The Fire Flies

Adan Men
19 min readJul 19, 2022

I fell in love with her but now she is missing

Photo by Valdemaras D. on Unsplash

I’ve always been a lonely man, but back then it didn’t feel so lonely; it was just life and I was good at living it. Each day would pass with little resemblance to any thing remotely enlightening or life changing. I would wake up and brush my teeth, comb the last few hairs that I had on the top of my head and set out to work; ready to accumulate another dollar for the day. Driving to work I was left in a zombie like state not really being coherent of the street lights or even pedestrians walking by; my brain filtering them out as if they were a floater in my eye, instead my body just knew what to do, I would blink and I would be at work, blink again and I will be at home. Routine engulfed my life and I didn’t see anything wrong with it, it was normal for forty two years and I had no interest in changing it. People would tell me the usual; I need to find a wife; I need to have kids; hell I need friends, my response would always be the same “why?” No one ever gave me a good reason to why I needed these things, they just told me I was suppose have these things, that I was suppose to want these things. Wanting anything in my opinion was over rated, wanting is the equivalent to desire and I knew that desire led to risks; something I always avoided and judging by the scenarios that played out in other peoples lives it was best not to desire anything or anyone.

‘open eyes, brush teeth, sip coffee — blink’.

‘click clack’ — sounds of my keyboard reverberating in my head.

‘Blink’.

‘sit in traffic, cook dinner, prepare for bed — blink’.

It was the same every day, productive and progressive, I felt more people should of been like me, it’s beneficial and therapeutic, a society of hive minded creatures moving forward without doubt or worry. People on the outside looking in assumed I was depressed but in reality I was “nothing” just an empty shell; as if I was a cog in some machine at an elaborate factory line; that was until I met her. She was different; I know that sounds cliche but something about her had me obsessively thinking of her. She was smart and charismatic, funny while being down to earth; she was not pretentious but genuine. She always got to the point in our conversations, no games just connection; I loved her and now she is gone. When I was a kid, the one thing I enjoyed the most was waiting for the sun to set, the perfect time of the evening where it would give off that crimson glow showering our yard in it’s autumn color, that is when they would come out — the fire flies. They would fill the yard and bestow us with their beautiful shine as if they were shooting stars; cascading through the dimly lit sky, falling unto our yard. I would catch one and then two; sometimes even three and place them into a jar, I would be left with wonderment and content; until my parents would take them away from me and set them free. Someone has now taken her away from me and that same feeling of dread pricks at the back of my neck as it once did when I would see those beautiful bugs fly away. My routine broken and life altered, I will not sleep until she is back.

It started like any other conversation could start; with a simple “Hi”, online; the town square of our modern day society. I ignored it at first, didn’t even give a second glance just continued on with my mind numbing scrolling, passing the time searching for the latest dance trend or cooking recipe.

‘ding’

“Hi”.

She sent another message, who was this and what did she want? The account profile had no picture or any information in the bio, just an unknown woman. I clicked the message open, my fingers feeling hesitate but cautiously I typed “Hi” back with a question mark. She wanted to know how I was doing, “Fine” I told her and then she told me she was good as well but bored; that was odd to me. I was never bored, in fact I was never anything; just there existent and aware why weren’t other people like me I pondered. I told her “good bye” and closed the chat box, then resumed my daily scrolling. The next day she sent me the same message,

‘ding’

“Hi”.

I don’t like nonsense or foolery; when people say I don’t have a sense of humor they are correct. Sarcasm is the detrimental end of our society that smothers sincerity, while simultaneously embedding narcissism into our very souls. So I had to call her out and ask why she was harassing me.

“What do you want?”

“…”, the ellipsis stayed on the screen for several seconds as she processed a response.

I don’t know why, but waiting for a response left me with a strange feeling, a sensation of anxiety? I wasn’t even too sure if that was the emotion I was feeling but I was actually looking forward to seeing her response; perhaps it was good one — a thought provoking one. Finally she responded in one of the most profound ways.

‘ding’

“The less of these you have, the more one is worth”.

It was a riddle, she responded back in a riddle; I was left with astonishment. I never liked jokes but I loved riddles — even though I was not good at answering them. I scratched my head several times contemplating the answer, now intrigued by this woman. I started hitting my head out of frustration not being able to figure out the answer, so I pulled out the white flagged and surrendered.

