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Army of Ants

Fight them or Join them

By Rick PensionPublished 2 years ago Updated 11 months ago 25 min read
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It was summer again. Barry didn't hate the summer because of the heat, he didn't particularly enjoy how hot it would get, it wasn't what bothered him the most. It was the bugs. Summer brought out the worst bugs and insects. Anything from ants to cockroaches to an infestation of flies. Barry wasn't afraid of these insects and bugs, but he truly hated the pests because he had to deal with them. They were gross and carried plenty of diseases.

Barry did prepare, as little as it was. He bought some bug traps, lures, and was being extra attentive in keeping certain areas of the house clean to avoid unwanted visitors. These traps were put away until they were needed however. Barry's wife Debra hated the bugs as well, but not to the degree Barry did. She never had to deal with them, because her husband would take care of it. So she kept out of that department of house maintenance.

It was an unnaturally warm summer night and a few scout ants scurried their way through cracks and passage ways that led to the inside of Barry's house. Barry missed one piece of food, hidden under their counter, and the ants found it. Before long, there was a line. That was not it, unfortunately, as the ants continued their search and found the pantry.

Barry woke up, and still half asleep, walked to the kitchen to start a pot of coffee. He took two steps into the kitchen and what began as a growl grew into a fearsome scream of anger. Debra jumped out of their bed and ran to the kitchen to see why Barry had screamed. Ants filled the whole kitchen. It was worse than he could have ever imagined. Barry, seething with pure hatred and anger, stomped to his shoes, put them on, and angrily walked back. He brought his feet up and stomped on a line of ants. Then another and another. The ants began to scatter, but Barry wouldn't let that happen. He grabbed a near by can of chemical cleaning spray and sprayed the cleaning material across his kitchen floor, counter and cabinets. Ants died on impact by the liquid poison. Some floated in it, others stuck vertically to the cabinets, crippled as if their bodies were about to invert itself.

Barry grabbed a paper towel and began wiping away all the corpses, using 2 to 3 towels per hundred ants. After about ten minutes, he cleaned up his kitchen. It took thirty minutes for him to clean out his pantry, throwing away tainted food, and cleaning more ants. Once his kitchen was cleaned, he began setting traps in every possible pathway they could take. Small plastic capsules that were designed to lure the ants. The ants would take the poison in the capsule to their queen and the queen ant would die, causing the rest of the ants to die off soon after.

"I guess I'll start making a list of the groceries we need to replace now." Debra said exasperated from watching her husband obsess over the inconvenient insects all morning.

Barry went through his day frustrated, but by the end of the day, he was feeling confident that his traps for the ants would succeed.

Barry was wrong. Another morning of aggressive cursing and agonizing cleaning. The ants hardly even touched the traps. He left the traps there, adjusting only a couple, in hopes they would work the next invasion. The vulgarities that Barry yelled at the ants were enough to make his wife cringe.

"They're just ants. They can't understand you, there's no reason to yell at them." Debra tried to calm Barry, but it only caused Barry to start up a rant.

"It does in fact help! As I spray, scrub, and wipe these ridiculous pests, I'm reminded that not only do we need more groceries because they ate them all, yet again, I have to continue the rest of my day in with this irate feeling I'm forced to endure due to these minuscule vermin! Nothing that small and useless should cause this much frustration! What are even the point of ants? What do they do, other than set us back on money and food for a week?!" Barry was panting by the end of his rant, feeling like his point was clearly communicated, but it only managed to piss his wife off even more.

Another day went by and still, ants everywhere. Barry was livid. He cleaned his kitchen once more, but this time followed where the ants came from. He sprayed and sprayed as he wiped behind his ant mass killing instrument.

The next night, Barry calmly complained to Debra once again, explaining how the ants wouldn't stop and that he would have to call an exterminator. Debra agreed that they had to do what they could to stop the ants. Barry and Debra fell asleep soundly as usual, but a couple hours into the night, Barry was shaken awake.

