July 05, 2006

Gramps' Little Helper

If you don't like this little yarn, blame Raging Mom. I read this tale over at her place, and I had a story just bursting to be written. (For those of you who think I should have been writing a recap of my trip, you're right. But this story was written in just a matter of minutes. Yeah, yeah, yeah... it shows, I know.)

Check out my heart wrenching tale...

"Hey, now! You've gotta be gentle, or you may hurt them," Gramps told his grandson. The seven year old stopped chasing the dancing lights on the yard, and looked at his grandfather with a puzzled frown.

Gramps smiled and said, "Those lights are very delicate… they’re said to be the wandering souls of men and women, waiting to get into heaven. They drift around, trying to find their way, or until an angel comes to get them. If you hurt them, you may keep them from getting there." Gramps' smile disappeared as he began to cough wretchedly. After his bout of hacking and wheezing subsided, he continued.

"Ever' now and then, you may see a light start blinking like crazy. It'll usually flicker three or four times, very close together, and then the next time you see it, it'll be a few feet away. I do believe that's one of them angels, signaling to... Hey! There's one, now! Do you see it?! Lookie there," Gramps said, as he pointed between the two box elder trees in the corner of the yard.

The boy looked at his grandfather with skepticism. Gramps was always teasing him and telling him stories. About half of them were tall tales... his mom had said so. But looking at the excitement on his elder's face, he couldn't help but believe him. He looked carefully, and sure enough, there it was. A quick flicker, and then it was gone, only to reappear a short distance away. It was definitely different than the rest. He watched for a few minutes, and then it was gone. He was so fascinated, he forgot to watch the other lights to see if they left with it. It did seem like there were fewer lights left...

The boy thought for awhile, and then asked, “How many souls do they take, Gramps?”

“I don’t know, boy. Could be many, could be one.”

The old man chuckled. "If them lights could sing, I bet ya they'd be singing 'Swing Low Sweet Chariot.'" Again, his laughter gave way to the coughing. The wheezing stayed longer this time. "Boy, this heavy night air ain't no good for me. I'm going inside to the air conditioner... gonna lay down and rest. You can stay out here a bit longer, but don't go running off. Your ma would have my hide!"

The boy worriedly watched his grandfather go into the house. Last night, he had started coughing as he was going up the stairs, and he ended up falling down a couple of them. Luckily for Gramps, he just suffered some minor bruising. It could have been much worse. His mom had said so.

Once Gramps was in the house, the boy went back to watching the lights.

Suddenly, he saw a quick flicker of light. Before he could get a fix on it, it was gone. He peered intensely at the area where he thought it had been, and off to his right it blinked again. "That's close," he thought to himself. Again, the quick succession of lights, and even closer!

Looking around, he saw the glass jar that he had been using to keep the beetles he found, nearby. He hurriedly unscrewed the lid and dumped the bugs from their prison, then resumed his search for the flickering angel. Nothing. He watched, motionless. Finally, just as he was beginning to lose hope, he saw the flicker. It was coming from the grass, right next to his foot! As gently as he could, he trapped the light in the jar.

"Hmmm... Angel? Looks like a bug." As if in protest, the tiny angel started to flicker its light at him. “I’ve gotta show Gramps,” he said aloud as he ran for the house, his captive in a death grip.

As he entered the house, he knew that Gramps wouldn’t be seeing the angel… he was snoring in the other room, out for the night. He wouldn’t even wake up from his coughing fits during the night. The boy knew it was just a matter of time before Gramps stayed asleep for good. His mom had said so.

When he went back outside, he was surprised at what he was seeing. Thousands of the lights had come closer to the house, and moved in slow circles around the jar that held his captive angel. The boy was incredulous. “You really are an angel!”

He watched the swirling lights for a few minutes, and then realization came to him. He softly chuckled to himself, a boyish echo of the elder man’s laugh. The jar was placed on the patio, and he stood back as the lights came closer. Suddenly, he swatted at the nearest light… it fell to the ground, a soft glow lighting its descent. He swatted again, and another light dropped from the evening sky. “This is kinda fun,” he thought to himself. He ran back into the house, grabbed a badminton racket, and returned to laying waste to the lights.

It only seemed like a couple of minutes, but he knew it must have been hours. There were dead and dying lights all over the patio, and no more lights danced over the yard. He smiled excitedly as he told his captive to “wait just a minute” while he made his way into Gramps’ tool shed. After a few minutes of digging around, he found what he was looking for. He retrieved his jar, and then made his way back to the house.

“I’ve got someone for you to meet, little angel,” he said as he brandished the ball peen hammer he had brought from the garage. “I’m going to set his light free, and then you can take him to heaven. Okay?”

A few minutes later, he released his angel, and watched as it made its way across the yard, a single light dancing behind it. He beamed with pride.

”It would be a blessing for Gramps just to never wake up,” his mother had said.

Posted by That 1 Guy at July 5, 2006 09:02 AM | TrackBack

Dude! I think you have been listening to too much death metal!

Posted by: oddybobo at July 5, 2006 09:37 AM

OMG!! I couldn't even put anything in about making lightning bug butt jewelry and you come up with this!??
We must discuss this over Amber Bock and Black Haus!

Posted by: Raging Mom at July 5, 2006 09:53 AM

Uhhhh... T1G?? Too much sun, I think. Yeah, that's it... Too much sun...

::backs away slowly::

Posted by: Richmond at July 5, 2006 11:47 AM

So... I guess you finally got that job as a script writer for "Tales From the Crypt"? :-)

Posted by: Harvey at July 6, 2006 02:58 PM