The fireflies came out at dusk, their tiny lights blinking on and off in the deepening gloom.
The children chased them running around the old trees in the yard, shouting with delight as the tiny insects drifted away just out of their reach. The oldest moved slowly, watching a tiny black speck that floated barely visible against the shadows of the evening. Slowly she raised her hands, and cupped them around the bug, trapping it.
She lowered her hands and called to the others. They huddled around her as she slowly opened her hands, revealing the firefly. It marched across the palm of her hand as if it had important things to do, and stopped on the tip of her index finger. The tiny bulb on it's behind flashed green, went dark, then flashed again. Then it spread its wings and flew away, quickly disappearing into the evening.
The youngest child, a little girl with chocolate ice cream still smeared around her mouth began to wail. The oldest shushed her and caught another firefly, showing it to her little sister who clapped her hands and giggled.
The adults were on the patio, drinking beer and tea, talking about adult things. The oldest child knew that things in the adult world weren't good. She knew that her mom was working extra shifts at the store. She knew that every day her dad went to work worried that it would be his last day. She knew that maybe someday soon they would have to leave this house with the big yard and trees where the fireflies danced and the cicadas sang in the summer evenings.
She pushed the thoughts away. They wouldn't have to leave. They would never leave. If she believed it enough it would be true. But she was old enough to know that the world didn't work that way.
She went back to the patio and sat on the concrete next to her mother's chair. She laid her head on her mothers lap, feeling the warmth of the woman's bare legs on her cheek, and watched her siblings playing. Her mother stroked her hair and absentmindedly pulled apart a few tangles, as the girl tried to pretend that she was still young enough to believe.