Word Count 493
Of Moths and Memories and Mother’s Eyelashes
By B.A Sarvey
“You should go,” Luna said. “Before the others are out of sight.”
The crystal-strewn net bobbed as the two moths launched. Instead of following the flock, however, they floated on the wind toward Luna. One perched on her left hand and gazed steadily at her. Luna nodded. “They ask permission to stay with us,” she said.
“Why?” blurted Guff. “The galumpshes pose no more danger.” The second moth flew towards him. He shuddered.
“We aided them. They want to reciprocate.”
“Reciprocate? How? Two green moths? Beautiful. Enormous. Still…”
“P…please, G…guff. Say yes.” Howard flapped his blushing wings. “Y…you will become ac…c…customed to them.”
“They don’t know where we are going,” Guff argued, as they detached the web from the trees.
“We f…followed L…luna without knowing where.”
Just then, Luna drew a ragged breath.
“What’s wrong?” yelped Guff.
“Nothing…just…a butterfly kiss. And a touch of homesickness.”
“When I was young, Mother would flutter her eyelashes against my cheek and tell me it was a butterfly kiss, keeping me safe. The moth just grazed its wing against my cheek, promising to look after us.”
“All right,” Guff said. “I know when I’m beaten. And where we’re headed.”
“You would do this for me? No. I cannot ask it. My village is too far. Besides, my clan abandoned me.”
Guff took her hand—the one without the moth—and said, “Isn’t it time you found out just what happened in that meadow?”
Luna returned his gaze, squeezed his hand. A nod set her hair dancing. “Yes. I have worried over that enough. And since we will be close by, we must visit your village, too, Guff.”
“The settlement where we met is not my village,” Guff said.
“But I thought…,” began Luna.
“I only told you I was a messenger. I did not say where I came from—it’s a long, complicated story.”
“Plenty of time for tales on the way to my village.” Freeing her hand, Luna twirled in place, her loden cloak and silver curls fanning out like a peacock tail. The moths released their spiny grips and hovered above. Luna stopped turning, picked a handful of yarrow, breathed deeply. Then, she began humming. Soon, her single note was joined by Howard’s flapping, moth wings beating, and Guff’s tenor. The wind stilled. The moon’s white glow was diffused and reflected by a passing cloud. When the moon re-emerged, the moths headed toward it. “This way,” Luna said, and they began walking.
The moon afforded ample light for their journey, illuminating the flying escort ahead, outlining every rock and root along the path. Guff’s tale spun itself like a moth’s cocoon, forming a tight bundle held tentatively to a branch, with a secret cradled deep within. Sometimes, he fell silent. Sometimes Luna or Howard picked up the story’s thread, wove it into their own.
“My existence mirrors yours,” he had begun. “I had a home. It abandoned me. But I discovered something better.”