“Are you sure this is ok?”

“Sure we’re sure.” Mike assured.

“Would we risk your life like this if we weren’t?” Michael asked.

“Yes, yes you would.” Shirley answered.

“Maybe, but all for the sake of science and glory!” Mike exclaimed as he applied more duck tape.

The three boys, ages 10, 11, and 12 respectively, known collectively as “The…”, only because the three couldn’t come to an agreement on a name (“Yet”, Michael would be quick to add) were young entrepreneurs looking to make their fortune in aviation. They were hoping to retire early and live on an island you see, and the best way for them to accomplish that was to invent a new form of transportation. Unfortunately, none had the funds to support a proper jet pack investigation, so they settled on attachable wings instead.

“But I don’t think—” Shirley started.

“We’re not paying you to think.”

“You aren’t paying me at all!”

“Hold still,” Michael adjusted the right wing, made from some random cardboard pieces and the occasional streamer. For looks.       

“Ok!” Mike took two steps back to admire his work. “I think we’re ready.”

“I’m not,” Shirley looked below. The trio stood atop a small drop off near the edge of town. The fall was only a few dozen yards really….

“Oh come on,” Michael shoved him playfully. “You volunteered, remember? Think of all that publicity you’re gonna get!”

“For dying?” Shirley panicked.   

“There is absolutely no way you could die from this height.” Mike chided. “We figured it.”

“You did?”

“Of course.” Michael dusted Shirley’s shoulders. “Now off you go.”

Tenderly, Shirley inched his way to the edge of the cliff and took one last, long look ever. “If I die,” He said, looking back. “I’m coming back and haunting you.”

“Yeah, ok, now get on with it already!” Mike said. Michael folded his arms. Both were ready to see some action.

Shirley breathed in and out, spread his arms just like Mike and Michael had shown him, and jumped. He had a strong, overwhelming sensation of falling.



F  A  L  L  I  N  G

F    A    L    L    I    N    G

Mike and Michael heard a loud THUMP! below. Glancing at each other, they quickly ran down the hill. At the very very bottom they found a pile of rubble, smoking slightly. Where the smoke came from, neither to this day could guess. They heard a low moan and rushed forward, piling a bit away here and a bit away there until they unveiled their friend.

Dazed and confused, Shirley focused his eyes on the two figures standing above him. “Am I dead?”

“I don’t think so.” Michael said.

“Oh… Let’s never do that again.” He croaked.

“Only if you don’t tell your mom.” Mike piped up. Michael elbowed him and shook his head.

Pulling their relatively uninjured friend from the crash site, the three left their invention where it lay and walked home peacefully, already discussing plans for the next weekend. 

Lonely Girl Pt. 2

Flying to the Beetle Kingdom took less than she expected but lasted longer than she could bear. Batul grew five times his size and carried her on his back. She hesitated at first, feeling the roughness of his shell, but with encouragement felt it wasn’t so uncomfortable as long as she wasn’t alone. Far far away they flew over many different lands. Every time they saw something new Batul would explain who, what, where, when, and why. She learned much during their travel, so much so that by the time the duo settled just outside the front entrance to the Beetle Kingdom, the once lonely girl was quite different. Far more worldly and outgoing, but still in need of slight refreshment, for flying tends to tangle ones hair.


Four female beetles, her newly hatched servants, escorted her to what she learned was to be her temporary room until further preparations could be made. Until she should move into the King’s room, is how the she interpreted it. Not to say she was offended by such a presumption. By now she had held many conversations with Batul, who she considered to be more like a father than anything, about what would happen once she met the Beetle King. She knew fully what was expected of her, and she did not mind. That is why she came after all. Following a much needed dip in the most luxurious pond water the girl had ever smelled and a cordial change of clothing, she felt as if she were newly born. As if the person who existed before had been lost somewhere along the way never to be found again.


The Beetle Kingdom was indeed glorious, and the girl had a difficult time walking straight as she neared the main hall. To think, this was her home now. Her servants didn’t say much but were respectful. Unused to the treatment, the girl smiled shyly at one. She smiled encouragingly back. It was time to meet the king.


The room was filled with attendees, but the King turned out to be the biggest amongst them all. She had suspected as much, but was taken aback by his impressive crown and cape of glass. Oddly enough she detected some apprehension from him. She noticed how his very back legs tapped nervously as he stood to greet her, and she instantly thought him cute and took pity upon him.


“Hello,” He stood up on his back two legs and smoothed his belly. “Welcome to my kingdom.”


