[Six months later]
Our tree house smelled amazing. A loaf of freshly made nut bread lay cooling on the edge of the window sill. Its savory aroma drifted lazily around the room. Polly was out, retrieving some last-minute necessity (that she refused to tell me about) for our gathering this evening. We had invited Hawk and Cece over tonight before all four of us went out to find gifts to give to the Great Light. Once she began to rise, another gifting night would dawn, and it was going to be the first one that Hawk and I would experience since we joined this world.
It had welcomed us with open arms, and a dozen other Moths that had been through similar experience helped acclimate us to everything. With Polly and Cece being our primary guides of course. It was fun, it was wild. It was everything I’d ever wanted and more.
I smiled when I sensed her. Polly had been the light of my life for these past six months, and I’d been wondering all day what mysterious errand had called her away. I greeted her before she even landed, and she tackled me with a hug before I finished greeting her. It was one of her big ones, where she wraps us both in her wings, a staple part of our lives.
“I have brought you a gift.” Polly said, her voice muffled as she pressed herself into my fuzzy collar.
We separated, and she beamed at me, before grabbing something that her wings had kept hidden. She pulled out an odd metal device, one that I hadn’t seen in months now. Somehow, she’d found my old desk lamp. I don’t know where she could have found itl the landlord would have tossed all my stuff the moment I disappeared. But somehow, there it was, in her hands. She held it out to me, and tears sprung to my eyes. I… didn’t even realize how much I had missed it.
“Oh Great Light,” I breathed, before pulling her close, but she didn’t meet my eyes. A guilty look was plastered across her face. “What’s wrong? Is everything ok?”
Polly sounded like she was on the edge of tears. “It doesn’t have any light. I do not know how your magic works. I am sorry.”
I let out a breathy laugh, and pulled her closer. “It’s ok, dear. I lived in the human world for too many years and all I learned is that technology is magic and hates us.” She let me pick her up and deposit her on one of the giant ever-blooming flowers that we used as chairs. “Its light isn’t that important to me anymore. It gave me something better. But… If you really want to see it light again, we can go find a storm spirit, and see if they might be willing to help.”
Polly composed herself and shook in agreement. “Okay, we can do that. I just wanted to give you something special for the Gifting Night.”
I smiled at her. “It’s beyond lovely, Polly. Thank you. All I did was bake you some nut bread.”
Before long, Hawk and Cece appeared, alighting on the landing outside with barely a sound. Hawk’s new form suited him well. He’d gained height, now towering over us three, which he poked at us about occasionally. His wings were a collage of forest greens and mud browns, not too dissimilar to camouflage that humans used during hunting. He held his wings behind him like a great cape, and they gave him a regal, elven disposition.
“How are your goats? I want to see them!” Polly pleaded, back to her wide-eyed, excited self.
“They’re doing just fine. You know you’re always welcome to come visit them. And thank you both again for helpin’ us smuggle them into the woods.” Hawk beamed at us. A few months ago, we’d aided them in shepherding his old farm animals into the ancient forest we now called home. It was no mean feat, considering we weighed a quarter of what we used to. It was also made more difficult by Polly falling in love with the goats, and stopping every other minute to fuss over and pet them.
“And we have something special for you.” Cece handed me something wrapped in thick leaves.
I peeled them open and found a soft, white block inside. A savory scent wafted up from the package and I felt my mouth water. I can’t believe it. I whipped my attention to the couple. “You made fucking cheese?”
Hawk grinned at me. “You talked about missing it, and—” He couldn’t finish his sentence because I had all but tackled him with a hug. Cheese was one of the things that I found myself missing from the human world. While I had fallen in love with Moth cuisine, especially nectar, I did pine for some foodstuffs that couldn’t be replicated easily.
“It’s just some of the cheese from his goats,” Cece said as Hawk recovered from my attack of affection. “He’s become the talk of the town; their very own cheesemaker. And everyone is jealous that he is mine.” She puffed out her chest in pride. Hawk winked at her and kissed her cheek.
The final rays of the setting sun signaled that night was fast approaching, and we all exchanged glances. A moment of deliberation and we decided to wait to celebrate until we’d found an offering to the Great Light. We stepped out of the tree house and took off into the sky, letting the gentle breeze move us forward.
As the sun set beneath the trees, I sped through the forest with three other Moths, my friends. We chattered about what we hoped to find, I wanted to find a light, one like my own. A light that protects against bad dreams and nightmares, a glow that lulls someone into peaceful sleep. The shadows crept ahead of us as we broke out of the woods and into the human world.
I circled the city I found myself in for several hours. Each light was as tantalizing as the next. The moon was slowly rising, a yellow globe that smiled down at me. Her light flooded the city like rain to a thirsty desert. I flitted from lamp to light. But none really stole my attention. Hours passed in my search to find the perfect gift, and I began to worry that I wouldn’t find anything. But then, I saw it. A quiet, green light radiating from a house in the suburb. I could feel it radiate happiness from here, and I instantly knew this would be my gift.
I dove towards it, pouring every ounce of speed into my descent. At the very last second, I realized there was a window in the way. Fwump.