He was sick.
So sick, he couldn't remember who he was or how he came here.
Where was he?
Then she came, the lady in white, with bright red lips.
She told him stories to keep the pain away.
Was she trying to tell him something?
And why do dead children play such a big part in so many of these stories...?
Esther and her father have exchanged houses with an old farmer to escape the city after her parents' divorce.
The first night her room is filled with moths after she leaves her window open. The nights after she dreams of them...
One late afternoon when she's exploring the long backyard, she unknowingly crosses over onto a graveyard.
As she's studying the graves, an old man appears and asks her what she's doing there.
He tells her it is a cemetery, not a graveyard.
There's no church here and even when you walk on your toes you disturb the Blackwings' sleep.
Nobody ever wonders where they are until dusk...
When he sees Esther's confused he shows her a seemingly black tombstone.
He instructs her to shine a flashlight on the stone, not him.
The tombstone comes to live; it is covered in black moths.
The old man tells her they search for the restless dead.
An uneasy Esther leaves for home.
The next day she goes back and finds that the tombstone (of a certain Helena Huizer † 15 May 1996) is blackened by fire, as is the grass around it.
She finds the old man, even paler than the day before and with a look of deadly fear in his eyes.
When she asks if he burned the moths, he says that they're not as harmless as they look.
They'll burn in the light of day, yet they are attracted to it.
And so they search for the one light that won't burn them...
Esther heads home again but is stopped by a man in blue overalls.
He also asks her what she's doing there and whether she knows something about a fire.
When she explains that she saw the old man, the caretaker, with a bottle of flammable liquid, he tells her there is no such person at the cemetery and advises her not to come anymore.
Even so, Esther goes back when it's dark with a camera to show the man that the 'caretaker' is real.
She finds the old man kneeling and praying in front of a tombstone.
When she sneaks closer she hears him talking to Helena, that he can't come yet, that he doesn't want to come yet but they're looking for him.
As he speaks the tombstone starts to move but before the moths can do anything he lights them on fire.
He sees Esther. He tells her Helena is his late wife.
When he steps forward Esther thinks he wants to hurt her and presses the flash button on her camera, bathing the man in light for only a second.
While he falls to his knees the moths rise up from the tombstone and Esther accidentally presses the button again.
The moths plunge themselves at the man and cover him.
Through the turmoil he shouts at her, cursing her for revealing him to the moths with her artificial light, saying that they'll find her life light and suck it up when it's her time.
As the moths consume his soul Esther drops her camera and rushes home.
A few days after her father brings a policeman home who tells them a strange story.
They found the old farmer dead and covered in moths in his flat after neighbours complained of a foul smell.
The moths weren't even the biggest mystery; the autopsy revealed the gentleman had approximately been dead since 15 May.
Achter donkere ramen
Bies van Ede