There used to be a man on my street who would make the most beautiful paper lanterns.
Everyone in town would go to buy them for the festival, and usually they were the last ones lit so that they could have the longest journey.
I used to think it was so pretty to seem them all dancing over the river, like fireflies dancing over the water.
It was my favorite part of the festival, until ten years ago when the whole thing became so horribly twisted.
It was nearly July, and everyone in town was looking for paper lanterns, the man must have been very busy,
but no one thought anything of it until the week before when three children disappeared. They had told their mother that they were coming to his house to buy lanterns but never came home.
The police came, but the children could not be found. It took no more than 24 hours before the parents rallied and stormed the old man's house looking for the children.
He claimed innocence, and repeatedly said he had no idea where the children were.
It made no difference to the families as they beat him senseless and ransacked his house looking for evidence.
They found none but in the process, they broke his fingers, leaving him unable to ply his craft.
The children were found the next morning, having decided to camp in the woods because of the heat.
They had apparently told their older brother but he had been absorbed in something and didn't hear. No apology was made to the man whose spirit was broken along with his hands.
He died a few days later of what the doctors claimed was a 'sudden arrhythmia'. But everyone knew his heart had been broken.
So when the festival came around the next year, it was quite a surprise to find paper lanterns on the porches of certain families.
No one asked where they came from, merely taking them to the festival and sending them on their way.
It didn't take long before people started noticing their children were falling ill and suddenly dying. It was assumed that there was a contagion going around but no doctor could figure it out.
A year later, the same thing happened. Another batch of lanterns, another group of dead kids until people stopped lighting the lanterns.
They still appeared on doorsteps, but now they lit themselves. The beautiful lanterns are now omens of death, each signaling that the children within the house will die.
It doesn't take all of them, just select ones, leaving the family terrified of who will be taken.
Our family never really believed the legend, until this morning, when a lantern appeared at my door.