by "The Enduring Man-Child"
All standard disclaimers apply.
The following story was originally posted at The Acorn Cafe as part of Rain Crow's "Five Minute Fic" challenge. It was composed at the keyboard and posted without a beta, and only a few changes have been made. Please forgive any sloppiness.
I post this fic here for the same reason I posted the last one: I am anxious as to how Foxglove will be treated in the revived Rescue Ranger Comics. Whatever they do with her, I hope all her fans will remember my take on her as well.
I've never been a songfic person, but I suggest listening to Owl City's Fireflies before reading this.
Again, dedicated to our dear Deborah Walley, the voice of Foxglove, on the upcoming tenth anniversary of her passing. She will never be forgotten.
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Foxglove was entranced.
One thing had never changed for her in her entire life. She had noticed that, young as she was, some things just didn't have the magic and wonder that they'd had when she was a child. As a matter of fact, most things didn't. To be precise, all things didn't—except one.
She watched in rapture now as that one unchanged thing, as it always had, filled her with wonder and delight.
The lightning bugs.
Most people paid no attention to them, took them for granted. Most animals did as well. She supposed that mostly lightning bugs paid attention to lightning bugs. Well, except for one little reddish brown bat.
She had never eaten them. For one thing they were so beautiful. Who in his right mind—who with a heart—could destroy something so beautiful, so miraculous? For another she had long had the suspicion—she knew not from where it came—that perhaps whatever it was that made them light up might be dangerous to ingest.
But mostly she just loved them for being so beautiful.
Living creatures flashing with lights with no aid whatsoever from man and his gizmos that harnessed electricity—how wondrous. She wondered if human electricians ever look on them with envy. And unlike man's lights there was no heat. Let any human being try pulling that little trick! And yet here they had been from the beginning, time out of mind, long before Thomas Edison even so much as thought of his light bulb.
Is that where he got the idea, she wondered?
Then she did what she loved most—she took flight and joined them.
She had once been afraid that they would be frightened by the presence of an insectivore among them. And perhaps they were at first. But as a child she had started flying among them, shyly at first, then as they grew used to her presence and saw that she meant them no harm, with greater confidence.
She did this every year, every summer. This had been her one constant. What a blessing it was to be able to do this now that she had found a home and a family and security and love.
She giggled as she danced among them, now this way, now that. Then she would fly below one and, very gently, rise up to compel it to alight on her snout. It would stay there for a while, perhaps a bit perturbed, but none the worse for wear. She tried to avoid double vision as she stared at the little creature flashing on the end of her nose. One flash, two, three, then off it flew with her best wishes. Then she would do the same thing with another lightning bug.
Of course she had no way of knowing, but she liked to think that after all these years they knew she was a friend and not to be afraid of her. Whether other bats ate them she did not know and did not want to. She didn't think she could live with the knowledge that one of her order could destroy such lovely, fragile things.
Alas, it was always the beautiful things that were the most fragile.
She shook her head to rid it of these gloomy thoughts. No need to be sad now. She had a family and a home and a place to belong, and the lightning bugs still danced with her as they had always done—as they had done when she had no home and no place to belong and no one to love her.
Perhaps that's why she was so fond of them. She liked to think that they loved her when no one else did.
She continued her game for some time until the smell of supper mixed with Monty's gruff shout to come in and join the others reached her. With a final longing look she did so.
But no worries, as Monty liked to say.
They would be there again the next evening, as they always had been.
And she would dance with them again, as she had from the beginning of her memory.