Just Desert

By Daphne C

It was November, the season of Thanksgiving. Although Ms. Ning didn’t celebrate the holiday, she thought it would be nice if she made some pumpkin pie for her niece, Stella. Stella loved pumpkin pie topped with whipped cream and a side of vanilla ice cream. 

To make it, Ms. Ning went to the store to buy pumpkins. She found a lovely orange one, along with many other pumpkin pie-making ingredients such as sweet condensed milk, eggs, and pumpkin pie spice. Pumpkin pie had to have a well-made crust that Ms. Ning would make herself, and a pumpkin puree, which was what she had bought the pumpkin for.

As she got a knife to cut the pumpkin, it started to glow faintly. Ms. Ning, thinking that it was just an illusion from the kitchen lamps, ignored it and lowered the knife. The pumpkin itself was just an ordinary pumpkin, a bit smaller than the average pumpkin used for pie, but it would be suitable nonetheless. It had a straight stem that bent to the left at the tips, and a strange white outline opposed to the color-neutral outline of most objects. But it was just an average pumpkin, so she paid the glowing no mind.

The pumpkin glowed even brighter, as if sending a warning message. The glow was no longer orange, but the same white as the pumpkin’s outlines. 

Ms. Ning, who was undaunted, once again lowered the knife. The pumpkin’s brightness was now rivalling that of the fluorescent lamps in her kitchen.

She lowered the knife and it grew even brighter. As she cut open the pumpkin, a bag of fireflies was revealed to be inside the pumpkin, thus to why it was glowing. Ms. Ning, feeling bad for the fireflies, opened the bag and let them fly freely in her garden, as fleeting moments of luminescence, before going back to making the pumpkin pie. 

The next day, Ms. Ning went to the store she had bought the pumpkin from and asked to speak to the manager. This, in the eyes of the other customers, was Karen behavior, but Ms. Ning just wanted to ask a question.

The manager’s office was relatively nice. It was a neat office, all files sorted and organized, a big monitor and a computer with a keyboard off to the side, and a bookshelf in a corner with books about financial management. She and the manager were seated at opposite ends of a table in comfortable armchairs. 

The manager, Mr. Lapis, looked nervous. 

Ms. Ning folded her hands in her lap and smiled dryly. 

“Mr. Lapis,” she said sweetly, “May I ask why there were fireflies in my pumpkin?”

“Well…what do you think?”

About the Author

Daphne Cheng is a student at Stratford who enjoys reading, writing, drawing, and playing Genshin Impact, among other things. She has a dog named Nena.

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