Fireflies – Part 4

Over the past three weeks, Arden has been trying her hardest to help her friend Ben overcome his insomnia. Will she succeed? Find out in this week’s installment of my Owl City fanfiction, Fireflies!

“Arden!” I shouted. She didn’t respond. I ran as fast as I could through the underbrush of the woods. I dipped, dodged, and fought my way through the scrub. Stopping to untangle a branch from my shirt, I realized I wasn’t even sure I was running in the right direction. In my panic for Arden’s safety, I had just run. I should have looked for clues, like some broken branches or footprints. I pulled out my cell phone and using the flash light app, I started to examine the ground. Focused on my investigation, I forgot to look where I was going. My foot caught on a tree root, and I tumbled forward.

I groaned into the leaves. I wondered if I was paralyzed. I’d never be able to call for help now. I would never find Arden, and my body would just decompose into the ground, and I would never be found again. My thoughts were interrupted as I felt something touch the back of my neck. A triumphant roar followed. “I will slay you foul beast!! The victory is mine! …Oh, Ben, it’s you. Good thing I recognized you! I could have cut off your head with my sword.”

I looked up to see Arden, a long stick in her hand. I didn’t see any swords. “What happened to you?”

“What happened to me?” Arden giggled. “I was chasing a dragon, remember?”

“I heard your phone go dead when I was talking to you. I thought something had happened,” I explained, starting to become irritated. She had really scared me. Who knew what horrible things were lurking in the woods?

“My phone battery just died. Forgot to charge it.”

I stood up, my heart still pounding. Nothing had happened. Her phone battery had just died. No dragons, no kidnappers. Nothing. All my panic and paralyzation for nothing.

“Look, Ben, it’s the lake! Are you coming?” Arden called. “You’ve got to see this!” Blissfully unaware of my distress, Arden skipped away through the treeline.

I realized I had better follow her before I lost her again. I found her standing on the bank of the lake twirling around and around. When she saw me, she stopped. “Isn’t it amazing, Ben? It’s like there are ten thousand lightning bugs, and they are all giving me hugs. I can’t believe my eyes!” cried Arden. One of the little bugs landed on her finger. “Hello there!” she said, peering at it. “What’s that? Did you say you want to teach me how to dance?”

“Arden, fireflies don’t dance,” I told her. Not to mention they couldn’t talk either.

“Well, it certainly looks like they’re dancing. Use your imagination, Ben! I can see them doing a foxtrot above my head.”

I squinted my eyes and tried to see it, but I really, really couldn’t. “Arden, I don’t see them -”

Arden cut me off. “Oh, I bet the moon is their disco ball. It looks like it’s just hanging by a thread! Of course, it isn’t. The Earth’s gravity pulls on the moon and keeps it in its orbit. But I can always pretend it’s hanging by a thread. I’m going to check my room as soon as I get home. I bet those fireflies have sockhops beneath my bed.”

Fireflies flew about me, their lights glowing. I wasn’t sure if there were ten million fireflies or ten thousand, but there sure were a lot of them. If I really thought about it, I guess they did look like they were dancing.

“Oh! Oh!” Arden started hopping up and down. “I see her!”

“See who?” I asked blankly.

“Queen Titania, silly! See? She’s right there. The firefly with the little crown on her head.”

I looked in the direction her finger was pointing, but I could not see a royal lightning bug.

“Catch her, quick, Ben! Where’s your net? Oh, good. you have it. Swing your net!”

I swung my net and caught a few fireflies.

“Those aren’t Titania. They’re her ladies-in-waiting,” Arden told me, looking into my net.

I wasn’t sure how she could tell the difference. They all looked like the same glowing bugs.

“There she is! She’s right beside you!” Arden pointed to a firefly, and I swung again. She peered into my net. “Hmmm … ” she pretended to adjust imaginary glasses on her nose. “I’m the fireflyologist, and I believe that none of these fireflies are in fact the Queen. Swing again!”

I must have run from one end of the lake to the other, Arden running behind me, shouting that the Queen was here or there. Then after I swung, Arden would peer into my net and tell me I hadn’t caught the Queen yet. I handed her my net for the umpteenth time.

“Did I catch her?” I panted.

