Friday Fiction – Like a Moth to a Flame

A continuation of sorts from last week, same character, but many years later

They always said she had the worst taste in men, she was like a Moth to a Flame for the bad boys. She had always managed to get herself out of too much trouble, until now. Now, they were suddenly flocking to her, swarmed by so many bad boys and men, she didn’t know where to start, or finish.

“Oh you’re so lucky,” some said to her, “you could take the pick of any of them.” How little they knew her, really knew her. With the secret, she kept locked in her heart.

moth to a flame

She sits quietly listening to the patter of rain on the tin roof, her small cottage deep in the woods. She can breathe here, the fresh smells of the woods all around her, the glistening of dew drops on the leaves and branches, the earthy smells of the pathways after the rain. The warmth of the fireplace lightly caresses her face, warms her hands and feet after collecting more wood from out in the cold. The smell of oatmeal cooking above the coals smells of home, as does the tea steeping on the hearth. It’s quiet here and no-one comes, why would they; she lives too far away from town.

A coal cracks and pops in the fire and makes her jump, she silently smiles at her own nerves, nobody is out there, there is no-one looking for her; not now, she made sure of that. She steals a glance out the window, in the distance far further afield than she can actually see, there is a silent, cold, unmarked grave for the man who hurt her. That was a tale long ago when she still held her children below her heart, she fled for their life, she thought she was safe then, but he came. In the middle of the night, he burst into the room of her hidden safe haven, he advanced on her in a murderous rage. Even now she can still feel his hot, foul breath on her, feel the room close in and her pulse race, her heart beating in her throat, the same throat he wrapped his hands around, squeezing, the hackles and hairs rising on her neck and arms…

…She reached for the kitchen counter behind her to steady herself, while he screamed incoherent obscenities in her face, her fingers felt something cold and hard, her initial reaction was to flinch from that too, but her finger inched closer to the cold steel. As his fingers squeezed tighter around her neck, she felt like she was leaving her body, she could almost see the room from above, as if through a haze of fog. She watched as her own eyes looked up at her, cold and calculating, she saw herself nod knowingly and she watched as her own fingers closed around the knife on the counter. She lifted the knife and plunged it into his side. He groaned and tried to stand up straight, his legs no longer seemed to work. He looked up at her in sheer disbelief and as he tried to speak, little bubbles of blood splattered his lips. He slid to the floor, fingers raking down her body as he did, she coldly pushed his hands away, like the discarded filth that he was. He lay there on the floor at her feet, small twitches and moans, little flecks and bubbles of blood dribbling from his mouth, his eyes staring at her in shock. She surveyed the scene from above and then she slowly felt pulled back to within her own body, she slowly tried to catch her breath, long ragged gasps, that hurt with each inhale, as she coldly watched the life force slowly dim in his eyes. The knife still felt icy and hard in her hand, but the blood dripping from it was still warm and sticky, pooling at her feet. A breath caught in her throat, she gasped and dropped the knife to clatter loudly on the floor, then it was all silent, so silent, she could hear her pulse and heartbeat in her ears, but outside there was no sound, no one was coming to save her, or see what had happened. She could not even hear the wind or noise from the streets around her. Slowly she gathered her wits and set about cleaning up, it amused her in an odd way how little blood there was, almost like he was running on empty. Cool and calm were her actions now, as she carefully wrapped him in garbage bags from under the counter, no sense spreading the blood through the apartment. The hardest part was getting his body out to the car…

…Her reverie was broken by small sounds in the corner; her love, her light, her reason for being, yawned and made small noises as they woke. Twins, a boy, and a girl, still so small. After she fled the horror that had befallen her and struggled to hide the heinous crime she had committed, she fled and found refuge in this shack in the woods. The twins were born early, but strong, they had battled to stay alive, as she had battled to keep them safe. Now as five-year-olds they were quiet, but curious of the world around them, she never let them venture far and homeschooled them for fear of the world knowing of their existence. That was a constant fear, of the outside world knowing about them. She mostly grew all her own fruit and vegetables in the nearby kitchen garden and she bought staples in town when she went on her rare visits.

There was only one who knew the truth, the whole story and where she and the twins could be found. This woman was a survivor too, older and more emotionally scarred, she lost everything and now she was a surrogate Mother of sorts, even to the point of requesting she be called Momma. She visited infrequently, preferring to remain on the move, but Momma always arrived to watch the twins, for her, so she could go on her monthly trips into town. Her trips to town, her vigilante crusades was a more apt name.

She had become a vigilante, a saviour for women who needed saving, that could not, or would not save themselves. She found them by listening to the whispers in the nearby towns. They way they must have whispered about her. The evil men, the miscreants, subhumans who beat their wives and girlfriends. To some in town, she was merely the tramp, the whore who stole men; once she was done, many never returned. Most were run out of town, some apparently took their own lives, after a suddenly discovering their own guilt. Others simply vanished.

~ Julz

Want to read last week’s story? Check it out here