“I give up.” I typed back.

“…”, once again the ellipsis appeared and stayed for several seconds; me watching on with anticipation.

‘ding’

“A friend :)”, she finally responded back.

Something over came me psychically and emotionally, my stomach started to turn and my blood pressure arose; but more interesting I felt the sides of my face begin to stretch in opposite directions — I was smiling. I sat there in my chair staring at my screen not knowing how to respond; my fingers shaking with apprehension.

“You want to be friends?”, I replied back.

“Correct”, she quickly typed back.

For the rest of night we conversed on a number of topics but more specifically politics and religion — the two subjects I found the most interest in. Minutes turned to hours and the next thing I realized it was 1 A.M. and passed my usual bedtime destroying my superfluous routine. I didn’t eat dinner nor did I brush my teeth instead I closed my laptop and headed towards my bed and as I laid there waiting for sleep to embrace me I stared at the ceiling and envisioned fire flies fluttering around my bedroom; their glow showering me in their warmth.

As the days came and went I found a new routine one that included her, ‘good morning’ messages to start the day and ‘goodnight’ ones to close the evening. I was elated with what had become of my day to day regime and I found her to be more special as I read each message. Then after about two weeks of communicating with her I realized I didn’t even know her name.

‘Huh’?

I thought to myself how could such basic information slip past by us so easily, in my mind I started guessing her name; Jennifer? Kimberly? Perhaps a Alice? I kept thinking, inundated with excitement over the revelation of learning her name, so I asked.

“I completely forgot to ask,what is your name? Mine is Kevin.” I typed.

‘…’, I waited and waited, her not responding instead those three dots gyrated on screen; why would it take her so long to answer such a simple question I thought.

‘ding’

“Samantha”, she wrote.

What a beautiful name it was, “Sa-man-tha”; I repeated it to myself savoring every syllable in my mouth as if it were some ‘orderve’. I then closed my eyes and visualized how beautiful she must look, long hair perhaps, green eyes with milky porcelain skin. I started to touch myself as I dreamed of her looking at me intensively with beatific eyes; it was bliss.

The next few months were extraordinary, I was different and my co-workers noticed the sudden change and took a liking to me. Soon I was being invited to Sunday barbecues and work lunches; though I would kindly reject their invitations only because those times were reserved — for her. So of course people wanted to meet her and that’s when I would tell them I haven’t even met her yet; but that our love was true and one day soon we would be together. Their eyes would usually roll and then they would stare at each other whenever I would tell them this, so finally I had to ask what the problem was, why were these people being so rude to the prospect of our love.

“Have you even seen a picture of her?”, one of my co-workers asked.

“Well not yet, maybe I should ask her for one?”, I asked my co-worker but in reality I was asking myself, so I did.

‘click clack, click clack, click clack’, me typing.

“Samantha I believe it’s time for us to exchange photos of ourselves, please”, I demanded.

I sent her a photo of myself, one that I prepared for strategically, I made sure the lighting captured my masculine features to the best while disguising my balding head. No response, no ellipsis, nothing, she didn’t reply back but she did see my photo; what was happening. I messaged her several times but nothing, I was heart broken and all I could do is stare at the chat box; as if I could manifest a response myself. So for days I sat in silence looking at the chat window waiting for a reply, she had to answer; after all we were in love. Something about her disappearing made me remember the fire flies, presenting us with their charm as they invaded our front yard. One day I was able to catch ten, I was amazed at the stealth I was able to apply in catching them, this time for sure I was going to hide the jar from my parents; I was going to bring them inside to live with me and I did just that, I set them on my bedside table. I laid in bed happy while my beautiful friends dimly lit my room with their magic; though the incredible moment was cut short when my father burst through my door angered at me not heeding his warnings to release my friends. He slapped me across my face with full force, breaking my nose; I started to bleed and my head grew fuzzy, I began to black out; I just remember seeing him stomp away with my friends. I decided to tell Samantha this story, I wanted her to know she was my fire fly; she brought so much light to my dark world and I wanted her to understand how special she was. As I typed all this I felt tears slowly began to fall down my cheek which surprised me, I was no longer an empty shell as before rather a used shell once full of aspiring life just to be deserted and left alone. I reached to close my laptop and reminded myself as to why desire was inherently destructive and perverted.

