By Elizabeth Jackson
It’s soft fuzz, like the hair on a newborn baby, which coats the body. It’s Scales. Not fuzz, but scales.
That makes it infinitely worse.
Because they are still soft to the touch, like the cheerful peach-colored fuzz that babies have.
Only this fuzz is grey. Not a terrible grey like an impending storm, or Great Aunt Margaret’s hair. It’s a soft grey, like the moment just after twilight, when the magic has gone away, but something still lingers in the air.
I should feel bad for these little creatures. I should root for them – they really are the underdogs of the insect world. Overshadowed by their much prettier, more elegant sister. And I’ve always been a champion of the underdog.
But I can’t root for the underdog this time. I can’t be the champion of the creature – however benign it really is – that inspired an urban legend who signifies impending doom. That legend caused endless nights of terror as a child.
My mother once told me a story of how one summer of how those little grey creatures were so abundant they would cling to the patio door. In the dark of the night you could see thousands of tiny red eyes, calculating our demise.
I still wish to this day that she had never told me that.
And so now I am huddled under my blankets. The moth that slipped into my room from some open door beats itself against my makeshift blanket-bunker. It’s a desperate thump, thump. I know the thing is confused – wanting desperately to leave my room for the freedom of the outdoors.
It’s not terrorizing you, I try to tell myself. But that deep, illogical childhood terror still rages on in my chest. I fall asleep in that bunker, and the next morning my little bomber of a moth lies on the floor, finally still.