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“See anything over there?!” Penny yelled, cupping her hands around her mouth to be sure everyone heard her.

Trixie, standing right beside Penny, covered her ears. “Can you warn me next time?” 

Penny ignored her. Everyone was out by the river, right by the edge of the forest. They had spent the day eating, swimming, playing, and swing. Now the sun was setting. It was almost time for fireflies to come out. The seven friends had split up to search for some.

So far, no luck.

After everyone called that they hadn’t see one, they all met back up by the picnic blanket where the remains of their lunch could still be seen. 

“Maybe it’s too early in the season,” Pixel suggested. He pulled up his wrist computer and started Googling.

Jives yawned. “I say we get some sleep and try again tomorrow. I’m worn out.”

“Worn out from what?” Stingy asked. “All you did was steal my inner tube and sleep in the river!”

The sky was growing darker as they argued, Stephanie noticed. A few stars were even coming out. She stepped away from the group and took in the early summer air. The crickets, soft hooting of owls in the forest waking up, the river nearby, wind crinkling the candy wrappers she had warned Ziggy to—

Stephanie’s eyes snapped opened. “Where’s Ziggy?”

Every stopped talking and looked around. “He— he was right here!” Jive’s said, worry making his voice higher. “Ziggy! ZIGGY!”

Hey!!” A faint shout from just inside the line had everyone rushing over.  Ziggy stood there, grinning and jumping excitedly. His hands were held together in front of him.

“Don’t scare us like that!” Trixie barked when they got close. “What are you doing over here?!”

Giggling, Ziggy held up his hands. “I caught one! I really really caught one!”

Penny snorted. “You mean you not only found a firefly but you also caught it?” She crossed her arms. “That’s rich.”

“No I did! Really! Look!” Ziggy opened his cupped hands. A bright ball of light flew out of his hands and zipped up into the trees. It hovered above their heads and flew in slow lazy circles.

The friends cheered and jumped around, trying to catch the bug again. Jives shook Ziggy’s hand and congratulated him on a job well done. It was easily one of the best summer solaces they could remember.