“It is lovely to be here,” The girl smiled and curtsied as Batul had explained was customary.


“Ah, please,” The Beetle King reached forward. “Don’t bow. You are my guest. It is I who should bow to you.” With that the entire room, servants, lords, officials, and one king, all kneeled down and bowed to the most humble of persons.


Their wedding took place but a season later, at the break of the frost, when the first flower bloomed. The rays the sun sent down warmed the earth and acted as a blessing on the union. The girl walked down the aisle escorted by her rescuer and her dearest friend Batul, whose large family she was now fully integrated and comfortable with. She favored the second to youngest of the offspring, though she of course would never admit to such emotions. The Beetle King awaited his queen with nothing but open arms. She could feel his heart beat as she drew closer. Seeing him in his most regal of attire she could not help but smile.


Cheers roared as the ceremony concluded. Finally, finally, she was not alone. She had an entire kingdom to love and be loved by. There would never be a time when she was far away from anyone ever again. She had found a place to be, to live, and to grow in. She even had a name, given to her by the people as a wedding present. Celeoptera. For that is what she was now.


Though happily ever afters rarely find their way into the real world, they do occasionally pop up in the most peculiar of places. The lonely girl was no more, and never would be again.                       

Lonely Girl Pt. 1

Always, always alone


Once upon a time there was a lonely, lonely girl who lived in an attic. Though sunlight often filled the room throughout the day, she felt little warmth from it as she swept the floors with a small broom she had found. She did not sweep the floors because she was told too. She was never told anything. She did it to pass time. One cannot spend one’s life simply staring out of a window all day. She saved that for nighttime when all of the stars came out and the moon shone down so much kinder than the sun.


Alone, alone, always alone she was. Not by choice, never by choice. She did not know where she’d come from or why she was there in the attic. She had never encountered another soul in her life.


Alone, alone, always alone she was. Understandably, though she knew not what she missed, she desired a friend.


One day the girl sat at her window looking up at the moon. She noticed how particularly beautiful the stars looked that night. Suddenly one of the stars moved and grew in size. Alarmed, she thought for a moment it was falling from the sky. But after descending a few moments the star began to fly straight toward her eyes. The sight took her breath away. With amazing speed, the star flew up and bobbed and begged in front of her window, wanting to be let in. Quickly the girl unlatched the glass and swung it open, letting in a breath of fresh air. The star slipped out of the night and into the little girl’s world. She looked, mesmerized, as it flew around her room. Here she thought stars would be giant! Gleefully, having never seen such a little thing up close before, the girl chased the light around the room, jumping at it playfully before the light settled atop her dresser. But a surprise stood to be in store. Slowly, the light of the star faded away to reveal a beetle.


“Hello!” The beetle greeted, looking up at the girl, whom in turn looked down on him.


“Who… are you?” Croaked out a voice foreign to the owner’s ears. The girl did not know where she learned the words, only knew what they meant.


“I am Batul, the beetle!” He flicked his wings, lit up and scuttled in a circle as demonstration. “The Beetle King sent me! He has had his eye on you from the beginning and sees the good, innocence, and pureness of your being. But he also sees how lonely you are. He charged me, an officer in his army, to find you and take away your forever isolation. I am your company!”


“A… friend?”


“Yes, a friend.” Batul assured. With the gentlest smile the little girl offered her palm to him. She took and set him on her small straw pillow, as cloth and straw are surely more homey than wood, and she wanted to appear a good host to her guest. She then lay down next to him. Without further speak, the little soldier began to glow by way of night light, and the girl was able to fall asleep easily within moments.   


As time passed on the two became close, spending hours upon hours by the window sharing stories. It took all of an hour to tell her story to the beetle, for her entire life could be summed up in an arm’s sweep of the attic. The beetle’s stories, however, entranced the girl’s mind to no end. Tales of the grand Beetle Kingdom, far far way between the sky and tree tops. Tales of places he’d flown to for the king on errands. No sooner had he finished one tale than she begged for another, long into the night. To travel around the world through another’s words is only second best to having those words be your own. He told her about his family back home in the kingdom. His wife and five children maintained the home, waiting for his return during his long tours abroad.


“You… don’t mind… being apart from them?” The girl found herself encountering a new feeling whenever the beetle brought his family to the front. Jealousy was its name, though she cared not what its title was. She was jealous of both the beetle and his family. The lot of them had someone, more than just a single someone to boot. She had no someone. No someone to look after her, to think of her, to wait for her. “Don’t you… miss them?” She would ask.