“There she is!” Arden gently cradled a glowing firefly. “Queen Titania.”

She placed the firefly in the jar and twisted on the lid. “Now that you’ve caught her, she can give you her sleeping potion!”

Thanks for reading! Part 5 is next week.

~ Kayla

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Fireflies – Part 3

*Fireflies by Owl City plays* Welcome to this week’s installment of Fireflies, my Owl City fanfiction! Last time, Arden and Ben were setting off on their adventure to help Ben beat his insomnia by catching a special firefly. Will poor Ben ever get to sleep? Stay tuned!

Arden started marching off in the direction of the lake. “Queen Titania’s palace is right on the shores of the lake, Ben. It’s so beautiful! To get there we have to brave the cold mountains, the enchanted forest, and the hungry dragons. The fireflies will light the way for us. Come on, Ben! We must continue on!”

“The lake is about a mile and a half walk,” I protested trudging along behind her. “And the last time I looked there were no mountains, forest, or dragons in our town.” Not to mention fairies or fireflies named Titania.

“We’ll be back by morning, Ben, don’t worry,” Arden assured me. “Besides, it’s not like you can sleep.”

I swished my net in front of me making the air whistle around it. I wondered why I told her about my insomnia problem, and why I ever thought she would have a “normal” solution. Still it was a nice night for a walk, and Arden was right. I couldn’t sleep. “Okay, Arden. Are we getting close to the golden mountains yet?”

“They’re the cold mountains, and they aren’t too far away. We need a song to sing while we walk. Maybe an ol’ sea shanty, mate! Argh.” She did her best pirate impression. “Or maybe a song about fireflies! I’d get a thousand hugs from ten thousand lightning bugs …” she started to sing.

“I feel like I’ve heard that somewhere,” I told her.

“Me, too,” Arden said. “What else could we sing?”

“How about we don’t sing?” I suggested.

“You’re no fun, Ben! But, oh, if we don’t sing we can pretend we’re creeping through the forest, looking for the dragons so we can arrest them. Officer Hart calling Officer Sweet.” She said the words into her hand and made a clicking sound with her tongue like a radio clicking on and off. I stared at her, wondering how one girl could have so many strange ideas mixed up in her head.

“But, Arden. Police officers and dragons don’t have anything to do with each other.” This crossing of storylines was too much for me.

“Pst! You have to talk back in your radio, Ben!” Arden whispered, holding up her hand.

“Arden, really.”

“I can’t hear you.”

“C’mon, Arden.”

“I can’t hear you.”

“Officer Sweet calling Officer Hart,” I said, giving in to her demands.

“Officer Sweet, I think I see our dragon. I’m going in after him,” Arden said through her “radio.”

“Umm…Arden?”

“You mean Officer Hart. I can’t hear you if you don’t talk through your radio. You should have learned proper radio procedure in the academy.”

I sighed, looking up into the night sky, and held my hand up to my mouth. “Police don’t track down dragons. Dragons aren’t real. So you couldn’t possibly have seen a dragon. Right, Arden?” There was no answer. Looking around me, I realized Arden was nowhere to be seen. “Arden?” I called again. Still, there was no answer. It was just me and the fireflies. Maybe she’d gotten distracted and was chasing down another imaginary creature. “Arden!” I called, hoping she would appear. After a few more minutes of silence, I started getting worried. There was only one thing to do. I pulled out my cell phone and dialed Arden’s number.

“Hello, Ben! Where are you?” she answered, then yelled, “Back foul beast!”

“I’m where I was when you left me. Where are you, Arden? I thought I lost you,” I told her.

“I’m fighting a dragon and oh, look!” Arden squealed on the other end of the phone.

Then the phone went dead. “Arden?” I cried. “Arden?” Immediately, my mind flooded with a million horrible things that could have happened to her. Maybe a kidnapper got her, or she fell into a hole, or a bear attacked her. Maybe she could have even run into a dragon. If there really was a dragon, I decided I couldn’t leave her to fight it alone. With that thought, I dashed forward, calling her name.

Thanks for reading!

~ Kayla

Writing Sample – Hot Air Balloon – Part 4

Welcome to the fourth and final part of my Owl City fanfic, Hot Air Balloon! In the last part, Arden and Ben found a hot air balloon in her basement. Today they’re taking it for a spin.

