's 2014 Horror Write-off:

" The Moth of Ice "

Submitted by Nicolai Řstergaard

I love bugs. I always have. Those teeny tiny things with glittering wings and colourful bodies. This in turn makes me love summer, for that is when all the dragonflies, bees and other pretty things comes out to play, and I get to sit outside and watch them.

One summer noon, something caught my eye. Like a crystalline leaf this tiny creature floated on the air, its body glittering like a jewel in the sunlight. It was unlike anything I had ever seen, I instinctively reached out, letting it land on my hand so I could study it further. It was like a snowflake landing upon my exposed skin, but it wasn’t really uncomfortable. Rather it was refreshing, a nice distraction from the cruel summer heat.

I let it snuggle up on the palm of my hand. The urge to protect and take care of this frail creature came over me. I carefully covered it with my other hand, figuring the sun wouldn’t be good for it. I tip toed back home, my new prize kept safe in my hands on the journey.

I found a small place for it to rest in the shade, on the table beside me. I hastily fetched my laptop, fearing this beautiful specimen would flutter away the moments I took my eyes off it. I sent it loving glances between my fervent browsing. Someone ought to know how to feed, treat and take care of this little guy. Comparing information the creature would definitely classify as a Lepidoptera, but the almost translucent colouration and unnatural chill only served to complicate this process.

So taken in by this process, this need to figure out how to provide, I failed to notice the front door being opened and then closed. My flatmate even called out in greeting. Perhaps it was an Urola Nivalis? But it was much puffier than those. A Hyphantria Cunea seemed to be a close match, but their lacking nativity to this region sort of ruled those out, and them migrating all the way from the states would be unlikely.


I was immediately brought from my stupor and looked with horror at my flatmate. He was leant over the table, his hand pressed against the surface next to my pc. “Don’t worry, I got it!” he said nonchalantly. “It was probably poisonous anyway.” He lifts his hand from the table, the crackle of broken glass sounding beneath his hand.

The moth lay broken on the table, shattered into tiny shard-like pieces. Like a fine white dust upon the table, the powdery surface only broken by the occasional larger piece of chitin. “Oh dude, come on! It’s a bug, they’re disgusting!”

A large drop of blood landed on the table with a distinctive plop in this otherwise silent moment. Then came another, and yet another. He turns his hand, revealing the torn surface of his skin, covered in tiny glittering malign shards, all of them imbedded deeply into his lacerated flesh.“Shit, shit, shit, SHIT!” he frantically claws and digs at his hand trying to pry all the icy razors free. I immediately ran to fetch some bandages, dialing 911 on the way to our first aid kit. I tried to explain the situation the best I could, and was assured some paramedics would be just around the corner. So we sat down, and tried to remedy his hand to the best of my abilities. Using pliers to fish for the elusive shards as they fled deeper into his flesh. In the end I called it a good enough job and bandaged him up.

By the time the paramedics arrived the bleeding had stopped, but my flatmate was pale and barely conscious. His arm looked almost withered at this point. I was probed with questions while he was readied and loaded into the ambulance. If he had been submerged in cold water for an extended period of time? No, it’s the middle of the summer for god’s sake.

I was brought with them in the ambulance, his arm worsening by the minute. He was wrapped in thermo foil in an attempt to combat what the paramedics descripted as vicious hypothermia. With the pressure taken off me, I drifted away to thoughts of that mysterious alluring moth, how pretty it had looked, like a glass bauble of the finest craftsmanship.

The paramedic seized my arm and gave me a stern look. “We fear the situation will escalate rapidly unless we do something now. We can’t get a response out of him, but you know him right?” We had lived together for a few years now, our relationship even predating our moving in. Of course I knew him.

“We need to perform an amputation, as soon as possible, to stop the spread of this condition…. Would he be okay with it?” Mirages of my icy mistress cluttered my mind, and I simply nodded.

He had squashed his last bug.