When Will I Get My Wings?

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Children Stories  |  House: Booksie Classic
A caterpillar named Johnny described as insecure and typically sad because his process of developing into a butterfly is delayed. The short story follows Johnny’s journey in hopes to overcome the bullying and struggles that comes with being “different” and finding his true self.

Submitted: April 15, 2017

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Submitted: April 15, 2017

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Some time ago there was a caterpillar named Johnny. Johnny was small and unfortunately a very unhappy and confused little caterpillar. He wasn’t like all the other caterpillars in the area, they would all gather around and talk about preparing their cocoon’s and express how excited they all were to become butterflies. Instead of joining them, Johnny would crawl around by himself because he was sadly convinced that he was going to remain a caterpillar forever. He didn't understand why, but he’d already tried preparing cocoons and has attempted to fall asleep in them but; for some reason it would never work. The cocoons would just never stay in shape, something would always fall apart and the more Johnny failed at building cocoons, the more confused and sad he became.

Johnny's journey of developing from a caterpillar into a butterfly was taking much longer than it usually should for any other caterpillar. This was hard for Johnny to handle because ever since he was hatched he’s always dreamed of becoming a beautiful butterfly with colorful, strong wings that would carry him in the wind. His journey was taking so long and seemed like an impossible process, because of this he was often given a hard time from the other bugs, especially a very mean bug. The very mean bug lived in Johnny's neighborhood and they both went to the same school. Her name was Helga and she’s a Bee, not the "Queen Bee" but she might as well have been. Helga wasn’t only mean to Johnny; she was mean to a lot of other bugs too. She would always make fun of bugs if they didn’t do things she asked, or it seemed like she was just being mean for no reason at all. It’s like she never considered that other bugs have feelings. Unfortunately for Johnny, he was Helga’s favorite prey.

Johnny never understood why Helga had to be so cruel, acting as if she owned the woods and everyone owed her something. Johnny, being his little insecure self would just take her insults, it's almost like he became used to it. The mean Bee Helga would always make cruel remarks like “You’re funny looking” and asked questions like “Weren’t you supposed to be a caterpillar by now?” Once she made a really mean remark to Johnny that made him very upset which was "You’ll always be a caterpillar, wait no you’ll always be nothing but a worm!”

Johnny struggled to get up branches; he'd always try to climb up when nobody was around especially just in case Helga and her swarm of Bee’s were around, he was afraid they would laugh at him. Johnny really took these things to heart but never did anything about them; he chose to keep everything bundled up inside, but there’s only so much a little caterpillar or any bug could hold onto.

Johnny always wondered why it was so difficult for him to perform such easy tasks like climbing trees, dirt hills and staying in his cocoon, but it wasn’t hard for all the other bugs. He would constantly try; it’s just that it got tiring after always failing.

Helga’s bullying got pretty out of hand, and one day Johnny couldn’t take any more of it. All her insults hurt him deeply and made him start believing that maybe he will always just be a caterpillar, or "nothing but a worm"

"Why aren't my cocoons staying together?" "What is it that I do wrong every single time?" "Why's it so easy for everyone else but so hard for me?" "Why doesn't it just come naturally for me like it does for them?"

Johnny would constantly think all these questions to himself, he was losing hope. No matter how hard he tried, he just couldn’t get the pieces of his cocoon to stay together. He just couldn’t turn into the butterfly he always dreamt to be.

Johnny became so unhappy, his mood began to change; he didn’t feel like doing anything anymore. He didn’t want to go outside and he really didn’t want to go to school. He'd lock himself in his bedroom for days and then soon enough those days would become weeks. Johnny’s mother was concerned with the way he was acting, she’d try to talk with her son but nothing seemed to get through to him, all he wanted to do was lay in bed all day.

One morning Johnny’s mother asked him if he'd be interested in taking a trip to the grocery store just a couple blocks away from the local Community School for Insects. She’d just ran out of fresh leaves and needed more for dinner that night, she could have gone herself but she was too busy making cutlery out of wood chips. He wasn’t really up for it, but he thought to himself that his mother had always been there for him when he needed her, so he decided he would go to the store for her.