"Debra? What's wrong?" Barry asked, believing his wife was the one arousing him from his slumber. He attempted to raise his hand to his eyes in order to rub them, but he couldn't move his arms. Neither of them. Barry's eyes shot open to find a peculiar sight.

The ants surrounded his entire body. He almost couldn't recognize the ants as anything other than a bumpy blanket, but they were moving. Barry began squirming, sickened by the though of thousands of insects crawling around his body. His efforts of moving were proving fruitless, so he opened his mouth to scream but was stopped by a voice.

"Wait! Don't scream, or we'll slit your throat." one of the ants said. A single ant revealed them self from the crowd. Barry's eyes drifted to his left where a crowd of ants held a kitchen knife of his. They moved the blade to his throat, placing the sharp point on his flesh.

"Wha..." he was choked off from the cold steel nearly slicing his skin.

"You weren't supposed to wake up, but now that you're awake, I might as well explain. Unlike yourself, we're civil enough to discuss why we're killing you, before we do so." The ant that stepped forward began to explain.

"Kill me?" Barry had a slight crack in his voice.

"That's right. You've killed far too many of us to get away with it. I mean, don't you have laws? Morals?"

"Laws? Y-yeah, we have laws, usually in reference to other human beings. You want to talk about laws? What about breaking and entering? And theft!" Barry could feel his frustration begin to rise once again, but the ants shushed him.

"That's a good enough reason to engage in mass murder upon us to you? We're just ants, don't you follow a law that forbids murder?"

"Well the law doesn't mention thou shalt not kill ants."

"I said the law, not the bible. Look, it doesn't matter what the law says. You slaughtered nearly our entire colony, there's only twenty thousand of us left, and it's time that was paid back. Your wife hasn't done anything specifically to us, so she will be spared, we're not savages, but you will die tonight." The ants, in a group effort, began putting pressure on his throat with the knife.

"Wait, wait, wait!" Barry begged the ants.

"What? Last words and all?"

"What if I help you?" Barry asked desperately.

"Help? Help with what? We're ants, we do what we want, as long as the queen wants it."

"I can give you food. Bring your queen, I'll make a small area for you within our home and you can live there in peace. We won't bother you, or kill you, but we can keep you safe from anything else out there, or other people. And then I'll feed your colony everyday."

"You think we can trust you? After what you did to us!?"

"That was before I knew you were sentient. It's different now. We can coexist. I'm sorry for what I did to your colony, but you have to believe me, I thought you were all a bunch of mindless bugs." the ant who was doing most of the talking was thinking. The rest of the ants mumbled to themselves. "Please." Barry begged.

"Shut up!" one of the ants not engaged in conversation demanded.

Barry was attempting to calm himself down as the ants discussed his fate and his proposal. He had to admit to himself, if something had killed his entire family and he had the chance to end the life of the one who did it, he wouldn't have hesitated to run that blade across their throat, but Barry was hoping at this point that the ants had more mercy than he did. Barry's eye then turned over to where his wife laid, sound asleep next to him, but facing away. He was hoping that if he was going to die, that he'd see her face one last time.

The ants dispersed from their huddle and the ant spokesperson from before approached the front of the ants again.

"After a deliberate conversation with my family, we've come to a decision. We will allow this collaboration, under conditions." the ant negotiated.

"Of course! Anything." Barry was relieved. The pressure from his chest, despite the minor weight from the hundreds of ants that covered him, had began to lift.

"We will design our new colony placement within your house. We will be given the room to rebuild our colony. You will not kill another insect that steps in this house. Unless it's a caterpillar, beetle, fly, or spiders. Then you can kill those awful excuse for insects."

"What other insects does that leave?" Barry asked.

"What are you, stupid? Do you not get out? There are about nine hundred thousand other species of insects out there. I mean, sure, a good portion don't live near by, but pretty arrogant question if you ask me. Besides, spiders aren't even insects. Those arachnid beasts are reincarnations of the devil himself. Brutal creatures. Anyways, as I was saying. Our last request is to order our own groceries. We don't get very many decisions in this short life we live, we should at least get to choose the food we want to eat. Opportunities life this never happen. So, what do you say? Do we have a deal?"

