I is for Insect Intrigue

Day 9 of the challenge!

My theme is NIFTY NUGGETS. Little nuggets of writing based on a photo, a phrase and an object, which is designed to encourage lean, tight writing. I’m aiming for a word count of under 300 words.

Thank you to L.Diane Wolfe for providing the beautiful photo prompts.  You can visit her blog to check out more pictures.



PHRASE – the road winds on and on

OBJECT – pamphlet

It’s just one month from today when I will leave…

My bags are packed.

The house closed up.

I will be flying London-Paris-Switzerland.

On the move.

Travelling from place to place.


I live what others call an OCD-styled existence. It never ends and it’s sucking my life force.

Like a moth to a flame, I am drawn to the concept of a perfect being… in body, mind and soul. I cannot resist the search for this ever-elusive perfection.

My search has taken me to all parts of the globe and include cutting edge anti-aging skin rejuvenation treatments and advanced techniques in transcendental meditation.

I have ten days of exploration, before the newest craze begins, a One Month Body Harmony Retreat at a prestigious Swiss establishment.

At the travel agency, I pick up a batch of pamphlets offering accommodation at lower prices.

One particular illustration catches my attention. The Painted Moth Bed & Breakfast, a calm oasis nestling in the heart of the city. It’s a sign. The logo boasts a beautiful pink and yellow moth, in calm repose. Tears well up in my eyes.

Lord knows I need calmness. A time of rest.

A time to reflect on my future plans, and where all this madness will end.

I study the beautiful moth and I can see my mother in the lab with her precious butterflies. Her voice rings in my ears.

They are so perfect, aren’t they?
You need to live. Spread your wings and take to the sky. Don’t hold back. Take risks: if you win, you will be happy; if you lose, you will be wise.

Well, to be honest. I didn’t feel very happy or very wise. I just felt very, very tired.

Knowing her passion, my lifestyle would be measured in terms of the butterfly lifecycle… my current flashy speed contrasting with the feeble fluttering of a near-death specimen.

A smile tugs at the corners of my mouth.

I’m too young for “feeble fluttering”.

I need to live life. Full speed ahead.

Childhood curiosity and my mother’s clinical tone play along the edges of my mind…

You need to be aware that a moth constantly flutters from pillar to post. The inevitable collision with branches results in jagged scars and frayed wing tips.

I had already earned my fair share of scars and am convinced that my ‘wing tips’ are seriously damaged, irreparably, if I’m not too careful.

A childhood memory flashes through my mind. I’m in the lab, holding a moth’s wing. Mummy why is this powdery color coming off on my fingers.
It’s a sign of the impermanence of life. In time, all things fade away…
What’s impernamence, mummy?
It’s im-per-ma-nence.

I look at the perfect painted moth.

A sob catches in my throat.

Thank you for the reminder, mother.


  1. Alex J. Cavanaugh on April 11, 2015 at 10:06 pm

    I’m not sure she will ever find what she seeks and she will fade away.

    • Michelle Wallace on April 13, 2015 at 9:03 am

      Exactly! She needs to concentrate on the inner self…

  2. Morton Thornton on April 12, 2015 at 2:48 am

    powerful one.

  3. Hilary on April 12, 2015 at 7:32 am

    Hi Michelle – what a great story .. fascinating to think about how she might metamorphose once again, get a new start through her youngsters, always recreating … yet her life is running its time, she needs to regroup and reset her energy buttons so London, Paris, Switzerland can each add their magic and their country’s soul to hers .. to allow her to expand her wings … she needs to settle to recover, to meditate … to win and be happy, to lose but become wise and spurred on to pick yourself up and start again … experiencing life as it rushes past us.

    Wonderful .. cheers Hilary

  4. Rosie Amber on April 12, 2015 at 7:48 am

    Sorry I’m a bit slow today I couldn’t work out the picture to start with. Enjoyed the tale though.

    • Michelle Wallace on April 13, 2015 at 9:05 am

      I’m also slow… every day… *sigh*
      Thanks for the ongoing support, Rosie!

  5. Celine Jeanjean on April 12, 2015 at 11:32 am

    I really liked this – there’s a sadness to this story because I don’t think she’ll ever find what she is looking for.

    • Michelle Wallace on April 13, 2015 at 9:05 am

      She’s looking for the wrong things in the wrong places…

  6. Alex Hurst on April 12, 2015 at 1:39 pm

    This reminds me of the song from Oysterband, “Milford Haven.” https://ouvirmusica.com.br/oysterband/milford-haven/

    • Michelle Wallace on April 13, 2015 at 9:07 am

      I’ll check it out when I get a chance.
      Thanks Alex!

  7. Shelly on April 12, 2015 at 3:56 pm

    I need to spread my wings and travel myself. Loved it! Love Diane’s pic of the moth!-

    Hugs and chocolate!

  8. Susan Gourley on April 12, 2015 at 5:14 pm

    Sounds like she’s searching for something out of reach or she doesn’t know what she wants.

  9. Trisha on April 13, 2015 at 3:01 am

    Moths and butterflies are such amazing creatures – very fleeting and fragile, but so stunning with their physical intricacies.

  10. Shannon Lawrence on April 13, 2015 at 5:00 am

    This one was touching. Butterflies are so delicate, but so is all life.

    • Michelle Wallace on April 13, 2015 at 9:09 am

      Delicacy of life sums it up nicely!
      Thanks Shannon.

  11. Sara C. Snider on April 13, 2015 at 5:01 am

    A sad yet poignant story–the importance of finding peace from within, because it’s not going to be found without.

  12. Julie K Pick on April 13, 2015 at 5:55 am

    Sounds like this sad character will always be searching for the acceptance that she never received from her mother. Beautifully written, Michelle!

  13. Chicky on April 13, 2015 at 6:34 am

    True. Peace and contentment is not out there somewhere. It is within us. I hope she finds the calmness she seeks before she burns out.
    A to Z Participant

    • Michelle Wallace on April 13, 2015 at 9:10 am

      She’s definitely on the road to a “burn out”…

  14. Julie Flanders on April 13, 2015 at 1:20 pm

    This is such a sad piece. I really felt for this woman. 🙁
    The picture is awesome and creepy at the same time. I love the colors but I am freaked out by insects so I kind of got the creeps too LOL.

  15. Shalijay on April 13, 2015 at 1:55 pm

    Beautifully written. You have a wonderful way with words and I just love how you have woven such brilliant thoughts around the picture you have chosen.
    Have fun with the rest of A-Z 🙂

    • Michelle Wallace on April 13, 2015 at 2:05 pm

      I truly appreciate your wonderful comment! 🙂
      Thank you! 😀

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