‘ding’

It was her, she had finally responded and with a photo of herself, I was delighted and all my anxieties faded away into the back corners of the universe; no longer a threat to my existence. I eagerly clicked open the photo to have a closer inspection. She was beyond gorgeous, she was angelic, long blonde flowing hair with blue eyes that hid a tint of green in them, puffy lips and the perfect almond shaped eyes — she could of been a model. It took me several minutes to gather my composure, I responded the one and only way I could,

“My ‘fire fly”.

The new world that I had built for myself while holding her at the center of it all had returned, I breathed a sigh relief with the revelation of her coming back to me and promised her that I would do anything for her; that’s how much she meant to me. Now having a photo of my ‘Fire fly’ I couldn’t wait to show my co-workers, show off how pretty the love of my life was. The reaction I got from everyone was unexpected, most believed that couldn’t be her.

“Nah bro c’mon, that can’t be real”, why not I thought; after all she sent me the picture why would she lie to me.

I ignored everyone, who cares what they thought, we were in love and soon we would be together in fact I was planning on proposing to her; it would be glorious. Then one day something happened, something unexpected, she messaged me but it was not her it was someone else, it had to be someone different, her demeanor had changed and she had gotten my name wrong. I questioned her about the odd behavior and she didn’t reply; no response and as I counted down the minutes looking at my watch timing how long it would take this person to tell me who they were I got a sudden

‘ding’

“You’re right this isn’t Samantha, I kidnapped her and if you don’t send me twenty thousand dollars I will kill her”, the message read.

My heart sank, who the hell has taken my ‘fire fly’ I thought, but my first concerns were for her and I replied back making sure they did not hurt her. So I complied with these heathens who ever they were and sent them the money that they desired.

“Okay sent now let her go!” I demanded, but I got no response, no reassurance that she was okay; instead I was left petrified with anxiety, sweat inundating my body. I didn’t know what to do and after digesting the silence that laid still between me and my laptop my limbs suddenly came to life and paraded around as if they had a mind of their own; it reminded me of that night of my father hitting me and taking away my friends.

After my father left my room that night I saw him enter our backyard, I crept closer to my window trying to claim a better view of what he was doing. I slightly lifted a slit in my old dusty blinds; not wanting him to see me. Blood was running down my nose, staining my shirt but I didn’t pay much attention to it, instead my eyes were fixated on my father; he had my jar in his hand.

‘Crash’!

My father threw my jar against our backyard wooden fence shattering it, my friends escaping back to where they came from. Tears formed in my eyes, my chest started palpitating fiercely and my breathing became heavy. I started to scream, shaking my head violently then turning to the wall; I started pounding my fist against it. Why did my father do this, why did he hate me, I was angry and all I could do is tear down the house my father built by starting in my room, but eventually my arms grew weary, my energy came to halt and I collapsed to the floor with exhaustion. Defeat was instilled in my soul and I decided it was time for something different, time for me to show my father how I felt and that’s when “it” caught my attention from the corner of my eye. I turned my head towards “it”, gathering myself I crawled slowly, a smirk grew on my little face and I reached my hand for “it”. It was my Louisville Slugger that was left to me by my grandpa, it laid quiet in the corner of my room; me hardly ever using it until now. I gripped it firmly in my now bloody hands and knew what had to be done.

‘knock, knock, knock’

Knocking at my door snapped me out my nostalgic memory and I realized looking around the room I had completely destroyed everything within arms reach, my laptop laid broken in half on the floor.

‘Knock, knock, knock’

I approached my door apprehensively and peeked through the peep hole, it was the cops, I didn’t even remember calling them but I was relieved knowing they were here; I could now tell them about Samantha. My door creaked open and I revealed myself, I was drenched in sweat; my clothes practically torn off my own body and before I could speak the officers interjected.

“Sir, neighbors called in a noise complaint are you…”, the officer began telling me then suddenly stopped once he got a better look at me. He took off his sunglasses and stood there contemplating the reason of my appearance.

“Is anyone else home, we had complaint of possible domestic violence”, the officer told me raising his eyebrow.

