The Sign

"How can they do that?" Asked one of the boys at the orphanage.

Five or six of us boys had capture several lighting bugs in a jar. We sat outside one Saturday evening watching them as they, one at a time, lit up their magical bodies.

"It's like a special nature thing." Said another boy.

"We can't keep them in a jar for very long or they will die." Said Robert

"We can give them food and water and they will live for a long time. Won't they?" I asked.

"We can't keep them locked up in a jar. The church lady says that it's wrong to kill anything that God made for the world. It's wrong to kill things." Said Tommy.

"If God didn't want us to have them then he wouldn't let us catch them. After all their just bug things." Said Wayne.

"If God wants us to let them go then he could give us a special sign." Said Tommy.

All at once the small bugs stopped lighting up. The jar now sat on the ground with us boys waiting to see if they would once again start to light.

"Maybe their dead now." I said.

"Their not dead.That is a sign from God to let them all go." Said little Billy Smith.

"That ain't no sign." Said one of the boys.

"If God wants us to let them go then he should make them blink just one time. Then we'll know it is a sign." Said Wayne.

Everyone fell totally silent and all eyes were glued upon the glass jar with anticipation.

All of a sudden there was one small flash of light and then the jar fell dark once again.

"That was just an accident." Said Wayne.

"That ain't no accident. You better let them go or your breaking a promise to God." Said Billy.

"We'll do it one more time. This time they have to blink two lights. Then we'll know it's really a sign." Said Wayne.

Once again we sat in a circle around the jar, silently waiting for the sign.

"Holly Mackerel." Said one the boys as two lights appeared in the small jar.

Slowly one of the boys reached over and unscrewed the lid to the jar. We boys sat there silently, with our eyes as big as saucers. Several minutes passed before we decided to thump on the jar causing the lighting bugs to fly away.

The next morning we boys were loaded onto the church bus and we were taken to church and sunday school. That was the one time that I can remember when everyone of us boys minded really, really good at church.

Roger Kiser Author of "Orphan"

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