"I guess so, yeah. I believe we can make that work. I think you all can probably occupy our guest bedroom, it's the room on the left down the hall, but I need to get some stuff out first, the guest bed, and furniture. I'm sure you all don't want that in there."

"You're right, the furniture doesn't exactly scream community to us, and we're all about community."

"Perfect, well, I'll get started on that in the morning."

"How about you get started on that right now? Our queen is currently in a vulnerable position with all of use here." Barry realized that the knife was still threateningly close to his throat. It was nearly about to puncture his skin.

"Okay, okay, I'll do it now. Can you just... remove my kitchen knife from my neck please?"

"Of course and listen. If you try anything, or go against your word, we will not hesitate in anyway next time. You eventually have to sleep, we will take you down."

"I understand." Barry acknowledged the ant's threat. The ants all began scurrying off of Barry, pulling the knife away from him. Barry waited, scared that if he moved in anyway, he'd accidentally kill an ant, voiding the agreement he just made with them.

"What are you waiting for?" he heard the ant whisper in his ear.

"Oh, I just didn't want to accidentally move over one of you while you were clearing off. Where are you?"

"I'm on your shoulder, I'll be here until you finish clearing out the room. And you're clear to get up. Everyone is off. They're waiting in a staged position nearby. Don't worry about them for now, I'll tell you whether one is in danger or not." Barry accepted this.

The realization that he was clearing out a room for a colony of ants to live and procreate did strike him as odd, but he knew he'd be dead if he hadn't offered a peace agreement.

As Barry began disassembling furniture in his guest room, he was fully aware that there was an ant on his shoulder. His curiosity got the better of him, and he attempted to converse with the ant.

"So... what's your name?" Barry started.

"Listen, Barry, yes, I know your name. I normally wouldn't mind a conversation with anyone, but I vividly remember you giving a very descriptive explanation of how useless and inconvenient we were. So, don't be surprised if I'm not jumping at the idea of you and I becoming friends. As far as I'm concerned, you're paying back what you owe. That's it. It's the least we deserve after the trauma you put us through."

"I understand." Barry stopped trying to talk and continued to disassemble the furniture. He then heard the ant sigh.

"I guess, we will be living together, it might be beneficial to know my name. It's Weeswee, but you can call me Wes, I understand that ant names are different than human names."

"Well, Wes, I hope that we can forget how we met one day."

"Me too. Though, I'm not sure we will." There was a silent moment between Barry and Wes as Barry continued with the room.

"So... how would you like your room to look?" Barry asked.

"Well, I'd like to have a section near the entrance where you can place food, or if you need to ask us something, we can converse. Then, we need a fort in the middle, for our queen, she is the most important. I'd like us to have a series of network like channels surrounding the room. No other reason than the fact that we hate being still. I can't tell you how hard it was to hold you still when literally none of us like to be still. We'd also like to have access to that window occasionally. So, if you can create a ramp to the sill, then, when we need you to, you'll open the window from the outside, that way you don't have to step through the colony."

"Okay, I think I can do something."

"I almost forgot, we need a place to place our dead."

"Oh... is that expected to occur a lot?"

"I mean, anytime the queen mates, a male dies off, or a few. So, semi-frequently."

"Okay, I'll see if I can place a cup in here. When that occurs, let me know, and I'll dispose of the bodies."

"Respectfully."

"Sure. I'll take them to the yard."

"Good... Thank you." Barry felt that she was starting to warm up to him a little, seeing that he was actually trying to make amends.

"I need to get supplies from the store, in order to start up what you asked for. In the mean time, your colony can stay in the room while it's empty."

"Thank you." Wes said as she crawled from his shoulder to his hand, which was leaning on the door frame. She crawled on to the door frame and Barry noticed. They both looked at the empty room.