I began stuttering trying to manifest a coherent sentence but my adrenaline was still spiked to maximum level, instead I started slapping myself trying to calm down and that’s when the cops intervened and tackled me to the floor putting me in hand cuffs.

“Sir, sir, calm down; I need you to calm down. Who else is in the house?”, they kept asking me and the only response I could muster out was

“Samantha.”

After the cops thoroughly searched around my house for any signs of someone injured or contained they realized it was just me, a lonely soul that was only risk to hurting himself. They took the hand cuffs off and asked me about of my current state, why was the room completely destroyed and why did it appear as if I was in some altercation, by this point I had calm down and I began to tell them about my ‘Fire fly’. I told them about how we met and how we fell in love, I told them about the killers that kidnapped her and how they used her as ransom, I told them how she was no longer responding and they needed to take action, they needed to find her. They just looked at each other, a look that I was too familiar with; it was the same look my co-workers gave each other whenever I would bring up Samantha. Was everyone going crazy, couldn’t understand with each second that passed she might be getting tortured or worse.

“Listen pal, I’m pretty sure your little girlfriend is okay but we can’t help you with this”, one of the officers told me and gestured at his partner to head towards the door.

“Wait!”, I yelped out but it was too late, they had shut the door behind them along with all hope.

A few hours had passed since the cops had left and I laid on my kitchen floor naked sweating profusely utterly a broken man. I felt exactly the same as I did that faithful night of my father hitting me. Then I had a thought, a twinkle could clearly be seen in my eye because the epiphany I had was the same I had when I was little. I quickly got up and stormed towards my garage to look for “it”.

Rummaging through my old things triggered multiple emotions me, but for the most part it made me think of my mother, someone that always tried to shelter me from the darkness that she called her husband. I don’t ever remember her smiling or laughing her facial expression frozen into a stoic frown, but I do remember the warmth of her gaze any time she would tuck me into bed. Finally after searching for several hours I found “it” stashed under neath a box that was labeled “Dad’s toys”, a box I never had the desire to open. I picked it up and gripped it tightly, my knuckles practically bursting through my own skin, it’s cold touch felt soothing to my burning soul. Now came the part that most would think was impossible and that was finding who had kidnapped my ‘Fire fly’.

I knew I was without a laptop so instead I started the process on my phone, it was the same, I still could reach out to her on the app that we had being messaging through. I clicked on her profile and realized her account has been closed the only thing that came back was “user not found”, bastards I thought; they must of de-activated her account. So then I traced out the routing numbers that I used to send the money; this way I could pick up the location. I then used a reverse tracking app to ping the users I.P. address, actually I well skip the tech talk and just assure you I was able to locate the address of the person that took my money and who had taken my ‘Fire fly’.

I jumped into my car and my foot with tremendous force pressed down on the gas pedal; it thrust-ed me with as much horse power it could towards my destiny. It was now 5 A.M. and I had been awake a little over 24 hours and not a hint of drowsiness. My awareness was cranked to full level and all I could do was grind my teeth as I drove onto the freeway, luckily the address was only a few towns away from mine so I should be there by 8 A.M. I thought to myself. Exit 42B passed, then 42A, then 40; I grew nearer and nearer the hairs on the back of neck stood firm, it reminded me of that dreadful night with my father.

I remember waiting patiently in my room tucked away into my bed pretending to be asleep when my mother came by and peeked in through the doorway to check on me, my Louisville slugger caressing the side of my body underneath my blankets. It was about 3 A.M. when I finally gotten out of bed, I could hear my father snoring loudly, a clear indication that he had one too many beers tonight. I slightly opened my bedroom door to slither through; it creaked; I hushed it as it were a living being. I did my best to tippy toe towards my parents bedroom, as I came face to face with the door I took one last heavy breath and opened it. I stealth-fully moved through the darkness following the sound of my fathers heavy snoring. Soon I was at my fathers bedside, as usual he occupied the entire bed as my mom curled away in her little space. I stared at my father through the darkness for several minutes, steadily my heart started to accelerate and soon it was pounding, it pulsating so hard it felt as if was going to escape from my chest. I raised my Louisville slugger over my head…

“Take the exit”, my G.P.S demanded; I complied.

