Like a Moth to the Flame – short story

Sometimes it is simple things that spark the imagination. A friend’s dislike of moths and  tales of an unwelcome night time visitor are to blame – sorry, thank- for this tale.

Like a Moth to the Flame

Startled by the sudden loud music, she sat up, momentarily confused as to where she was. It was the theme tune to her favourite TV drama series that had wakened her. Another episode that she had slept through the last twenty minutes of. Oh well, there was always catch up TV – again! Stretching, she glanced at the clock. It was almost eleven and past her usual mid-week bedtime. Hitting the power button on the remote, she stumbled off to bed. For the past week she had not slept well and it was taking its toll on her. Dreams of being watched had broken her sleep every night and several times she had switched on the bedside lamp to check that she was still alone in the room. Nothing but shadows filled the room every time but still she couldn’t shake the feeling of being watched. At first, it had felt like someone was watching her through the window but that was impossible. She lived on the third floor and there was no balcony.

Her bedroom felt deliciously cool as a breeze wafted in through the open window, rattlling the blinds. Deciding to leave the window open, she climbed into bed and snuggled down into her soft white feather pillow, pulling the summer duvet up around her shoulders. Out of the corner of one sleepy eye she spotted something on the curtain. It was a large dark mottled moth. Quickly she switched off the bedside lamp before it decided to flutter around the room. If it stayed where it was, she could ignore it; if it started flying around, she would have to kill it. Despite her dislike of the creatures, she didn’t like killing anything. Gradually she was overcoming her fear of Lepidoptera which was just as well. The unwelcome visitor on the curtain was the third one she had seen in a week.

Without giving it another thought she drifted off to sleep.


Patiently the moth sat and watched her, just as it had done every night for the last seven days. Her familiar scent had attracted it in through the open window that first night. Hints of peppermint and honeysuckle mingled with wild rose. Tantalising. Gradually the sleeping beauty’s breathing even out and softened as she slipped into a deeper sleep. With a flick of its wings the moth was free of the curtain. With a second flick it materialised beside the bed in its preferred form. In an instant his senses heightened as his ears were filled with the rush of her blood pumping through her body; his nostrils flared at the metallic tang to her natural scent.

Could he? Should he?

Still admiring his blonde sleeping princess, he bit his lower lip hard, drawing a large bead of deep red blood. With his long pale index finger, he lifted the drop of blood and gently smeared it on her partially open lips. The tranquilising effect would buy him some precious thinking time, just as it had done twice before. Time to decide his next move once and for all.

By vampire standards he was young, barely a hundred years old. He had combed the world over the years searching for her and, finally, unexpectedly, he had found her. With a soft click he opened the case of his gold pocket watch and gazed upon the picture inside; a photograph he had treasured for a century. His only photograph of his young bride, needlessly killed by the vampire who had made him. In front of him now though lay an identical beauty. A live incarnation of his beloved Susannah.

All day he had followed her as she went about her daily routine. He had waited behind the gatepost of the building next to hers then walked silently behind her as she had gone into the café to pick up a coffee on her way to catch the bus to her place of work. It had been easy to hide on the bus among the other commuters and to mingle with the workers in her office. No one had challenged him as he had followed her into the office building. Erring on the side of caution he had only waited inside until she was seated at her desk before he slipped out unnoticed.

A rustling movement from the bed beside him brought him back to the here and now. Mumbling in her sleep, she had rolled over onto her other side, her long hair fanned out on the pillow behind her. An artery in her neck pulsed enticingly. The young vampire ran his hand almost nervously through his dark short spikey hair. It was now or never.

Silently he bent over the girl, bared his fangs and sank them swiftly into the ripe artery, drinking deeply.

A single drop of blood dripped onto the white pillow

Pale Oak Beauty Moth (Hypomecis punctinalis) male

credit to the owner of the photo – photo is tagged

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