Have you ever seen a Firefly before? Have you ever come across it before..Do you even know what it looks like?
Well I have.
I have been told growing up that Fireflies were bugs,like those lightening bugs…but in actual facts. they are not bugs at all, infact biologically speaking they are from the beetle family.. you know beetles right? Good.
Oh you don’t know what I am talking about? then, indulge me a little.
Because this isn’t just another fable. .
I saw a Firefly once..in my brother’s room., it was beautiful. .. all I saw was the glow it radiated, and I was scared to touch it so I didn’t. .. I watched it till I fell asleep.
I woke up the next morning, it was gone. But also was my brother. He was the exact carboncopy of me.
You know, I was always told, even taught that; Fireflies are these really beautiful insects that come out at night and they glow, literally like each carrying a light. you can see them when dusk begins; they light up the night flying, silently moving. there is an ethereal qualities to this little things… they beacon in the dark.
there have been stories of this fireflies, that my Nana had told me, myths of long ago..Maybe even magic attributes to them.
She had told me that some people say these fireflies were a product of burning grasses, and then they are caught, then put in the transperant boxes and used like a lantern, like a lighted fire to a wig in the lantern, but in these case, it’s the fireflies that glow within, like magic it gives you light in the dark, then goes to sleep in the dawn.
Some others say that fireflies are souls of dead soldiers
from the war or warriors who fell from the battlefield. And because they were some sort of protectors of lives , fighting for peace and what not… when they died, their souls transformed into light and then the flies who had pertched on their dead bodies absorbed these lights, they becoming one..
And there were others. others who said that they..were a beacon of passion, or heat, of love, of courtship, the males blinking their lights to the females they were interested in and the females responds by blinking theirs, that they too were interested in their advances.
Nana had told me so many stories. …
But the one I remembered that very next day were two that stucked
one was the fact that Fireflies were not just flies which illuminated or glowed in the dark, they had a compound which helped these flies light up called Luciferin, which had origins in a Latin word called Lucifer, which meant light bearing, in other instances it was called ‘The Light Bringer’
And the other one I couldn’t shake off… was that if a firefly got into your house or a lightning bug, it meant , someone was going to die soon.
And I only remembered it after I saw it,when I feel asleep. And I said I was going to tell mother as soon as I woke up. ..I was going to. I promise.
But when I did, when I did wake up, I didn’t see the firefly and it was already morning.
Luke wasn’t in his bed, luke wasn’t anywhere. And our door was closed,so was the window and his shoes was still there on the floor and so was his teddy bear.
I ran to mother screaming..”Mama mama, luke is gone.” but mama didn’t believe me.
“Luke gone, where ? maybe he is hiding somewhere , you both like to play hide and seek”
But he wasn’t there ..I kept telling her.
But by the time she went up to look for Luke when he didn’t come down to have breakfast and had showered like I have ,waiting on the table with father and christy my sister… Then she began to panic.
We looked for luke, we searched everywhere , mama and papa called the police, they filed a missing boy’s report and his picture was all over the TV and school and newspapers.
we never found luke. we never found my brother . I was 10 years old then.
Now I am 15, and I never knew what happened to my brother, but I knew this. This wasn’t a folklore or a myth, That fireflies took my brother , and I woulld not let it take anyone else.
Today, I saw another firefly in my house, and this time I think it came for me
I was asleep when I heard the buzzing sound , much like a bee. there was this tap tap sound against my window pane, as though the tree branch decided to dance with it.
Then I heard the rustling of tree leaves, clapping to the sway of the night breeze. it was dark, everyone was asleep. mama, papa, christy.
Ever since that night long ago, I hardly fully slept. Sometimes I felt as though I could hear him, luke, calling out for me. Sometimes I think I see him among the faces in crowd, and other times I wonder if he was standing behind me, in the shadows, or that voice I keep hearing…
But I wonder if it was just my mind playing tricks on me. Maybe it was.
I never gave It much thought. I never saw a firefly ever since then.
But as I heard the sound and opened my eyes, I felt a certain heat, close to my arm, as though someone was playing a lighted matchstick with my skin,..it felt really warm, I wince in pain, opening my eyes as soon as I snatched my arm away, sitting up suddenly.
There, not so far away from me, hovering, as a fly would, was it. the lighted bug, the firefly.
but what was more scary, was the fact that within the firefly as I looked at it, it suddenly became a man or ..no it was a woman. And she looked exactly like my mother. .