I was merely minutes away, the time was almost 8, soon people would be leaving to work so I knew I must be careful not to be seen by neighbors. I parked directly in front of the house, it was not what I expected. I thought it would have resemblance to some sketchy drug house but instead what presented itself in front of me was a brightly yellow house with a green freshly mowed yard and beautiful flowers planted leading up to the door way. It didn’t matter I understood looks could be deceiving; after all my father was the principal of our elementary school in our small town and he had the highest respect and admiration from the towns people. As I walked towards the front door I held my Louisville slugger behind my back with one hand, trying to shelter it from view. Just like that night when I stood face to face at my parents door I now was face to face with kidnappers door and like when I was a kid I took one deep breath and knocked.

‘knock, knock, knock’

I heard foot steps approaching, I was ready and as this devil came to answer the door I had a devastating revelation — what if he didn’t open the door? Luckily it didn’t matter cause the monster had the gull to open it, I was taken aback by the appearance of this menace. He looked like a kid no older than 17 and only stood no taller than 5'7; his face full of freckles or perhaps acne; this couldn’t be him I thought.

“Uh yeah what’s up, who are you?”, the kid asked me as I stood there quietly.

“Hello? Listen bud I’m not buying whatever you’re selling”, he said as he started to close the door, but then I spoke.

“Are…you…James Spear?”.

“Uhmm yeah? Do I know you?”, he replied confused.

I couldn’t believe this was the menace that had stolen what I cherished most in this ugly world and with that I moved quickly rising my slugger to my shoulder height and swung towards him connecting with his leg.

‘Crack’

He cried out in pain and fell backwards onto his polished hard wood floors, looking at the damage I created I knew I had broken his femur bone into two. The look on his face as he crawled backwards away from me was pure horror, he not knowing who I was or what I wanted made him begin to weep intensively. I stepped into his home and shut the front door behind me, I then just stared at him as kept doing his best to crawl away.

“Wha…what do you want?”, he demanded to know as he kept weeping.

“Where is she?”, I asked.

“Wha…wh…who?”, he said with confusion on his face.

“Samantha”.

His face dropped, he knew exactly who I was asking for and I felt relieved knowing I was correct.

“List…listen man…she’s not real okay, I…I…made her up, please God…please”, he cried out.

“You’re that guy, yeah I remember now, it was just for money man, please…please”.

I knew he was lying, I knew he had done something to her and I was tired of games, I was tired of everyone doubting our love, the cops, my co-workers, the world and it was time for me correct the universe and control our fate. As he crouched into a ball whimpering on the floor, I towered over him and raised my slugger over my head as I once did at my fathers bedside. I no longer could hear the kids cry, I was void of any sensation around me and with all the force I could create I connected perfectly on his head.

‘Crack’

I then raised my bat over my head a few more times and repeatably smashed his head open until it was unrecognizable of once being a human head. Brains and pieces of skull laid scattered across the once polished hardwood floors. A sensation of calm embodied me and I realized I must look around the house and find Samantha, she could be locked away in some closet after all. I roamed around the house calling for her, but the house remained quiet. After searching for several hours top to bottom I finally came to the conclusion that she was not there, his accomplices must of have taken her away before I could get there. I then headed towards his couch in the living room, I was exhausted it was now 6 P.M. and I had been awake for over 30 hours, I sat down on the pristine white couch, my body staining it with James blood, I sighed.

That night — when I finally showed my dad I wasn’t afraid of him — would be the last time I would see my mother, my father survived my vicious blows to his head but sustained permanent brain damage and he would be professionally cared for in a clinic for the next several years until eventually suffering a stroke and passing away. My mother suffered a mental breakdown and was deemed unfit to care for me and I was taken away by the state and given to my grand parents. I never understood why I didn’t get into any trouble for what I did to my dad, I guess I was too young to understand. I still feel as if I don’t understand a lot of things, but one thing I know is I need to find her. I step outside and head towards my car and realize the yard is full of fire flies, soaring around gracing me with their magic, I smile and realize she must still be alive.

Thanks for reading.

Copyright Adan Mendez (All rights reserved).

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Adan Men

If horror is your jam then my stories will have you on the edge of your seat, get ready to be enthralled into the world of the unexpected and unusual.