I shall never forget the night the fireflies came. It was eleven o'clock, everything was a bruised, black shade. Only a symphony of crickets hummed.
Then, as if a switch had been pressed, the fireflies twinkled on. Flickering like broken bulbs and matching the starry constellations that sprawled across the sky perfectly, they glided and whirled around my mother, sister and me. Only our glee, a high pitched shriek of happiness, penetrated the near-silence.
My sister's white nightie floated like a luminescent blot in the blackness. Spinning round and round, desperately trying to catch a firefly, she resembled a lamp, drawing the tornado of fire ever closer until they enveloped her, embraced her.
The freshly mown grass smelt of new hay, sickly and sweet. It congealed in clumps, soggy and limp. Even the air tasted like hay. Our pond, limpid, devoid of motion was an inky pool. The silky ducks squabbled, safely tucked away. Only the occasional fish broke the sheet of ink, sending out ripples across it, until the resulting waves lapped the rocky shore.
The late summer heat smothered everything and in the middle of the night it settled like an eiderdown of warmth over us and the fireflies. Then, the flickering bulbs of fire petered out and melted away into the night.