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Abbie woke up to the same nightmare she had been having for weeks, bugs in her face, in her mouth, their wings suffocating her. She rubbed her neck trying to erase the memory of choking. When her anxiety lessened she got out of bed and got dressed. Her therapist had told her it was stress. David and her had been talking about divorce for months now. He wanted her to try marriage counseling but she didn’t want to. When she was truly honest with herself it was because she wanted the divorce. She hadn’t even told that to her counselor yet. Abbie checked on the baby who was still sleeping soundly in her crib. She was grateful for that. What she needed was some hot tea to start the day. Motherhood was overwhelming at times, something David didn’t understand. After getting her tea, Abbie took out her phone and sat at the kitchen counter a pen and paper in front of her. It was time to call a lawyer. She had gotten the name of a good lawyer from a co-worker that had been through an ugly divorce last year. Abbie called the number and waited on hold for several minutes before speaking to the lawyer. They spoke for about 45 minutes so Abbie was glad that the initial few visits were free. If only divorces were totally free. Of course, then there probably wouldn’t be very many married people she thought solemnly. When Abbie began to reread the information she had jotted down while on the phone with the lawyer, her hands started to shake. The little doodles over the page were all the same thing, little Moths. Tearing the paper into a bunch of little pieces didn’t make her feel any better. She threw them in the garbage just as Mara woke crying. Abbie took Mara out of her crib, changed her and got her dressed for the day. The baby wanted to walk so she held her chubby little hand and walked her to the rocking chair in the living room. She placed Mara on her little play mat and then went to the kitchen and got her a sippy cup. David never understood that her entire being was wrapped around caring for this child. It wasn’t that she didn’t love her, she loved Mara with her entire being. It was just that her entire being felt empty right now, unless it was full of Moths. The creepy little thought came to her mind and the memory of the little things flying into her throat and choking her felt real. Tears streamed down Abbie’s face and when she sat on the floor with Mara, the baby touched the tears with a loud “MaMa.” That only made Abbie weep more. David repeatedly accused her of not loving either of them. He said she had changed after the baby and that it seemed obvious now that she didn’t want to be a Mother or a wife. Was he right? Abbie looked at the chubby little 14-month-old baby and her heart swelled with joy. She was beautiful, a combination of both her mouth and David’s eyes. Mara was smart like her dad too and ahead of her age group according to her pediatrician. Abbie liked being a mom, she just didn’t like feeling like there was nothing else to her any more. Abbie kissed the little girl’s cheek and jumped up from the floor wiping her tears away. “Mara want some breakfast?” The baby didn’t answer just stood and walked a few feet and then fell, then repeated that process. Mara decided at this point her little play house looked fun and began playing with the buttons on the toy. Abbie went to the kitchen and made some scrambled eggs and oatmeal. When she was done she grabbed Mara and put her in the high chair. She put some cheerios on the little table and let her try to eat some on her own in between spoonsful of egg or oatmeal. Mara began to cough while Abbie was spooning the food in her little mouth and Abbie screamed in terror when little moths started crawling out of the baby’s mouth. Abbie tried wiping the moths away but when she looked at her hands there was only oatmeal and egg goo there. That was it. Abbie felt she had finally lost her mind. What was happening to her? Abbie grabbed her phone and texted her therapist. The therapist didn’t immediately text back and during her wait, Abbie tried to distract herself by writing down some of the things the lawyer spoke to her about. The ding of her phone made her jump. Abbie tucked the lawyer’s information into the back of her pile of mail so David wouldn’t see it. The therapist had texted back that what Abbie needed was some time away from the baby. It was normal to feel overwhelmed. The counselor also texted that it may be time to talk to her doctor about postpartum depression and medication. Abbie was appalled when the counselor asked if she had any thoughts about hurting herself or Mara and Abbie vehemently answered No. She didn’t tell the therapist she had thoughts of Moths hurting her and Mara. Not today, maybe at the in person visit scheduled next week. Abbie cleaned Mara’s face who was oblivious to the thoughts going through her mom’s head. Abbie was grateful her daughter didn’t know that her mom was crazy right now. The rest of the day was uneventful until David came home. Abbie broached the conversation at dinner about David taking the day off and spending it with Mara so Abbie could have a day to herself. David, as usual turned the request into a fight. He wanted to take the day off to spend with her AND Mara. Really it was a sweet request. She knew she should be happy that her husband wanted to spend the day with “his two girls.” Instead the thought gave her more anxiety. Abbie tried to explain that she just wanted some time to replenish herself, maybe do a spin class or a Zumba class and then some shopping. David had a hard time understanding and didn’t make it easy for Abbie to make the request again but she did and David reluctantly agreed. He would take off Friday and Abbie could have the day to herself. If she thought planning a day to herself would help her sleep better, she was wrong. She woke up every night with the same dream. The worst one was when her mouth opened and only one small moth flew out but it grew and grew and grew, until the moth was the size of a man, shades of black and grey. The black wings big enough to wrap around and swallow her. The thing had big red eyes and no mouth but it still left a whisper in her mind. “Stayyyyyyyyy.” She woke screaming when the mothlike creature spoke to her. When David tried to comfort her, she pushed him away afraid if she told him what she saw and heard, he would think even worse of her then he did now. David muttered something about Abbie keeping things from him before rolling away from her and going back to sleep. She didn’t sleep well the rest of the week. When Abbie woke Friday morning it was rainy, cold and ugly which made her want to stay in bed. Still Abbie forced herself to get ready to go out for the day. She didn’t want to annoy David by asking him to take another day off work. Tea definitely helped and admittedly she was a little excited to be able to do whatever she wanted today without baby bags, bottles and snacks. Well maybe snacks she would take and the little thought actually made her smile. Abbie packed a bag for the day. Well, she probably overpacked. She took several outfits and shoes including work out attire because she wasn’t sure what she was going to do for the day. She also stuffed some granola bars and bottled water in the bag as well. David made a snide remark about her bag saying she looked like she was leaving for the entire weekend and not just the day. Abbie did her best to ignore him and kissed him on the cheek before grabbing her keys and heading to the door. David stopped her before she left telling her sweetly that she deserved the day, to have fun and enjoy herself. He apologized for being such an ass and said they could take some time this weekend to talk about what she needed from him. She didn’t say anything to David’s remarks afraid she would burst into tears if she did. She would tell him later how much his words meant to her. She asked David to kiss Mara for her and then headed out into the gloomy day. Abbie threw her bag into the back and strapped herself into the car. She did a double take in the rearview mirror thinking she saw a shadowy winged figure in the backseat but of course there was nothing there. Maybe some exercise would clear her mind. She decided she would head to the gym across town, get a good work out in, then make plans for the rest of her day. The car hydroplaned once as she was driving down her street so Abbie made it a point to drive more slowly. The fog was thick and it was difficult to see much in front of her anyway. Once she got on the highway she felt much better. She turned on some music from her phone then reached for her tea. When she looked back at the road, she was shocked to see the back end of a semi-truck immediately in front of her. Abbie yanked the steering wheel to the right and felt the car hydroplane and then hit something. Then everything went into slow motion. She felt the car begin falling, falling, falling, before a loud smack as it hit, what? Abbie couldn’t see anything because of the fog. Then she realized too late her car had fallen into the river. Cold water began to fill the car as it started sinking into the dark water. Abbie too stunned from the impact felt the car and herself floating and noted the sound of water rushing in to surround her. She tried unhooking her seatbelt but her head felt funny and she was too cold for her hands to work properly. Her last thought as the cold water overwhelmed her and filled her throat and lungs was that it felt exactly like the Moths in her dreams, only this time she didn't wake.

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