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Children's Stories
by Margo Fallis
A Familiar Song

Flicker, the firefly flew around the cypress tree. Long strands of Spanish moss hung down to the ground. An old wooden house stood nearby. A man with a straw hat, wearing overalls on top of his blue-and-white-checkered shirt sat on the front porch in a chair, rocking back and forth. Creak. Creak. Creak.

The air was damp. Flicker could hear frogs croaking in the swampy river. Crickets chirped and owls hooted. He even thought he heard a panther growl.

The air was filled with the scent of gardenias and magnolias. The man took a harmonica out of his pocket and started playing a song. Flicker hummed along. Now and then his body glowed and glimmered. He liked music.

        Sounds coming from the bayou caught the man's attention. He stood and grabbed his rifle. Flicker flew to a cypress branch to watch. The man moved into the trees, heading for the water. "What is it? What does he  hear?" Flicker kept his distance, but followed the man deep into the swamp. He listened carefully, but couldn't hear a thing. "What is it? What does he hear?"

        The Spanish moss grew thicker and the branches of the trees hung lower. Roots jutted from the murky water, like bumps of a sea serpent's back.

        "I don't like this." Flicker noticed the sun's rays struggling to spread their light through the thick entangled growth.

        The man stopped and lifted the rifle to his chin.

        "What is it? What does he hear?" Flicker couldn't see anything.

        Just then a pair of beady eyes poked out of the water. The man didn't see them, but Flicker did. A snout appeared. Flicker saw the sharp teeth as the alligator swam toward the man.

        Flicker flew down the man, flashing his green bottom, warning him of the alligator, but the man's gaze stayed firm on the spot he aimed at.

        Seeing he was wasting his time, Flicker flew down to the alligator. He flickered right in front of the creature's eyes, flashing off and on, off and on. The alligator's eyes twirled around as it followed the firefly's darting movements. "He's getting dizzy!" Flicker continued until finally the alligator sank under the water and disappeared.

        A few minutes later the man put his gun down and turned, heading for home. Once he sat in his rocking chair, he put the rifle down and picked the harmonica out of his pocket.

        Flicker landed on the porch railing and listened as the man played lively tunes. He tapped his foot and hummed along, happy and content.

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