"Well, I better get some sleep, before I start creating you room."

"Okay, and hey, Barry?"

"Yeah?" Barry turned from walking back to his room.

"We're not useless. We're struggling. Once we get our colony back together we'll continue our work in this ecosystem that we all live in. Not just humans." Barry looked at Wes for a moment.

"I'm sorry, I know you're not useless. It's just hard to notice what's important when it's not directly benefiting you or your life. Good night." Barry told Wes, and then went back to bed.

Barry's eye shot open.

"Oh no! Debra!" Barry sprung to his feet, rushing to the hallway.

Debra was in the hall, grunting as she stomped her feet on the ants.

"No, no no!" Barry shouted, attempting to prevent his wife from murdering more ants.

"What are you doing Barry?!" Debra shouted.

"I'm stopping you from making a huge mistake! I invited them." Debra stopped, panting from her stomping.

"What?" Debra looked at her husband with a confused expression clearly written across her face.

"I told them they could stay here. We had a lengthy conversation last night and I told them they were allowed to stay. This way we won't have to kill them by the masses and we can live in harmony. Look, where's Wes. Wes!" Barry called for Wes, looking across the floor which held a few dead ants.

"Barry... I told you what would happen if you did this." Wes was standing near a squished ant. Barry reached his finger down for her to climb on.

"No, I know, this wasn't me. It was Debra but she didn't know, you have to believe me. I'm only just telling her now. Please climb on so we can explain to her."

"She killed sister Joushia, sister Feessst, and sister Mineeasaa." Wes said sorrowfully.

"I'm so sorry, I know. I'm sorry for the others too."

"Those were just males, they were probably gonna die soon anyways, they served their purpose. But not my sisters."

"Wes... please, don't pass this opportunity up for a clear mistake." Wes could hear the sincerity in Barry's voice, and climbed on. Barry raised Wes on his finger to Debra's face, which was even more twisted from confusion. "Go ahead, Wes. Tell her."

"We threatened to take your husband's life last night, and he offered to house us if we promised to not kill him for killing so many of us. We came to an agreement that us ants would use your..." Wes began to explain to Debra.

Debra looked at the ant, antennae squirming all around. Debra looked up at Barry who had a sympathetic face, and back to the silent ant.

"So our queen would be safe, as well as you and Barry. But you must not kill anymore ants. Please, we've already lost too many." Wes finished, and Barry looked up at Debra whose face did not change.

"Well, don't you understand now? We have to protect them." Barry asked.

"Barry... I think you may need to see someone."

"What? No, didn't you listen to a thing she said?"

"She? How in the world can you tell she is a she?"

"Well, it's pretty obvious. Might as well ask how I could tell that you were a she." Debra was showing some frustration in her face.

"No- no, I'm a human female, and I think during our relationship, I've made this very clear to you."

"Well, I guess I only assumed because of her voice."

"Her voice?! She doesn't have a voice. She's an ant! Not a single sound came out while you held that ant to my face."

"Debra, you're being insane. Don't pretend you didn't hear a thing Wes said."

"Stop calling her Wes! Now you have me calling it a she. You know what? This is not something I can handle. I'm getting my stuff and staying with my mom. This is completely insane and I hope you get some help." Barry just watched as Debra went to her room and began packing.

"I don't understand. Why can't she hear you, Wes?" Barry asked.

"Only the people truly listening can hear what someone like me, an ant, has to say." Wes said, with a hint of sadness in her voice.

Debra dragged her suitcase out of their room and to the front door to their house. She turned around to see her husband still holding the spec of an ant on his finger.

"I'm really worried for you Barry. I hope you go see someone. If you need someone to talk to when you're serious, call me. Until then, you'll know where I'll be." Debra closed the door behind her, leaving Barry in the wake of her murder spree.

The next few days, after the incident, Barry bought supplies, tools and more groceries. Most of the groceries the colony asked for were fruits, and a small portion of vegetables, bread, and seeds. Barry worked on the room while the ants roamed his house, to avoid Barry accidentally stepping on one.