Arden climbed in and held out her hand. This time I grabbed her hand and climbed in with her. “Bon voyage!” she cried and tossed away the rope that anchored us.

“ARDEN! What are you doing?” I cried, gazing down at the shrinking ground. This wasn’t exactly what I had in mind.

She gazed at me with innocent green eyes, “Spending the afternoon in a cold hot air balloon, like you said.”

“But, but, but,” I stuttered, unable to verbalize anything except that single word. I hadn’t planned on actually leaving the ground. I figured at our most daring, we’d let the balloon rise to the end of the tether. I had definitely not planned on totally leaving the ground without any way to get back down. Did I forget to mention, I was afraid of heights?

I felt the whirling in my head and the trembling in my knees, familiar signs of my acrophobia, as the balloon crept higher in the sky. My stomach quickly dropped to the floor of the basket, and I really wanted to sit down and join it, but unfortunately there was only room to stand. I grasped the sides of the basket and began mentally preparing to die.

“Isn’t this great! I wished I had brought that parachute. We could have tried it out.”

“Are. You. Crazy?” I harshly ground out the words in response to her newest idea. I didn’t think she even heard me because at that point Arden leaned out over the basket and touched the tree tops.

“Here you go.” She proudly handed me a handful of leaves. They dropped to the basket floor untouched as there was no way I was letting go of the sides. She looked down at the leaves and up at my face. “Wow! Your face is as green as the leaves. I didn’t think people really could turn green, but you’ve proved me wrong.”

Groaning, I shut my eyes and wished for this ride to be over. I couldn’t wait to kiss the ground wherever we touched back down. If we touched back down.

“Hello, town!” hollered Arden down to the oh-so-far-away-ground-where-normal-people-stayed. I didn’t even look. I kept my eyes glued shut.

“Look at the sky! It looks like we could almost touch the sun we’re so high up! Look, look!” she cried, shaking my shoulder.

“Arden,” I begged, hoping from that one word plea she would understand that her moving me might bring about undesired consequences.

“You can see our school from here. Oh, and there’s the church we bought the parachute from! Isn’t it just a wonderful view, Ben?” I cracked my eyes open slightly. Her face, millimeters from mine, looked concerned for the first time today.  I shut my eyes again before I got sick.

“Are you going to be ok?”

Oh, please, please, please, please, please, please, let us get to the ground, I prayed silently.

“Actually, I think we’re starting to come back down.” God’s answer to my prayer was delivered via Arden’s chatter. “Yep, we are now descending. Passengers, fasten your seatbelts,” playacted Arden, making clicking sounds with her tongue to represent the sound of seatbelts.

I could definitely feel the balloon gently dropping, and pretty soon the basket was dragging along the ground, bumping and bouncing over every stick and stone. “Wheeeeee!” Arden yelled, as if she were on a rollercoaster. The bumping and bouncing did remind me of a rollercoaster. Did I forget to mention that I hate rollercoasters? They make me sick.

The ride came to a sudden halt. “All passengers please disembark the USS Maroon Hot Air Balloon. Thank you for riding Arden Airlines,” she informed me as I took a wobbly step out of the basket and sank down to my knees on the grass. Beautiful, close, green, soft, cool grass. I slowly lowered myself down and lay in the beautiful stuff.

“Want a drink?” I sat up slightly to see Arden kneeling by the bank of the lake drinking the water.

“NO!!!! Don’t do that!” I cried. “There could be microorganisms in that water that could cause Typhoid fever or … or …” I was seriously concerned for her well-being. I mean, I didn’t want Arden to die a horrible death of cholera or something.

Arden glanced up, the water dripping off her chin. “Or what?” She drank the rest of the water pooled in her cupped hands, filled them up again, and held them up to me. “Want some?”

I licked my lips. Boy, I’m pretty thirsty. But what if I get some disease and have to go to the hospital with all those germs, and what happens if I die from drinking that water …  My train of thought was never finished, because I felt a sudden splash of water on me.

“You were suppose to hold out your hands!” she complained as I glanced down at my now wet red and white shirt. I tried to brush the water off, but of course it wasn’t going anywhere.