Johnny held up his head and put away his fear of being outside and made his way over to the store hoping he wouldn’t run into anybody he knew, especially Helga. As Johnny was crawling ahead minding his business and admiring the sunshine and beautiful flowers; he thought to himself how much he misses being outside. All of a sudden Johnny stopped and became silent; he heard the ugly and frightful giggle of Helga. His tiny little heart started beating so fast that you could hear it from a mile away. Repeating to himself “Please don’t let her see me, please don’t let her see me!” and just as he thought everything was clear from the lack of sound, luck took a turn on him. He stopped moving and as his eyes were aimed towards the ground, all Johnny saw were two blackish brown, slightly fuzzy Bee legs. “Look who finally decided to show their face again” Helga said with attitude, “We thought you were finally in your cocoon but then realized that would never happen because well, worms don’t go into cocoons, now do they?” Helga grinned at Johnny. Johnny sighed and politely asked Helga if he could pass by, but Helga wasn’t moving. Johnny remained still, not really knowing what else he could do. Helga was still refusing to move, frightened, Johnny just turned around and crawled back home without bringing home the leaves his mom asked him to pick up. Helga and her swarm of bee friends continued laughing as Johnny sadly crawled back home.

When Johnny got back home his Mom was resting on a small twig outside of the house. Having that motherly sense, she knew that something went wrong on Johnny’s trip. She asked him what was wrong, but he didn’t feel like talking. Johnny’s mom decided to cut to the chase and asked "Ran into a NOT so Honey Bee, Johnny?” Still refusing to speak, Johnny just passed his mother and went straight up to his bedroom.

Johnny was laying down on his bed staring up at the wooden ceiling wondering to himself “why me? Why did I have to be the different one? Why can’t I just grow into a Butterfly? Why do I have to stay a caterpillar forever...? Am I going to stay a caterpillar forever?” He thought about this so much that it started to get to him in ways that weren’t so healthy, but something inside him didn’t want to be sad anymore. He didn’t exactly know why but, for some reason he just got this sudden urge to force himself out of the house. Johnny was so tired of Helga and her mean words he just wanted to show her and everyone else that he is more than what they claim.

Johnny went to bed and woke up the next morning feeling like a new insect, a new insect who still had no idea what he was going to do but he thought to himself as long as he’s out of the house then everything would be a little better, at least it's what he hoped. He ate a piece of grass for breakfast and when he finished he made his way out the door. His mom asked him where he was off to “just going to the park Mom, I won’t be too long” he replied. Johnny was crawling towards the local park, a little scared by the rustling in the bushes; he froze for a second but thought to himself that he shouldn't be afraid and helped crawling.

Johnny finally arrived to the park where all the bugs in the neighborhood would hang out. He was surprised to see how packed it was, he became a little nervous to go into the park because he recognized a few bugs from school who would also give him a hard time. Unfortunately Johnny was too scared, he made the decision to turn back but he didn’t want to go home just yet. Johnny decided to just crawl and crawl wherever the trails would take him. He crawled for about an hour until he came across a park he’d never seen before, he was so intrigued. The park was full of Caterpillars and Bumble Bees whose patterns were different; instead of Bees being black and yellow, they were pink and black, or red and black, some were even solid blue. He also saw Snails without their shells; he even saw a few with two shells. There was one lady bug with purple stripes and a neon yellow base instead of black dots and a red base. He knew it was different, but he thought it was really cool.

Johnny was a little nervous about walking in so he just stood at the entrance for a while just looking at all the different bugs. He felt a nudge on his side so he turned around to see what it could be. “Hi, is this your first time here? You look a little lost.” Said a small caterpillar who almost looked exactly like Johnny.

“Oh, hey yeah it is... Um... I was just crawling around and I found this place.” Johnny replied. "Cool, I could show you around if you want” said the small caterpillar. “My name’s Rick, what’s yours?” "I’m Johnny.” "Nice to meet you Johnny, I’ve been coming here for about a year now, it’s pretty neat, I find it calming and almost like another home, away from home you know what I mean?” Johnny put his head down and said “Where I’m from majority of the bugs have pretty bad attitudes and sometimes it's scary to try and make friends or even talk to them.” “Yeah, bugs could be cruel, but it's not like that here, I mean bugs will be bugs but at least here everyone is accepting of one another know what I mean?” Rick replied. "Yeah... I think so." Johnny replied with curiosity on his mind.

