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The Moth and The Man

He takes the glass globe and throws it out the window. The sound of shatter, more of a whisper than a scream, floats up from the street below. In the middle of the night a man wakes with a large moth resting on the tip of his nose. As he rustles out from sleep, the bug takes off and begins to slowly fly around him, its wings reflecting in the leak of moonlight spilling from the crack in the blinds. 

He sits up with eyes unfocused from exhaustion and an ache in his chest from sleeping bundled into himself. His hands swat around his face, attempting to shoo the bug away from his personal space but to no luck; the moth continuing its lazy circling, unbothered by the attempt. 

With heavy feet, the man stumbles over to the window and opens it. Allowing the night to flood into the room in hopes the moth will drift out, but once again, the bug refuses to move from the area around him, as if it were static electricity and his skin: the conductor. 

A low grumble swarms out from the man’s throat, his body yearning to climb back under the false warmth of his comforter but his head disregarding the idea until the space is insect free.  

He squints his eyes, preparing them for the harshness of  light that he has long gone without as he flicks on his bedside lamp. The room becomes bathed with its glow, bringing attention to the lack of care that has gone into keeping the space tidy and clean. But the moth’s attention still does not waver. The lamps attempt at flirting catching none of its usual admirers. 

The man now shaken from sleepiness and dressed up in annoyance, surveys the room for a magazine, a novel- anything with weight and comes across a snow globe squished behind a pile of old newspapers stacked so high that their shadow stood taller than his own. He wanders over and picks it up in his bandaged hands. The small figurines of a family standing beside a sign saying: San Diego Zoo, smile up at him.

The man grabs one of the newspapers from the pile and rolls it. His grip around it tight as he prepares to swing, waiting for the moth to come back into view but it doesn’t. He spins around, searching, and then spots the bug flying towards the open bedroom door. He follows it, each step calculated and slow, with the newspaper secured in his hand like a lifeline.

The moth leads him down the hallway, the tight space empty except for a wilting plant at the end of the hall with brown leaves resting around its base. The man kicks at them, scattering them further before looking up and realizing that the moth had stopped in front of him.

The bug was resting on the handle of a door left slightly open. Carved into the jamb were marks of growth, little ticks climbing the wood up until waist level. The man raises the paper with a trembling hand and brings  it down with all his force again and again until the newspaper is misshapen and bent and his breathing is rapid and uneven.  

He drops the paper and covers his face with both hands, their chill feeling nice against his flushed cheeks. Once the air returns to his lungs, he lowers them and begins to turn back around but then notices movement through the crack between the door and the frame.

The man throws the door open, the sound of it slamming against the wall echoing throughout, and surveys the space. His eyes frantically searching for the source but finds nothing. 

He stands in the middle of the room, his heart banging away at his chest as he takes in the blue of the walls around him that were graced with picture frames but ridden with dust. Faces upon faces smile at him from below their protective glass panes. He turns his back to them.

There, in the corner of the room, a moth faces him. Perched on the top of a rocking chair, the grey of its body sits teasingly on the white of the wood below it. The man stiffens, his heart no longer a heavy knock but a barely-there murmur, and doesn’t move.

But then just as he was about to lurch forward, the moth disappears. Leaving the man alone in the room with nothing but the ghosts of memory to keep him company.



Montana Leigh Jackson is a student in Montreal, Quebec. Her work has been featured in semicolon lit, Ghost City Review, perhappened, ENTROPY, & others. She finds peace amongst words and within thunderstorms. Find her on twitter: @montanaLjackson or at montanaleighjackson.com

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