“I’m wet,” I stated.

“Yeah, so?” she giggled, cupping my hands, racing back to the lake, and returning to fill them up.

“Drink,” ordered Arden. “It tastes like water. What does water taste like?” The chatter turned into a long tangent about the true taste of water. I slowly sipped the water, trying not to imagine the hundreds of thousands of millions of microorganisms creeping down my throat, into my stomach, and then into my bloodstream.

“I don’t feel too great,” I heard Arden say. “I’m going to lay down.”

“We should get you to the hospital! You could be in the early stages of amoebiasis,” I cried. I imagined Arden carted off on a stretcher, her body contorting in its death throes.

“I have a-mob-sis? Sounds like fun.” She smiled and sprawled out in the shade.

I suddenly realized with horror that I had a stomach ache as well. I lay down next to her in the shade, trying not to yawn. I forced myself to stay awake, brainstorming ideas on how to get us both to the hospital without using the hot air balloon …

“24 seconds! That was my best time yet!”

I started and saw Arden gasping for breath and wading in the lake. “Arden? Are you okay? Can you breath?” I called.

She glanced over and ran up to me, dripping wet. “Hello, sleepyhead! You’ve been out a looooooooooong time! I was really bored, so I was holding my breath and swimming.” Arden smiled as she wrung out her dripping braid over me.

“I see that,” I muttered as the water hit my shirt.

Arden yanked me up on my feet. “It’s almost time for dinner. Hungry?”

I suddenly remembered that I had the beginning stages of amoebiasis, but found that my “symptoms” were gone. “Your stomach ache?” I asked her.

“Oh, yeah, it’s fine. Just needed to lay down!” she called over her shoulder, running towards the balloon. “Coming?”

I felt sick just looking at the thing. “Is there any other way to go home?” I entreated.

“We could walk around the lake,” she suggested. “We’re only like ten minutes from my house. It won’t take long. Oooooohhhh, we can pretend we’re going on a quest to regain our homeland and slay a dragon,” she imagined as she started skipping around the lake.

“Parachutes, hot air balloons, and dragons, oh my,” I sighed and started after her.

Ten minutes later, we walked in her front door. “I’m going to go change! I’ll be right back!” She dashed off in the direction of her room.

I sat down on the floor, utterly exhausted. Spotting a clock on the wall, I read the time, 6:30pm. Eight and a half hours of non-stop ideas, craziness, and energy. Arden had to be running out of ideas at this point, and I was going to be out of my mind soon. It was time to go.

Arden stepped out of her room, drying her hair on a towel.  “That was a blast! What should we do next? You know, we never did do anything with that parachute.”

“I think I have to go,” I said, standing up and beginning to edge toward the door.

Arden glanced down, slightly downcast. “Oh.” Her face brightened suddenly. “Can you come over tomorrow?”

I sighed as she walked me out. Tomorrow? I didn’t know if I could deal with the craziness tomorrow. I’d be out of my mind soon.

“Please?” I heard her say, as she opened the front door.

She’d have to be out of ideas pretty soon. I relented. “Yeah, I’ll be over tomorrow.”

“Great! See you then,” she started to shut the door and then stopped. “Maybe we can spend the day in a cold hot air balloon again!”

“Maybe we should try something else tomorrow,” I suggested as I turned around on the sidewalk. “Anything else. Dreaming about fireflies, brushing paper tigers black and white, pretending it’s summer. Anything other than a hot air balloon!”

She shrugged, “Okay. Maybe tomorrow we can say hello to Seattle and pretend we’re mountaineers and albatrosses.”

“Maybe,” I agreed, silently hoping she’d forget about that idea.

“‘Night!” she called one last time as the door shut.

As I walked to my house, I thought about all we’d accomplished. We’d written the prelude to a fairytale, bought a parachute from a church rummage sale, sewed with a mean sewing machine and miles of thread, round a racetrack through her mom’s kitchen chairs, fought shadows down her dark basement stairs, and spent the afternoon in a cold hot air balloon. With my worries gone and my frown turned upside down, I walked up my sidewalk, wondering about the adventures in store for tomorrow.

Hope you’ve enjoyed the fanfiction! Arden and Ben will be back another time in a new adventure.

~ Kayla