At rest

Butterfly, 2016. Photograph by Tanya Clarke

Butterfly, 2016. Photograph by Tanya Clarke

Writing Prompt No. 88

Her hand snapped shut over the small moth.

I have it, she said, her wrinkled, gnarly fingers scaring the life out of the young child standing in front of her. The elderly woman picked up her lantern, opened its door and popped the moth inside. The insect glowed with dim light. The young child edged closer peering into the glass. The moth fluttered, its wings buzzing with fury. The young child reached out a finger. The gnarly hand shot out, fingers closing around the young hand.

It stays in there, she said.

The young child said nothing but her heart was beating hard in her chest as the moth’s wings buzzed against the glass. the elderly woman was turned away, eyes closed to the full moon.

With enormous care, the young child flicked the latch of the door of the lantern with her fingernail. The moth reached out its antennae into the cool night air. In two seconds it was gone.

The elderly woman opened her eyes with a start and turned to face the young child.

You will never know the harm you cause, she said. Whenever a butterfly flaps its wings…the elderly woman’s voice trailed away.

It was a moth, said the young child running away.

Three weeks later a huge storm formed from the east way out at sea. It gathered pace and form until it hit the shore. The damage it caused was huge but few lives were lost. Just two. An elderly woman and a young child.

Feeling brave? Want to share your own version? ‘Let it go’ in the comments below.