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A Phoenix Fiction Writer Rising From The Ashes of Nonfiction



Freddie  The  Firefly 
by Michael T. Martin

One day, when Freddy the firefly looked up from his meadow, he saw a long swirling tornado coming out of a dark cloud right at him. Freddy tried to fly away but strong winds in the tornado spun Freddy high up into the dark cloud.

Freddy tumbled in the darkness and could not tell where he was going for a long time until suddenly the winds blew downward and Freddy found himself falling out of the bottom of the cloud into a foggy patch of pine trees next to a large fancy house. For miles around the house and trees, all he could see, was a giant field of snow.

Freddy the firefly had been so scared that he had not blinked his light at all during his long ride through the cloud. Now, fluttering through the fog toward the small patch of evergreens, he started slowly blinking his light. He usually blinked faster when he was excited, but it was so cold he could hardly blink at all.

Freddy had not been this cold before. Now as he landed on a cold frosty branch in a cold white land with frost on the needles of pine trees, Freddy worried that he would soon freeze solid as a rock.

"Oh, no." thought Freddy. "How am I going to get home from this strange place." Looking around, Freddy noticed a single large deer in the middle of the patch of pine trees, and outside the patch, pawing in the snow, were many even bigger deer.

Freddy blinked his light without even thinking about it. It was just something fireflies do. But the solitary deer in the middle of the evergreen patch seemed surprised and walked over to Freddy to put its eye right up to him. Freddy was a little scared because just the eye of the deer, only inches from his face, was a lot bigger than Freddy.

"Who are you?" he heard the deer whisper.

"I'm Freddy," he replied.

"What are you?" asked the deer bringing up its snout to sniff at Freddy. Freddy was startled by the long snout pointing right at him and blinked a little faster.

"I'm a firefly," said Freddy. "and I don't know where I am." Freddy felt better each time the deer breathed on him because the warm breath seemed just like the soft breezes of home.

"You have a light on your tail!" exclaimed the deer.

"That is why they call us fireflies," said Freddy as he kept his light on for a long time. "Do you mind if I sit on your nose?" Freddy asked. "Your nose is warm and I'm quite cold."

"You won't burn my nose will you?" answered the deer with amazed eyes.

"No! My light is very cool." answered Freddy, "You won't even feel it." The deer put his nose right up to Freddy, so he hopped on. "You and your friends are a lot bigger than the deer where I come from." said Freddy looking into two crossed eyes trying to watch him.

"We are reindeer," said the deer, "but the others are not my friends. They won't play with me. They say I'm too little."

"But you are big!" shouted Freddy. "You are almost as big as the others and lots bigger than all the deer I know."

"The other reindeer always call me names and make fun of me." said the deer.

Freddy stayed on the very tip of the reindeer's nose where the warm breath blew little clouds of white mist about him.

"Ho ho ho," came a cry from the large house as a large man all dressed in red stepped outside. Freddy looked at the nearby house, but he could just barely see the dim outline of glowing windows in the fog. Freddy could barely make out the dark red shape in the doorway. Then the man cried out: "Oh, no! No, no!"

Another shape came quickly to the doorway, and a woman's voice exclaimed: "What is it Santa?" Several tiny shapes gathered around them, chattering in high pitched voices.

The man's voice boomed out again. "It's a terrible fog!" he exclaimed. "I can't drive a sleigh of toys in a fog like this. I have to be able to see that the reindeer all pull in the same direction. If they can't pull together we'll never get off the ground."

"Oh dear," cried the woman. The tiny voices became shrill wails. The reindeer outside the house looked worried and confused. "This is terrible." said the deer in a sad voice. "There's never been a fog like this at the North Pole. Up here it's too cold for moisture in the air to make a fog."

"It must have been that terrible storm that brought me here." said Freddy, blinking again. "Where I come from the air is always moist and warm. The fog must be from that storm."

"It's a terrible storm, then," said the deer. "It will ruin Christmas for the whole world. All year long the elves have been working to make the toys and now we can't deliver them."

Suddenly Santa's voice boomed out into the night. "What's that light?" All of the reindeer turned to look at Freddy and the deer and began laughing at them.

"What's that on your nose, Rudolph?" cried several reindeer at once. Some other reindeer began singing "Rudolph's nose is so red that it glows!"

Santa Claus shouted again, "Quiet! What is that light?" The night air became quiet.

"It's that doofuss Rudolph again." jeered one reindeer, "now he's got a light on his nose. Where he got it, nobody knows." The other reindeer started laughing again.

Santa strode over to Rudolph and looked closely at his snout. Freddy blinked and the light made Santa's eyes gleam in the darkness only inches away from Freddy. Santa's large white beard seemed to blot out the rest of the world. There was just the glimmering eyes of Santa, two red cheeks, and a nose sticking out over a bushy white mustache. Santa's spoke much softer now, "Well, what have we here?"

Rudolph answered without moving a muscle. "It's a firefly I found in the evergreens."

"A firefly?" exclaimed Santa. "At the North Pole?"

"I think he's lost." answered Rudolph softly.

"Well then, we're saved!" shouted Santa as he raised his arms high.

At first, Freddy thought Santa was going to swat him, but instead Santa patted Rudolph on the head and shouted to all the other reindeer.

"Rudolph can lead the sleigh and everyone will follow the light on his nose. That way everyone can be sure they are pulling in the same direction. Let's go!" There was a moment of silence, then all of the reindeer began cheering.

The elves came running to harness the other reindeer behind Rudolph as Santa called out their names. They were famous names, legends of the North Pole, all lining up behind Rudolph. It all happened so quickly that Rudolph barely noticed the elves putting the harness on him that attached all the reindeer to Santa's sleigh.

Freddy turned to look up the long snout of Rudolph and saw two crossed eyes trying to look at him. "Hey, you'll be famous!" said Freddy, "and this means I can go home!!" Rudolph's eyes straightened and he looked all around him at the other reindeer cheering for him. He raised his head high and Freddy blinked his light.

The reindeer behind him straightened out until the harness grew taut. The fog was so thick Freddy couldn't see the sleigh at the end of the team of reindeer, but he felt Rudolph begin to trot and heard Santa call out into the night: "Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night!"


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