“Mother ??’” I choked out the word, fear gripping me as the once small fly was standing in my room, a woman…my mother. I didn’t understand anything as I shifted away to the wall, the scream stopping in my mouth and my legs becoming weak..
“Mother??” I called again, as though it only permitted me to speak.
Then it, she..who looked like my mother shock her head, she was naked, the light still glowing behind her like wings, her hair flowing to the ground and her beauty profound .
I shake my head again…my fear giving way for tears. “Mother?”
I hear her voice without her speaking “Lucifera, goddess to the light bringer Luciferin .”
“So you are not my mother ??”
“No” the voice radiated through the room, “but I can assume any shape and face I want, creature, man, objects”
“What do you want ..?”
“Twins are a life blood of sustainability . they prolong immortality . they are pure breed of the humans, and we need this pure breeds to continue our life’s source ”
“Did you take my brother, luke? it was you”
“Is he dead?”
“He is …Alife in the spirit , dead to this world. his soul is connected to many souls taken before him. ”
“Then it was him I have been seeing, feeling, hearing ”
“Do you miss your brother ”
“ever since I was ten”
“Do you want to go to him”
“……..” I am quiet. I missed luke, but I didn’t want to die
‘”You are scared …”
“I would make it less painful. it won’t hurt… I promise”
“But I don’t want to go…mama, papa, christy needs me”
“It is your mother who gave you up, it is your mother who put all this into motion”
“wh..what do you mean? ”
“Long ago, your mother and mothers before her and mothers before the mothers…Began the sacrifice of Their blood to live a long and fulfilled life. they where from the line of witches , over time as their kind began to be killed, in other to protect themselves they had to denounce the coven. but no none truly ever leaves the coven unless you have a good enough sacrifice to give up in your place.
During their time, in other to keep us..fed..and healthly and retain our superior immortality..something we had lost when God had kicked my husband , Luciferin out of the heavens. He was the most beautiful Angel, number one praise worship singer, his voice was beautiful and amongst other things he was the bringer of light..
He glowed . but as he fell to earth, he lost it..he lost all of it except a tiny flicker of light , and the only way he realised he could get it back is to have people ,humans here on earth worship him, sacrifice things to him, gave up their lives to him. he ..came like God in the space in their lives, No one has ever seen God’s face , and when he came,the light bringer, appearing before them in his little light. they fell and worshiped him. but his own light began to dim, he was dying.. and just like a thought hovering past, he figured that…Since God could give and take life that maybe he could be able to do so too and that’s when it all began. He asked them to sacrifice themselves in return for power, and men,such gullible creatures did so..some voluntaring.
And as they died, by the glow of light he struck through their heart he became re-energised. And in return, he gave them power, dark powers to do as they pleased. but over time; men,the ones on the other side of the divide began to fight against them…they called them witches and they ran a stake through their hearts..
Now the women who survived needed to be far away from death, and they came together to renounce and renouncing meant..they leave and Luciferin becomes dim and he dies. so he gave them a condition…In order for you to truly be set free ..you have to give me something in return. . your first born twins…. Those who refused were slain as they left the sacred ground. those who remained…accepted and years and years later, We wait for their children and chidren’s children who at born alike because their bond is sacred and their line is pure, undiluted to create two different but thesame life forms. And now…
Hundreds and thousands of twins have been collected, ..and now your brother was taken first, and I. .Goddess of Luciferin, married to him and made immortal just like him, the light my glow, have come for you…”
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“And if I refuse to come”
“You have no choice”
“And if I refuse to be taken”
“Then your mother will be taken in your name ”
“You did say she is aware…about this. that she knew my brother was taken..”
I sink to my bed, the words heavy on my chest. so mother had known, she had known all this while…why we cried, while we buried an empty coffin, and was devasted for months.
she knew..mother knew and she never said anything. she was protecting herself. I was fifteen, I was young..but I knew this, I knew how it felt to lose a loved one. my brother was me and I was my brother ..and because mama didn’t want to die, because mama had been part of a demonic coven and didn’t want to die she had used us to save her skin.. Her two baby boys..he was just ten..
I wipe my eyes , staring at her..
“You want me but I don’t want to die. why don’t I make my own deal with the devil”
“You can’t. it has been decided.”
“What if I kill myself..”
“You can’t . you will be killed by my hands,your body desolviing into mine, your soul become a part of me and only your spirit roams, but spirits are unseen shadows, a fog of the night ..like smoke..they do not exist.”
