Confession: this drabble is about me.
I’m terrified of moths. If you tell a child that moths eat people and you act convincingly enough, they’ll believe it. When they grow out of an age that might believe moths eat people, if you’ve done a good job, the fear will still linger. It doesn’t matter if they know that moths are relatively harmless creatures; just the sight of one flapping up against the glass at night will turn them into a shuddering mess.
If a moth gets into my car, I scream. If a moth lands on me, I’ll have a meltdown. Did you know that the powdery stuff on their wings is actually tiny hairs? Did you know that me knowing that fact comforts me not at all?
They’re furry and powdery and flap their wings too much. It really doesn’t matter if they don’t eat people at this point.
Anyway, here’s a drabble.
(Noun: from Old English moððe for “moth” and Grek phóbos for “fear.”)
Fear of moths.
She’s 26. She gets it. Moths don’t eat people.
But when she thinks about it, she’s not quite sure what they do eat. Clothes, apparently. Nectar, maybe. But she thinks about the way they beat their powdery wings against the door, the little piff, piff, piff of their bodies thumping endlessly against the glass until they concuss themselves or fly away into the night.
She thinks of skull faces drawn in tiny scales, of owl-like eyes staring into the night. Of names like death’s-head and white witch.
It’s a fear she’s not willing to let go of yet.