20% A Small World / Chapter 2: Stampede

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Chapter 2: Stampede

Two days, for two days I trekked across the seemingly endless expanse of green, I was exhausted. I could've been certain that if I saw another green stalk I'd explode. I had yet to come across a single ant or even any other kind of insect. But that was impossible, there are billions even trillions of insects in this world, right? I lay in the coarse dirt inhaling the smell of fresh cut grass. The sun had beaten out every drop of moisture left in that soil, and for the first time I became aware of the intense burning of my stomach and felt the dryness of my throat.

Nearby there was a rustling. I watched intently as the grass parted, blade by blade. It was something big. The first thing that was revealed was its large horn. This was followed by it hulking body covered in thick blue armour. It was a rhinoceros beetle. I began to run hard; but not away from it, towards it. I leaped into the air almost flying and landed straight onto its back. The beetle screamed loudly, slightly confused as to its situation, it raised its hard shell to reveal its wings. It beat them furiously rising into the air, I slid forward almost dropping off its head but I used my powerful mandibles too dig into its head, also using my stinger as an anchor, keeping my grip. The acid from my sting was much more powerful than before actually corroding through the beetle's armour. Smoke arose from the wound blurring my vision somewhat. The beetle now panicking began to crash wildly through the grass trying to shake me off. But I held on. So long that the beetle grew tired eventually resettling on the soil, seemingly too tired to move. I jumped off. Bad choice. The beetle charged at me bringing its deadly horn down on me. I raised my two front legs trying to defend myself. I couldn't believe my sheer strength as I easily caught the heavy blow. The beetle tried to pull away but I was too strong for him. I dragged him along managing to flip him over pouncing on his much softer belly and ripping his flesh left and right. Soon it was over. I ate and rested.

Later I awoke to a horrible thunderous sound. The ground shook causing me to bounce up and down. I tried to stand still long enough to find the source, what I saw filled me with horror. Coming towards me was a group of small human children running wildly and making tons of noise. I tried to get out of the way but where they were running was unpredictable. Soon there were huge feet were all around me, flattening the grass and sending a spray of dirt and rocks flying every which way. I thought I was going to die before I even fulfilled my goal. A loose shoelace swung straight at me and I felt the leg of another insect latch onto me.

I looked up to see a black ant. As I looked up into the antennae-less ant's face I wondered why a black ant would save me, a red ant. The two ants are bitter enemies and Red ants have wiped out many black ant colonies even taking them as slaves, yet the ant held onto me tightly as we swung to and fro from the stampeding child's laces. When we were finally able to dismount, he silently walked away, beckoning for me to follow. Curious I followed behind him until finally spoke up unable to wait any longer.

"Ok just a few questions, "I began," Who are you, why did you rescue me and where are we going?"

He remained silent but looking at me he grinned and pointed to a large mound of dirt. It was his colony. As he approached I noticed some strange sights. Red and Black ants were working together, bringing in food, going out to scout. There were even mixes of red and black soldier ants patrolling. He led me straight into the colony, leading me down the winding passages into a large room where the obvious queen of this colony sat. She was a half breed, half red and half black, and almost three times my size. She had large beautiful wings and though she seemed so regal she spoke humbly.

"Who have you brought now my most trusted scout?" She asked. The ant made strange gestures to the queen half acting as to what happened. It was clear to me that he was dumb.

"Ah, I see," She said," Show him to the resting rooms." then she smiled at me "And I welcome you," she said to me.

"I'll be looking forward to getting to know you better later but for now you must rest"

After the scout left me to rest in a room all to myself. I began to think. They lived such a peaceful life. They seemed to have experienced no tragedies, they were too happy, I was jealous. I didn't want to be part of another colony, not like this. I was already sick of this place. If I couldn't be happy yet they couldn't either, in order to recreate my own world I will have to destroy this one.

Maybe it was that darkness telling me to do it, or maybe I've always been this kind of ant. For the glory of the colony, ha! For the glory of me. I purposed to destroy this place. Being a mixed colony it should be easy to break their trust. But for now, I must rest.


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