Johnny asked Rick “Not to be rude or anything but how come all the bugs…" Rick interrupted; “How come all the bugs are different then bugs we're used to seeing every day?” Johnny smiled, and nodded his head “yeah” “Well, this park is open for everyone but it was specifically built for bugs who feel that they don’t fit in, or don’t get along with all other bugs.” Rick explained. "When bugs are going through hard times they usually come here, they even have study groups so everyone can go to school here instead of their local schools if they want. Some bugs are told about it and some just come across it on their own, like you did!” Rick said. “That’s cool, if only I heard about this place months ago… what is it called?” Johnny asked. “We call this place Diamond Park; it’s been around for years now. It’s a really great place, and it’s my safe zone.” Rick replied. “So, did you have trouble with your previous school?” Johnny asked shyly. Rick smiled at Johnny “I come here because I’ve had a lot of problems with other bugs in the past. You see, I’m not supposed to be a caterpillar, I’m actually supposed to already be a butterfly but unfortunately it’s just hard for me and some other caterpillars to get our wings.” “Really?!” Johnny replied with disbelief. “I’m going through the same thing, too” Rick looked at Johnny and smiled “well then buddy, you came to the right place, follow me I want to introduce you to a friend of mine.

Rick and Johnny made their way over to the other side of the park where Rick introduced Johnny to a huge, beautiful blue and orange butterfly, just relaxing on a twig. “Hey Collin! Meet Johnny, it's his first time here.” Rick said. Collin looked over at Johnny “Hey man.” "Hey" Johnny replied.

Johnny, Rick and Collin all sat together around the tree. “So, what brings you to Diamond Park?” asked Collin “Well I was just crawling around, and I came across the park and met Rick, he explained what the park is about and ever since I was hatched I wanted to be a butterfly… but it just never happened. It’s just really frustrating. Johnny replied “I hear you; I’ve been through that. It’s tough not being able to get your wings at the certain time you want them, especially when all the other caterpillars your age are getting them. But trust me it’ll happen one day, just like it did for me, all you have to do is not give up.” Collin replied sympathetically.

Surprised; "what?!" Johnny asked. Rick and Collin both looked at one another and chuckled “Yep, believe it or not I was once in the same boat as you two.” Collin claimed. Johnny couldn't help but ask Collin “Was your cocoon always falling apart?”

“Oh yeah, I hated that, attempting to get the pieces to stick together over and over again but It just wouldn't stick” Collin replied. Rick and Johnny both looked towards the ground. Collin looked at them both and said “Don’t worry guys, I've already told Rick about the Magic Firefly. I went to her so I could get my wings. Collin said. “Magic Firefly? How do we find her?” Johnny asked “We have to search the bushes in the evening and in the night; she’s a firefly so she’s usually not around during the day time.” Rick replied. Nodding his head, Collin added “When you find her explain your situation as much as you can, she will try to understand and eventually grant you with one wish each, but first she’s going to ask you two questions and depending on your answers you’ll get this potion that helps turn you into a Butterfly” Johnny was beyond excited, he had no words to express the thrill he was experiencing at that moment. It was getting dark out so they all decided to call it a night. They started crawling back while Collin flew away. Both Rick and Johnny stopped and stared at him flying away with the feelings of innocent jealously, and support.

Rick and Johnny decided they would go searching for the magic firefly the next evening. That night when Johnny arrived home he sat down with his Mom and told her about his day. He told her about meeting Rick and Collin and brought up the Magic Firefly and asked her if it was ok with her that he went to find her. Johnny’s mother smiled “Of course Johnny, if this is a way of making you happy then go for it, I will help out as much as I can just remember to be extremely careful.” Johnny crawled over to his mom and gave her a huge hug and kiss.

The next day Rick and Johnny met each other at Diamond Park. They started drawing up routes on where to look for the Magic Firefly, they went off and started searching in every bush that crossed their path. They’ve been searching for hours but had no luck. It was getting extremely late so they decided to call it quits for the night, until Johnny saw something sparkling from the distance. “Is that the..." Johnny asked “IT'S THE MAGIC FIREFLY, IT'S HER!” they both shouted in excitement. The Magic Firefly was getting closer and closer until she finally arrived and was floating in front of Rick and Johnny.
 “Hello my dears" Hi" Rick and Johnny replied nervously. "What a fine night it is" the Magic Firefly said while swaying around in the air "but you two young boys better head to your homes soon before it gets too late now" You know we’re NOT that young right’?! Johnny said with an angry tone. "Excuse him, what he meant to say was that we both aren't as young as you may think we are, we’re actually both supposed to be Butterflies by now, but we’re having trouble with our cocoons and growth.” Rick explained.The Magic Firefly smiled at them both and apologized. “So, you both want your wings?” “Yes, we really do” both Johnny and Rick answered. “Now for my second question” The Magic Firefly said “Are you both certain and ready for your wings?” “Ms. Firefly, we’ve been ready ever since the day we were hatched, we knew since then we wanted to grow up and become Butterflies. It's just that we can’t seem to get their on our own like all the other caterpillars.” Johnny explained sincerely.

