Fireflies

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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.