Its the end of April. The dusty table-land is dotted with tents. The teacher accompanying us has already called it a day. It must have been an exhausting day for her… what with having to manage fourteen unruly girls for the weekend camp. But in the tent farthest from hers, we are enjoying the last few days together as the outgoing seniors of the French department.

Its not long though, before our crazy laughter starts to grow quiet and with every passing hour, heavy eyelids begin to droop.

‘Hey! We can’t be sleeping tonight!!’ That must be Amrita. But she has a point. Who knows when we will be so carefree again… ‘Anyone knows how to do planchette?’

That gets everyone alert and excited. So there we sit, crouching over a newspaper scribbled with alphabets and letters and a plastic cup.

‘But what do we want to know?’

‘If I will get into Sorbonne?’

‘If I will get a boyfriend…?’

‘Duh! Who is going to be the next US president!’

The cup spins and slides under our fingers… spelling out answers to question after silly question. With every word that spills our secrets, we squeal and laugh… oblivious to how fast the cup is moving now… almost as if it has come alive… a whorling maniac… like it too is enjoying the little game.

‘Which one of us is going to be the most successful?’ The question catches us unaware. Surprised, we turn to look at Nima. Her usually quiet eyes are burning with a fire we have never seen before. If she has sensed our gaze, she doesn’t show it.

What happened in that charged moment, we will never know. Perhaps, it was the storm raging inside each of us, released with that one question…

The wind gushes in, putting out the candle. The tent must have been ripped somewhere. A queer silence fills the tent. ‘Where’s the torch?’ Someone whispers. But none of us is listening. In the darkened tent, we can hear the scraping noise as the cup moves and traces an answer.

Outside, the sky is twinkling with fireflies.

Midnight skies flicker
With the shadows of fireflies
Chimera awakes

This post is a part of BlogchatterA2Z 2022.

18 thoughts on “Fireflies

  1. Hari OM
    It confused me ever so slightly as a planchet is a blank metal before stamping for coinage. Then reading on I realised it was ouija you were discussing and thus using a planchette (French for ‘little plank’). Nice story – left eyes widening! YAM xx

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes. Wrote this one very late last night, typing it out on my mobile. The auto spelling must have caused that typo. There were a few other errors too ๐Ÿคฆโ€โ™€๏ธ I corrected them and saw you had noticed too ๐Ÿ˜€ Glad you enjoyed the story.


  2. The story is very engrossing. These kinds of stories seem more interesting when they’re based on true events, and see that’s what happened here. You have described everything so well. Liked the story. Only one question: did you all find the answer that day?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you Swarnali! Its just one of the many spooky encounters I have had… As a writer, I draw a lot from life. And no. We never did find out the answer to the question… because success is such a personal notion. I think, our questions that day reflected what each one thought was the best forward, whether family or career or money… I truly think we decided our life’s trajectory that night. As for the mystery of who moved the cup…. I think some demons are best left alone.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Yes I too believe.. You see in these unreal moments, most of the times the inner thoughts carry you forward. I really liked to read your experience, am a fond of reading personal accounts. Do share with me your write-ups by tagging me on Twitter. Would love to read them all.

        Liked by 1 person

      • After reading your piece, I was also contemplating on the concept of successful. The definition goes to-and-fro and for me, success can be defined in a thousand ways. So why to define it in only one way or two? I collect my happiness in little things and this is why made it the theme of this year’s A to Z challenge too. This is also success for me, to define what I love and what brings me peace.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Wow! Now thatโ€™s a difficult question to answer, even from the other side. But interesting story you have woven there. Makes me wonder if it is based on true events. ๐Ÿ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

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