The Moth Incident
by Beth A. Ostrander
When people saw them together, they always uttered the same things, “She's so lucky to have him. She doesn't even have to work.” She knew people said these things, saw her social phobias as a way to be standoffish, an excuse, but she didn't care.
At home, she hurried to serve him, iron his shirts, make the house immaculate for his arrival, and cook meals only he would enjoy and if he didn't, she would cry silently while doing the dishes. Crisp linens, a clean bed, even fluffed pillows.
Yet, daily she kept a small secret. When she dusted, a dead moth sat on the windowsill in the kitchen and almost subconsciously, she left it there. A year passed and one day while he corrected her for not contributing to the household enough, he mentioned the moth. In this shiny, clean, well-run house, the moth was what he had noticed most.
All the pressure, the fake smiles; the part of her brain that kept her in check snapped. As he turned to go into his television room with a bottle of his expensive beer, she held the heavy cast iron skillet in her hand and knew on contact she had killed him. Pure adrenalin helped her move his body to the backyard by the line of the forest. When the first bird landed and began pecking at his bloody head, she said quietly, “Take it all...until there's nothing left.”