The Magic Firefly smiled “Ah, now I grant the both of you with one wish each" The Magic Firefly said. Johnny and Rick both were silent for a few seconds, they both closed their eyes and on the count of three they both said "I wish I was a Butterfly" The Magic Firefly, floating in the air; looked down at Johnny and Rick “Well alright my dears, here you are" handing Johnny and Rick each their own glass bottle of sparkling liquid. Johnny and Rick were both a little confused but listened to the Magic Firefly. "Now drink a sip of this every night and eventually your wings will appear and you both will become the Butterflies you've always dreamed of being.” The Magic Firefly explained. Johnny and Rick thanked the Magic Firefly; she smiled at them and flew away.

Johnny and Rick crawled back to Diamond Park and there they went their separate ways. That night when Johnny got home he took a sip of the sparkling liquid and continued doing so every night just like the Magic Fireflies said. At times Johnny felt a little frustrated because he felt like the potion wasn't working. Rick felt the same way, they hung out at Diamond Park and had talks with Collin for reassurance that their wings will grow it just takes some time. "Remember to just be patient" Collin always reminded them.

 One morning Johnny woke up feeling sort of different, he got up out of his bed feeling a little heavier than usual, but a lot stronger. He looked down and saw that his skin was different; he felt something on both sides of him. Full of adrenaline from the excitement; Johnny shouted out for his mom who instantly came rushing up the stairs startled from her sons shouting. She stood at Johnny’s door silently for a few seconds, smiled and said “My boy, look at those wings, they're beautiful just, beautiful.” Johnny's mom hugged him and had tears in her eyes caused by happiness for her son. Johnny’s wings were red with splashes of purple, and from certain angles a goldish color would shine off the edges of his wings, just like his mom said Johnny’s wings were just beautiful.

Johnny was so happy but suddenly he looked down towards the floor of his bedroom. Concerned; "Why the sad look, Johnny? Aren’t you happy?” His mom asked. “Yeah I am, but I was just wondering why did I have to go through this entire struggle just to get something that comes naturally and easy for other caterpillars? I mean, why me? What if the other bugs still give me a hard time by saying things like I’m not really a Butterfly, it was only granted by magic, It’s all fake?” Johnny asked. "Sweetie, you should not think like that, it’s not healthy nor is it true. No matter what you must remember that you're a real butterfly just as much as the other butterflies are. You are just as much of an insect as the others are, but the only difference is that you were brave enough to know that you weren’t complete, you were brave enough to search for that missing piece of yourself, that to me is very real." Johnny's Mom said while brushing her hand against her sons face. Johnny smiled and thanked his mom with a hug. He and her both made their way out to the front yard, he stood up and started spreading his wings slowly, wider and wider, kicking off the ground and lifting his weight into the air. Johnny flew; he flew anywhere the wind took him. Johnny looked straight ahead of him and noticed Collin flying towards him. He couldn't recognize the other Butterfly who was flying next to him until they got closer to him. Johnny froze in midair "RICK! I can’t believe it's you, your wings are awesome!" "Aren't they? Yours are incredible dude" Rick replied with a huge smile on his face. The three butterflies we’re having a great time just flying around, Collin was teaching Johnny and Rick cool air and landing tricks.
Until all of a sudden "Hey, do you hear that?" asked Collin. "It kind of sounds like a buzzing noise" Rick said. “OH no" Johnny shouted, "its Helga and her swarm!"

Johnny was ready to fly away towards any other direction but Rick stopped him. He floated in front of Johnny and spread his wings wide open and said "You don't need to go anywhere because she's here; this is your neighborhood too.” Collin looked over at Johnny and nodded his head agreeing with Rick. "You're braver than you believe" Rick said.
Johnny felt a nudge on his wing, he turned around and Helga was there floating right behind him. Johnny choked, but built up the courage to tell Helga to back off. "Wow, you don't have to be so mean... I was just going to tell you that you have really nice wings; I guess you're not just a little worm after all. I was just wondering if you wanted to hang out with me and everyone else tonight."
Johnny stared at Helga for a second, "Thanks, but no thanks. I've already got plans with my real friends." Helga muffled under her breathe, turned around and flew away, her swarm following her. Johnny, Rick and Collin all looked at one another; they laughed, and all flew through the air together.


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