micro fiction | lampyridae

An errant star whizzed past Tiff’s leg. It seemed the fresh ink and tiny blisters of blood stirred in its wake. My fault. I drove her to the tattoo parlor and swore she was eighteen. A lie about either of us. Guilt ignited my pledge of penance.

“You will not tell mom,” she said, dancing between clumps of grama grass.

“This is the part where I say it’s for your own good.”

She sneered, teeth white by moonlight. “I know, and when we’re older we’ll laugh and laugh—except we won’t. Jerk.”

“I could tell dad.”


A squadron buzzed around her legs and I read his name, coiled around her ankle. Like a shackle. “He’s not worth it.”

She rolled her teen idol magazine into a tube and smacked a firefly against her shin. Her giggles and the crunch of dry grass beneath her Toms receded into the night. Whop. Whop.

“Where are you going?”

“On a killing spree.”

Written for a contest on a blog. It had to include several words or phrases, and the only one I can remember is “killing spree.” Here, I threw out the 100-word limit and told the story as originally intended.

Besides glowing for mating rituals, fireflies glow to ward off predators. They’re distasteful or toxic, and predators learn to associate the glow with yuck!

I imagine the brother in this tale going on to make a point with another bit of firefly trivia… Some can’t produce the chemical to fend off predators. They mimic the mating flashes of species that can, lure them in, and eat them.

Pictured: light painting with fireworks. Close enough?

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