Once Barry was done, there was a thin metal plating with curved edges circling the middle of the room, in the middle being a wooden dome, complete with a few sticks and leaves for the queen. There was a second room above it, another round wooden dome, but it had a hole on top that the thin metal plating could curve into as a path way. A portion at the door of the room was secluded and surrounded as Barry would place requested foods down for the ants. Barry then had a ramp made to his window.

"This is perfect, Barry, thank you so much." Wes said. Barry could hear the excitement of all the ants entering their new room.

"You're welcome. It's the least I can do with everything I've done to all of you." Barry stood with a smile, proud of the work he did.

"Can I make one more request, Barry? Last one."

"Sure, what is it."

"Is there anyways we can have some sand or soil, for us to dig through. I told you, we like to keep busy, and digging would help out a lot."

"Absolutely. I think I have just the solution actually."

Barry bought a barrel, and placed that barrel in the corner of the ants' room. He then filled it with soil. It smelled a little to Barry, but Barry prepared for that as well, buying automatic air-fresheners.

Over the next few months, Barry heard little from Debra, but she heard little from him as well. Barry was occupied with his colony. He made plenty of friends, including the queen herself. They would never let Barry live it down when they first met each other, Barry bowed and said, "It's an honor, your majesty". The entire colony, even the males, laughed at Barry. However, the queen appreciated the respect that he showed for her and her colony. She forgave him for his past indiscretions, including killing most of her children.

Barry's humans friends stopped hearing from him, he hadn't showed up to work in a few weeks, so he was effectively fired. Barry didn't mind, he was with anew type of family. Until one day. Barry received his divorce papers and his house foreclosure warning in the same day.

"Who will feed us when you're gone, Barry?" Wes asked.

"I'll leave the cabinets open, you can help yourself."

"But when will you be back?"

"Tonight. I have to get a job, otherwise the bank is going to take our house."

"I know... I'm sorry about Debra."

"It's okay... I knew I'd be seeing them soon. I can't be with someone who's going to treat me like I'm insane. I'm not insane."

"Well, hurry up and get that new job. We're enjoying our living situation. There's been ants who never thought they'd see the late four years of life, and might make it to five. Not common in our community."

"Well, I hope they do make it to five. Okay. I'll see you later tonight. Good bye, everyone, wish me luck." Barry stood up, waving at the room of his friends. A jumbled up thousands of voices shouted, "Good bye!" back at Barry, and he left.

That evening, Wes waited for her roommate to come home, pacing the entrance to the room. However, Barry still wasn't home.

Two days went by, but Barry never returned. The ants continued living as usual, but a few were beginning to express their worry for their caretaker, including Wes. Suddenly, they heard the front door open. A large portion of the ants began scurrying their way to the entrance of the room to see Barry, but then they heard a voice that was not Barry's. It was familiar, however.

"I still can't believe he's gone. It's been two days now, but it feels like it just happened." Debra said, clearly speaking to someone else. She sounded like she was crying.

"I know, sweetie. There's no true way to protect your feelings when it comes to losing a loved one. Trust me." an older lady spoke. It was Debra's mom, there to help her daughter with going through the house and clearing it of everything that Barry had owned. "Did they find the person who did it yet?"

"They have a man in custody, they're planning on charging him with vehicular manslaughter while under the influence. They also told me that Barry had his resume in the care with him. He must've been going to interview for a job. You know, I know I filed for divorce, but I still loved him mom." Debra audibly broke down in tears.

"What's that mean, Weeswee? What happened to Barry?" Sister Reaanaae asked concerned.

"It means Barry's not coming back. He's dead." The colony was quiet. Wes then did the one thing that has never been done before by an ant. She cried.

Footsteps then suggested that the two women were walking down the hall. The ants began to scatter, worried with what would happen when they found the room how it was. Covered in millions of ants.

There was a gasp, and the ants heard the moment they were discovered.

