It was that mysterious moment of dusk when the world is suspended between day and night. The tall grass of the field rustled in the breeze. The sunset had faded to a soft glow beyond the woods, silhouetting the treetops. The air was filled with the hum of crickets and cicadas, punctuated now and then by the warble of a night bird.
Logan leaned back on the grassy hillock where he sat, breathing deeply of air that smelled fresh and alive. Truth be told, it was a reminder that he needed.
He was still wearing the color the day had demanded. No earthly force could ever have induced him to wear a necktie, but he had at least gone so far as to choose a shirt and jeans of somber, respectful black. In his eyes, it was not the color of sorrow; it was the color of his uniform, of honor and courage. He wore it today simply because it was expected of him… but perhaps it was appropriate, after all.
The breeze brought a familiar scent to his nostrils, and he turned his head, listening to the steady swish of movement through the tangled grass. He watched a youthful figure pick her way toward him, avoiding the occasional brambles with the ease of familiarity, in spite of the dying daylight. She knew this field as well as he did, for she was the only person with whom he consented to share it.
Upon reaching Logan’s side, Kendra Logan Hale smiled ruefully and sat down in the grass, without saying a word.
Of course, the middle name was for him. She was his goddaughter; it was a long and rather mortifying story, but one he felt more than compensated for by the quiet pride she had brought him. Now a month shy of her twentieth birthday, she was a tall, slender brunette who had never outgrown her tomboy phase—which, between her earthy, sportsmanlike father and her beloved "Uncle Logan", was not a surprise. Nature was no stranger to her, nor she to it.
She had changed clothes since the afternoon, trading her plain black dress for blue jeans and a pink T-shirt with a picture of two kittens on the front. Now she sat beside him with arms folded over her knees, gazing at the last glimmer of pink on the horizon. Unlike many children of her generation, she knew how to listen to silence, and how to share it.
All across the field, pale motes of green-yellow light began flickering to life just above the tall grass. At first only a few in number, they soon became a dozen, and then a hundred. As the night awakened, the fireflies grew brighter and more numerous, floating through the air in their incandescent waltz.
Kendra smiled, and in her own way, joined the dance. Stretching out her open hand, she released a swirl of bright golden sparks to scatter and drift among the fireflies.
It was this mutant gift which had earned Kendra the very name of Firefly. If she so desired, she could cause her sparks to burn like the hot ashes of a wildfire, but at the moment, they were as harmless as flower petals. Logan reached out, cupping a few of them in his palm before they could drift away on the breeze, and gazed thoughtfully at the cool specks of light he held in his hand.
He watched them flare more brightly at his touch, then slowly fade away.
So fragile… just like the lives of all those whom he cared for.
Light fingers brushed against his wrist, and he turned to face Kendra. She was looking at him, and although her lips were still gently curved, it was a smile of sympathetic sadness.
"You’re going to miss Grandfather, aren’t you?"
Grandfather. She never had been able to bring herself to call him "Granddad", or "Grandpa", or any other diminutive of the word. Logan supposed he couldn’t blame her.
"Yeah, Pixie-Dust," he admitted softly. "I am. If it weren’t for him… I don’t know where I’d be now."
Her pensive smile faded as she leaned her head on his shoulder, hugging his arm against her.
"I miss him, too."
For what felt like a long time, they sat there in that manner, watching the attempts of the fireflies to compete with the brightening stars. Kendra’s own particles of light caught the wind and sailed away, to disappear at last above the trees.
When Logan heard once more the deliberate footsteps of another human being, he raised his head, and saw Rachel Summers wading through the high grass. The sixteen-year-old daughter of Jean and Scott may not have had Logan’s night eyes, but she detected his movement and bounded toward them.
"I thought I’d find you two out here," she said. "Mom asked me to call you to dinner."
Kendra uncoiled herself and stood up, brushing grassy debris from her jeans, but Logan shook his head as she looked down inquiringly at him. "I think I’d like to sit here a little while longer."
With a smile of quiet affection, Kendra took his hand in both of hers, cupping her palm over his. When she withdrew, she left him holding a glittering handful of light.
"Don’t stay out here alone too long," she said softly. Then she turned to Rachel, and the two girls started off in the direction of the mansion. Logan watched them until they had disappeared into the garden beyond the field.
The specks of light in his hand still glowed. He blew on them gently, and they whirled skyward like bright dust, rising above the fireflies and on toward the stars.
"Don’t worry about us, Chuck… I think we’re gonna be okay."
© 2005 Jordanna Morgan -send feedback