farewell, Ben!” Arden started waving to them. “Bye, fireflies! Bye!”

We watched them fly off and join the rest of their firefly friends. “I got misty eyes as they said farewell, didn’t you, Ben?” Arden asked. A couple tears fell from her eyes, and she brushed them away.

I looked down into the jar I was still holding. “Look, there are still several fireflies in here.”

“Quick! Put the lid back on!” Arden instructed. “Fireflies prevent bad dreams, did you know that, Ben? It’s from the Legend of the Firefly. Now if your dreams get real bizarre you’ll know where several are ‘cause you saved a few and kept them in a jar!”

“Arden, we’ve been over your legend,” I began, but stopped. Even if the legend wasn’t real, it was still a nice thought.

“Did you know that fireflies flash in a pattern, Ben? You can tell the species of firefly just by the way they flash.” Arden began instructing me in the science of fireflies. I just watched the fireflies lighting up the lake. My eyelids soon felt heavy, and I could feel my head nodding forward. I just needed to lean back in the cool grass while Arden lectured on. The potion must be working.

“Isn’t that great, Ben?” asked Arden. “Ben?” I didn’t bother to answer her. I was too tired. My eyes shut completely, and I fell asleep.

“Ben? Ben?” I groaned and felt someone shaking me. “Ben, wake up! We have to leave before the sun comes up, or Titania will curse us.”

“Leave me alone,” I mumbled. “I want to sleep.”

“Ben, you’ll be turned to stone if you sleep here! Come on!” Arden grabbed my hand and tried to yank me to my feet. She tugged and pulled at my arm, until I finally struggled up to my feet so she’d stop. My vision was all blurry, and I could barely see anything.

“Hurry, hurry! Queen Titania will curse us if we stay by her palace after dawn.” Arden yanked on my arm again, trying to pull me down the path.

I stumbled forward, tripping over one of the tree roots. I fell on my face for the second time that night.

“Are you okay, Ben?” Arden asked.

“Just leave me here,” I moaned. “I’ll risk the curse. I’ll stay right here in this nice comfy bed of leaves.”

Above me, I heard a scream. “AHHH! I’m turning into stone! SAVE YOURSELF!”

I looked up to see Arden frozen in place with a terrified look on her face. “I know you’re not stone, Arden,” I told her, about to put my head back down in the leaves.

Arden didn’t respond.

“Arden?”

She didn’t say anything. She just stood perfectly still with that look on her face. I knew she hadn’t been turned to stone. She couldn’t really be a statue. “Ohhhhhh. C’mon, Arden.”She was so frustrating sometimes. I couldn’t stand it. I had to check. Pulling myself up, I walked slowly over to her. “Arden?” Still, she didn’t move. She certainly didn’t look like stone. I thought I saw her breathing, but I wasn’t sure. I bet her skin would feel cold if she were really a statue. I reached out to touch her arm to test my theory.

“Boo!” The statue cried.

“AHHHH!” I screamed as the Arden statue came to life, making a face at me.

“Ha, ha! I got you, Ben!” Arden doubled over with laughter. “You…should…have…seen…your face…ha….ha!”

I just glared at her. Arden kept laughing.

Waiting for her to finish, I looked around me and realized the sky above the lake was lightening. I guessed I had been asleep for a while. “Arden, are you done yet?”

“I’m sorry, Ben. Your reaction was so funny, and I’m pretty sleep deprived. I always get silly when I haven’t had enough sleep. You were just going to sleep there unless I did something to make you get up. It worked. You’re up! Now, onward, brave knights, onto our gallant steeds, and we shall ride off into the dawn!” Arden pretended to mount a horse, and then “galloped” off. I just stood there, shaking my head, wondering how sleep-deprived Arden was any different than normal Arden and wondering how she still had any energy left. I know I didn’t.

We “galloped” up to the stairs of my front porch thirty minutes later. Arden chattered on about quests, fair ladies, and brave knights, but all I could think about was crawling into bed.

“Let’s go pretend it’s winter and welcome it back, put on warm fuzzy sweaters, and watch the snowflakes fall gently to the ground!” Arden announced, skipping up my front porch steps.

I looked up at the sky. The sun had risen over the horizon, and it was already hot out. It was going to be a scorching August day, and there was no way I was going to wear a sweater in this heat. Besides, I had no energy left whatsoever. If the stair railing hadn’t been there, I probably would have fallen over. “Arden, I think I need to go to bed. I’m exhausted,” I told her.

“Oh.” She actually sounded disappointed. “Do you think you’re tired enough to go to sleep?”

Was I tired enough to go to sleep? I had only been chasing fireflies all night, tracking down dragons, and galloping through the forest. Yep, I was tired. I yawned and nodded, my eyes already half-shutting.

“See, Ben? I told you I’d put you to sleep!”

I groaned and nodded. I was so tired I could barely keep my eyes open. Arden yanked open the door, and skipped inside, pulling me along with her. “Good-morning, Mrs. Sweet!” she called cheerfully.

“Hello, Arden. My, aren’t you cheerful this morning. What are you doing here so early?” Mom looked at me. “Benjamin, are you feeling okay? You look sick.”

“I’m fine, Mom. Just tired,” I mumbled.

“I was helping him fall asleep by catching fireflies and finding Queen Titania, the lightning bug that will help him not feel like such an insomniac,” Arden told my mom, who nodded politely. I was sure she was thinking that Arden was crazy.

“Good-night, Ben! Or should I say good-morning?” She giggled at the thought, following me down the hall to my room.

“Whatever you’d prefer,” I grumbled falling into bed.

Arden switched off my light.

“Leave my door open just a crack,” I muttered, shutting my eyes. In a moment, I was fast asleep.

Thanks for reading!

~ Kayla

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