Firefly Shallows

There’s a sparkle in the distance. A boat on midnight’s lake. Grass, if it is grass, whispers past my toes. Mist in the air, cool and ticklish on my face. I hear the change from land to liquid and stop at water’s edge.

I’ve been here before. I feel that. Even in this darkness, a moment after everything went dark for the last time.

Shadows whisper in the back recesses of my mind. Blue. I can’t see it, can barely sense it, but there is blue fog, light, moving near me. Moisture on my hand. Fireflies on the lake.

Sight has a strange way of leaving the body. Even after the eyes go, the memories of light shift beneath the surface. The mind’s eye continues to imagine. Hear sounds in silence, see light in the dark. That’s what they told me. But I’m starting to think I can see better without eyes.

Remember me?”

The sparkle of light has a voice. It’s a lantern.

I met you here,” the lamp says. “Once before.” It has an oar. A rowboat.

Hesitating only a moment, I step into the boat. My feet know where to go. I tuck them out of the way, beneath my wooden seat.

They always remember,” the lamp mutters, and slices glass with the oar.

Ripples on the water. I trail the lamp like a kite. After a lifetime of noise, of clicks and honks and shapes and colors, this is refreshing. It’s more than refreshing. I’ve almost forgotten already.

Who are you?” I say.

They all ask the same thing,” the lamp says, thrusting its oar into the water with energy.

I settle down, and wait. All my life I’ve been waiting. Waiting for the blindness to set in. Waiting for the rest of it to take me. Waiting to find this place again, though I never knew that much till I was here.

That will tell you,” the lamp says, gesturing with wood. There’s an island, the smallest island, and it seems to be sailing towards me. The ground shimmers.

I stand up, strangely steady. I step ashore. The ground is oozing and solid at once. Fireflies dance in the watery shallows. I wonder whether my mind is playing tricks on me. I wonder if it always has been, and only now has finally stopped.


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