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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Once in a Blue Moon (01/06/11)

TITLE: Night Lights
By Patricia Turner


My cousin Nick's invitation to visit him in the country came out of the blue, and at a serendipitously welcome time.

“Meg, I'm glad you could shake free.” Nick took my suitcase from me and ushered me up the porch steps into an entryway with walls covered with family photos.

“Wow, this one's old.” I held up a picture of Amy and Ronnie, my daughter and his son, taken when they were in grade school.

“Amy would be twenty-three now, right?”

“Mmmm, and a senior at Louisiana State. And Ronnie is twenty-one?”

“Twenty-two last month. He's elbow deep in biology and calculus. Hopes to get into med school when he graduates. How's Ross?”

“Fine. He's fine. Something smells wonderful; dinner, I hope?”

“Meatloaf. Fine; that's it?” He wasn't going to be put off that easily.

“That's it, Nick, before dinner, at least.” I smiled but felt it die before it quite reached my eyes.

We made small talk over dinner, about his recent retirement from the ministry, and how it gave him more time for family at long last, and time to work on the book that had been rattling around in his head for years.

“Let's have desert and coffee out on the back deck.”

Nick handed me a slice of peach pie and carried a tray with the coffee through a French door onto a large, open, wooden deck overlooking a small lake, with the purple and blue of the Smokey Mountains forming a peaceful backdrop. Shreds of high clouds, on fire from the setting sun, were mirrored in the still surface of the water.

“Now, what's up with you and Ross?” Nick was nothing if not direct.

I filled him in on the last few months since Ross retired.

“I never realized how bossy he could be. It's driving me crazy having him around all the time.”

“Considered getting out of the house yourself; maybe do some volunteering?”

“I don't know. Guess I dreamed we'd travel, things we never had time for before. Now I thing if we stay together it will be a miracle.”

“Of course, you know the best course is to give this over to the One who works miracles every day.” Nick cocked his head and took a sip of his coffee.

“A miracle is definitely what we need.” I sat twirling my hair around my forefinger, feeling hopelessness settle over me like fog. “I guess I just don't believe they happen anymore.”

“Meg, I wouldn't give you advice I wouldn't give myself.” Nick stood up. “I'll get some more coffee.”

Nick walked to the kitchen, praying silently.

Meg sat gazing out over the lake, watching the last of the light fade into darkness.

“See 'em?” Nick walked back through the door with more coffee, pointing toward the lake.

She stared for a moment, not seeing; then seeing.


A tiny flash of green light, then another, and another bloomed rapidly into a small tsunami cloud of glowing dots by the thousands, rising above the water, flashing synchronously.

“Fireflies?” Meg sat up and gaped, open-mouthed.

“I've heard of this, but I've never seen it.” Nick set the coffee on the table and sat down, watching.

“What is this? Some kind of migration?”

“No,” he answered. “I've read that male fireflies have been seen to do this; one flashes it's light and others respond, sometimes synchronously and in large numbers, like this. It's pretty rare.”

The light show continued for several minutes as they watched, marveling.

“Pretty cool, huh?” He grinned at her, seeing her complete absorption in the phenomenon, seemingly lifted from her former despondency.

“Amazing,” she breathed.

“Miraculous even, wouldn't you say?” Nick's lips curved upward in a gentle smile, his gaze direct.

Meg slowly turned to look at him. “You ordered this up, didn't you?” She was smiling.

“Aye, I did lassie,” he laughed. “To prove to you that miracles do still happen.”

I personally witnessed this phenomenon a number of years ago – quite a miraculous sight indeed!

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Member Comments
Member Date
diana kay01/14/11
lovely story... i enjoyed this and felt i was there myself
Henry Clemmons01/14/11
The story kept building momentum until the great ending. I'm learning so much this week. Great story. I believe in miracles too and love reading about them. I would love to see those fireflies. Wonder what kind of poem I would write? Loved it.
Lynda Schultz 01/15/11
Great story—I felt as if I were there. You probably already caught this minor detail: "Now I thing if we stay together" Didn't detract from the story.
Mariane Holbrook 01/17/11
Very, very nice job. You deserve big time kudos for this one!