‘Then..let us make our own deal then”
“What is your deal”
“Take my mother”
“You cannot ask me to do that. you have no right”
“If my mother gave us up, she had no right to do so, but since she did and her mother before her did and mothers before our mother’s did, then…I have a right to give her up too…and if I do give her up, what happens…?”
“We go, and then you become our new pact…”
“What would you now take from me..?”
“When you die, when you do die naturally, your body and soul becomes mine.”
“But you leave my family alone ?”
“Yes..Yes I will”
”Then take my mother”
“Very well ” She says without talking , I watch her go back to her form, back to her firefly state , and suddenly she was gone , the once illuminated room became a thick fog of darkness.
I woke up .
I thought it was a dream..I thought it was a dream. but when I went downstairs , when I went down for breakfast after I had showered..
Papa and chirsty was already seated, and mother was removing baked chicken from the oven, she nearly fainted when she saw me..
“Luke? ?” She calls out..
Mama and Christy turn, startled ..
I frown…”Its Jake mother. Jake. .Luke is dead, has been since I was ten”
But I notice her shaking..I noticed she was nervous. she kept looking back up the stairs I came from , she kept looking at me.
“what’s wrong mother ?” I had asked her .
“nothing luke ..erm Jake ..Nothing. ”
we had eaten and left for school..
we came back to find her,unsettled. .. She didn’t tell us what was wrong.
I was asleep again tonight when I felt someone beside me, and I had opened my eyes, .. but it wasn’t a dream, this wasn’t a dream. my mother was there, by my bed side, she had a knife. And her hand quickly covers my mouth…
‘You must die Luke, you must die, I killed you before, how and why did you come back. you must die”
I bite her hand and move quickly away from her..”Mother it’s me Jake, not luke”
“No, you are Jake I know my sons apart, I know my sons apart…Luke had a mark on his right cheeck, I gave it to him while he slept, to mark him ..and you never had one stain to you ..but your cheek..the mark is there..its there…and you must die”
“Mother what are you doing ? it’s me Jake it’s me, I don’t have any ..” I trail off as I touch my cheeks, and indeed, my once soft smooth face felt liked someone had slashed a knife across my face .. I couldn’t believe it. it was not there before, it was never there..
I am Jake. I am Jake not luke ..but why did I have his scar on my face…
“See ..you must die” she reaches for me but I hit her away,she stumbles backwards, and then she stands coming for me again with the knife in her hand. ..
“Mother..please…” I begged , she was at the door, blocking me from leaving…
“No…you must die..you must..” she says.. then I saw the glow again, I felt it this time behind me… I saw her eyes grow big…I saw her fear…I saw it. it wasn’t a dream, this wasn’t a dream.. the goddess was real,the firefly was real and my mother had killed Luke when he was ten, by allowing the firefly take him…and now she wanted me dead too..because I ought to have been.
“Come here now..come here ” she screams at me, beckoning me with the knife..”Come here now, if not she..she would kill me” she says reaching for my hand and pulling me near her, I didn’t pull away.. “Come here luke”
“I am Jake mother.. ” I twist the knife from her hands and hit it away ..
“And I hope you find redemption in your own death, since you didn’t give my brother the chance to live, you don’t deserve to live either ” I tell her pushing her towards the glowing light, it’s body once again a woman…and her face still my mother’s
“No no no no no” Mother screams. .but goddess Luciferin reaches out her hands and plunges it through her heart. I watch her scream stop..I watch her body dissolve and her watch life ebb away from her..
And suddenly…my once illuminated room became a darkness.. the firefly was gone, so was my mother and the scar on my cheeks was gone ., it was back to being smooth. And I wondered if my brother luke was really here or mother has been going crazy. . And then I heard that voice again ..”Mother”
And now I understood it..
He was trying to tell me it was mama that did it, gave him up, sacrificed him for her..and I was next.
I went back to my bed and laid down..
For the first time in a long time, I felt peace..and I never heard him speak again. Tomorrow the search for my mother would begin, and just like my brother, it would die down after a couple of months…and then she would be forgotten .. And when I grow older, married and lived a long life, I will die.
Today, as I laid on my hospital bed, years later, old and grey and my bones weak and my breathing laboured.. My children and children’s children had just left, I had lived a good life ..And I knew that they would be safe.. I see a Firefly glowing in the dark..and I knew this time. ..I would go freely..
And my family will never have to see another firefly again.
I close my eyes as the warmth became hot…and then all I feel is nothingless. ..as the light took me in death.