Cookbook designer Bay Woods begins to notice strange things happening at his lake house. He could swear someone is visiting his gardens at night, leaving the wrought-iron gate open. And some of his clothes are missing, too. He soon realizes there might be a trespasser in the quiet neighborhood, and maybe something even more mysterious.
As summer stretches on, Bay notices an unusual number of fireflies every evening. One in particular seems to follow him around the property. Why exactly?
Then Bay learns his trespasser is the tall and handsome Christopher Lavre. Unsettling questions make him wonder what Christopher’s link is to the fireflies at night. Or rather, one lightning bug in particular ...
Bay exited his office, walked downstairs, and fetched a drink from the kitchen. While pouring vodka over four ice cubes in a faux, crystal glass he saw movement outside, next to the vegetable garden. Just a blur at the corner of his right eye. Light blue mixed with a little dark blue. A flicker. Nothing more. Nothing less. He stopped pouring the Smirnoff and placed the bottle on the counter, next to the glass. Then he turned his head and view to the garden and ...
Someone was in the backyard, next to the lake, and near the vegetable garden. A tall, masculine figure in a light blue T-shirt and jeans. No shoes. The man was chiseled, nicely developed with muscles. Over six feet tall. Physically fit. Clean-shaven and handsome. No facial hair. Brown hair with narrow eyebrows. Exactly the description Sam had provided that afternoon regarding the stranger on the side of Bay's house.
At first, Bay thought his mind had been playing tricks on him again, but it wasn't. Someone was really there. Visible. Alive. Walking away from the garden and leaving the wrought-iron gate open, just as he had done ten or more times before in the past few days.
"Who the hell is it?" Bay asked, intrigued, nervous, and in a state of confusion. He flew to the kitchen's patio door, opened the screen, and shot outside, ready to confront the intruder.
The man next to the garden didn't hear him. If he had, he kept walking towards the narrow woods, heading in the direction of Henry Ni's residence.
"Hey!" Bay called out. "Who are you?"
The stranger turned his head in Bay's direction, but didn't stop walking. The two men made eye contact.
Bay thought, He's beautiful, gorgeous, Hollywood-perfect, and around my age.
"Hey, I want to talk to you!"
Bay quickly trotted down the three steps, in to the sloped backyard and rushed to the vegetable garden and its open gate.
The heat and humidity slugged him in the face and chest like a professional boxer. The atmosphere turned into a wall-like structure that Bay had walked directly into. Sunrays immediately baked his forehead, shoulders, and the backs of his arms. Heat flooded into his lungs and caused him to gasp for breath. Abruptly, he felt hit by the high temperature, unable to keep his balance, but managed. "You," he tried to call out to the interloper, but the word slipped out of his mouth as a whisper, or a faint whimper, nothing that could be deciphered.
Catching his breath, feeling as if he would pass out, he watched the handsome and tall man vanish into the woods between the two properties. Holding his chest, feeling the heat of the afternoon consume him from the inside out, Bay observed the stranger's departure: gliding into the woods, tight ass shifting left and right, slowly walking, nothing hurried.
"Hey," Bay whispered, caught up in the moment of heat, exhaustion, and anxiousness. Facing his dilemma, realizing that he only had that single moment in time to confront the stranger, he found the strength to cross the yard and head towards the woods, following the man in blue.
His pace quickened, matching the crescendo of his heart. Bay's legs lifted and fell, moving him forward. As the July heat felt as if it were berating and blinding him, frying him as if he were a piece of steak on the summertime grill, he continued his trot. Again, he tried to call out, "Hey," but failed miserably, realizing that the humidity thickened within his chest had started to drain him of his energy and will.
Unfortunately, following the man in blue hadn't paid off. Once inside the thicket of Pennsylvania woods, a collection of oak, maple, and birch trees, Bay didn't see the stranger. Feeling crazy, out of his head and distanced from his sanity, beyond the understanding of perplexed, he was quite shocked to see the empty woods, realizing that he was the only one present among the trees and their summertime leaves. Bay stood in the new shade and the splinters of bright-white light. He looked to his left, straight ahead, and then to his right. He saw no one, though. Nothing of the living. "I'm the only one here. What happened to him?" he asked himself, confused, spent, exhausted, and feeling weak in the knees. "He couldn't have just vanished. There's no way. I saw him with my own two eyes. He was real. He was here. I saw him."
After Bay continued to look to his left, straight ahead, behind him, and then to his right again, he noticed the two pieces of clothing at his feet: his sky blue T-shirt without the V-neck and his pair of Lucky Brand jeans. When he leaned over and picked the items up, he whispered to Mother Nature, or anyone/anything that would listen to him, "What the hell is going on? I saw him. He was here and wearing these clothes. My missing clothes. He was real. All real. I saw him. I swear I did."
Bay clung the material to his nose and inhaled: a man's sweat, dampness from fresh perspiration. "The man ... stranger ... whoever ... was wearing these. My clothes. They're mine."
After standing in the narrow woods for the next ten minutes, attempting to create the rushed event as real, or as real as he could possibly build it to be, he eventually gave up on the situation and the mysteriousness it had reluctantly offered him. Bay ended his search for the interloper, clutched his two pieces of clothing in his right hand, and worked his way to the saltbox. Confusion resided in his mind. Perplexities. Strangeness.
At his side, near his left earlobe, a firefly accompanied him. Bay was too confounded about the vanishing stranger to notice the insect, though, oblivious.