“Yes,” He replied every time. “But my duty lies first and foremost with the king and his wishes.


The girl envisioned herself traveling to the Beetle Kingdom. Batul described it as nothing but lights glittering off the glass wings of the beetles that lived there. Oh how I would like to go there, she though every night before laying her head down to sleep.


One day Batul posed a question to her. “You have never gone beyond this window, have you?” The girl shook her head. “Would you like to? If you could leave this place, your whole world, for a new one, would you?” She looked at him thoughtfully. “I have a confession. It is true I was sent here by the Beetle King to keep you company. But I was sent here to also propose an opportunity. As I said, the Beetle King has been keeping an eye on you, and truth be told he has taken a liking to you. If you chose, I can take you away from here to the Beetle Kingdom, but only if you agree to marry the Beetle King and become the Beetle Queen in return.”


“There is nothing for you here.” He stated. Which was most certainly true. The lonely girl had nothing to her name. She did not even claim the broom, not the window, not her cot. She felt no feasible attachments to the home of her life. She took one look around and left without further ado, not pausing long enough to even bid farewell to her pretend parents, who never paid much attention to her ever.

Sand Box

Charlie quickly learned that recess usually began with a fist full of sand thrown in his face. Today was no exception.


Sitting alone in the schoolyard sandbox, Charlie busied himself playing a quite game of trucks. With careful precision a surgeon would have envied he filled the beds of the plastic figures with lumps of sand and drove them a few inches away (complete with sound effects of course) , adding to a neat little mound he’s made for himself, calling it the next Mount Rushmore.


He liked it, the sand box. He was the only one who ever seemed to play in it. He didn’t have any friends and seeing as no one asked to share the space, in his mind he had claimed it as his own.  


Out of nowhere a small tennis shoe stepped into his vision. Charlie cried out but too late. Away in a gust went his hard work. Away went his trucks into someone else’s ownership. Hands shoved him hard, knocking him over into the sand. Tears flooded up to wash out his eyes as he sputtered dirt out of his mouth.  


“Ha ha ha, look at Charlie! He’s eating sand!”

“He’s crying! Crying like a baby!”


Charlie made out the figures of his classmates who just happened to be the local schoolyard bullies. He couldn’t be sure how many there was this time. They always banned together, swaying in a wind of cruel laughter.


“What’s a matter Charlie?” One voice said. The biggest boy stepped forward to shove Charlie again.


The taunts continued. This was Charlie’s only interaction with boys his age. One boy, who’d stolen the toy trucks, threw them over the fence nearby. Charlie didn’t know when these things started to occur or why they continued. None of the teachers ever seemed to notice, and the boys never seemed to tire of the game. Sit and take the abuse was all Charlie could do, hoping against hope that one day they would let him and his sandbox be.


Without warning a basketball entered the fame, hitting one boy in the back, nearly snapping him in half with the force. “Hey!” A new voice entered the fray. A small boy no one recognized stood confidently nearby, hands on hips. Everyone stared at him.


“Who are you?” One of the miscreants scowled.


As answer the lone boy strode up and punched the boy who had spoken right in the gut. This time he did snap in half, crumpling to the ground in a whining heap.


“Hey,” The other boys chanted, banding together into one mass again. Taking everyone off guard the boy charged at them, yelling something that sounded to Charlie like an ancient warrior cry.


All of the boys, every single last one of them, turned tail at this sight and ran away screaming. The one felled boy scrambled to his feet and limped on his way as well, sounding like Charlie’s father’s old truck when he started it up on Sundays.


Satisfied, the boy walked up to Charlie, who by now had dusted himself mostly off. His mouth hung open in the presence of such a great being.


“My name’s Brad,” The boy stuck his hand out.


“My name’s Charlie.” The two shook hands.


“I can’t get your trucks back until after school,” Brad continued. “Do you want to play basketball instead?”


“I don’t usually play sports.”




Charlie thought about this. “Because no one ever asks me to.”


“Well I’m asking you.” Brad walked over to where his weapon of choice had rolled. He motioned for Charlie to follow as he made his way to the small paved court nearby. Without much thought for the old familiar and comfortable, Charlie stepped out of his box, leaving a certain part of his childhood behind.


By the end of recess neither one remembered a thing about the lost trucks nor the desire to retrieve them. Instead they discussed sports tactics and the possibility of putting a team together for next season.


Charlie soon forgot what had been and who he’d been. He learned a friend could be a powerful and wonderful thing, and only thought of what could be in a future walking along side one.