"What in the-" Debra's mom began.

"Mom, let's just go." Debra pulled her mom away from the bedroom, toward the front of the house.

"What? But didn't you see what was happening in there? There's an infestation!" Debra's mother hollered before the front door opened and closed, successfully retreated her mother from the house.

The colony, in the long time they spent there, had never been more still then in that moment.

"What's going to happen now?" Sister Gearaas asked.

"Yeah, should we leave, or stay?" Sister Teeeees asked.

"Why? We have a whole pantry to ourselves." Sister Beesaaarsa argued.

"Not for long, Barry was the one who did groceries. Now that he's gone, we have to fend for ourselves again." Sister Havenarata struck back.

"We stay for the night, in the morning, we must evacuate the queen. Ask the alates to stay and protect the queen while we move her to a safe location. I need everyone to help, we need get out the window, it's our most direct path out of here. We must chew through the wood. In the meantime, through out the night, we must gather everyone, including the queen, and be ready to evacuate as soon as the hole had been made in the window. Ready? Let's go!" Wes got everyone to stick to a plan and begin working tirelessly.

All night, every ant did their jobs, collecting other ants, collecting food that could travel with them for the queen, who was three times as large since they first began staying there. The night was too quick, however. That morning, as the ants chewed through the window, the rest stood ready to leave. The queen was at the front of the colony, ready to be the first out when the hole was made. Then, they worst noise they could've heard echoed through the house. The front door opened and a voice yelled through the house.

"Exterminator!" the voice of death.

The ants heard this and scattered in panic, but the queen focused everything she had on collecting everyone back to the mission.

"Focus! Focus!" She yelled through everyone's brains. The ant's kept chewing through. There was light showing. The boots of the exterminator began pounding through the living room toward the hallway.

"Focus! Focus!" The queen psychically shouted.

The ant's began to tear it down even quicker, creating a bigger hole.

"He's coming!" Sister Yesaalaa channeled to everyone while she watched the hall from the top of the door frame.

Panic began setting in again for the ants, even beyond the queen's orders. They couldn't let the queen die. The colony began piling on her, creating a dome like structure of ants. The exterminator stomped into the door frame and gasped.

"Oh... this is gonna be satisfying." he said, preparing his elongated gun loaded with the most toxic chemical known to ants.

As the exterminator raised his mask to his face, Sister Yesaalaa dropped from her position to attack but the exterminator saw her. Wes could see the sacrifice her sister made, as she distracted the exterminator giving the ants more time. The exterminator held up his arm, watching Sister Yesaalaa running up toward his elbow.

SMACK!

"NO!!!" Wes yelled, seeing her sister's squished corpse be flicked off of the exterminator's jacket.

The hole cracked open, and the ants shoved the queen out through the tunnel in the window. They began dragging her down the wall outside the house, but then they heard the patter of liquid, hitting the window above them like bullets. The queen felt it in her heart as all her children and family died simultaneously. Thousands immediately lost their lives, then tens of thousands.

"Why won't he stop!" she cried in agony as more and more brutally drowned in poison. The pain she felt was worse than when Barry had killed her colony, there was a guttural cry for help emanating through their antennae. It was sickening. She wondered if she could ever recover. She had made it out though, with at least a couple hundred ants behind her, including Wes, who only barely made it out alive.

"I'm so sorry, queen. I wasn't good enough." Wes grovelled to her queen and mother.

"It's not your fault Weeswee, I'm the queen. I should've led us better." the queen tried to reassure Wes.

"I led us to trust Barry, and though he changed his ways, I should've known he couldn't protect us."

"What matters now is that we made it out. We can try again and learn from our mistakes." The remainder of the colony was close to the ground, outside the house.

Then, the ants saw it. The exterminator had a partner.

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About the Creator

Rick Pension

Writing has been a passion of mine since before I was 8 years old. I’ve evolved my stories in various ways since, and I only want to write for people to enjoy my stories. I don’t like to typically stay within a specific genre.

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