War Among the Pears
SFS 8: Pear Tree Challenge
Hundreds of small busy bodies scurried up an old pear tree. The limbs were strong and provided shelter to thousands of bugs. Despite the massive creatures that would pluck the fruit and nearly crush the active ant colony, it was the ideal home for them. However, another colony had settled nearby and they too were seeking to reap benefits from the tree as well.
The alarm sounded when the younger colony’s warriors started to swarm the small worker ants that had collected food from this tree for years. They scattered as they fled from the menacing jaws of the enemy soldier ants. Before more of their army surrounded the tiny workers to chase them off their territory, a patrol of the older colony’s soldier ants rapidly charged the new threat.
As they clashed, some ants were flung and some were snapped in half in the powerful jaws of the warriors. Both sides of the war were ants that had come from the same royal family, only this young queen desired to take over what belonged to the other. No matter their relation, the younger queen planned to overwhelm the older colony by cutting off their supplies and blocking them inside their own entrance.
The younger colony swiftly cut through the older ants, their fierce wish to dominate and eradicate the competition was burning through their bodies, rocking their exoskeleton to their core. Dominance over the pear tree would guarantee an abundance of food for the settlement. While the mighty soldier ants managed to push back the older colony closer to their home, the older colony was preparing to unleash the entire army.
Abruptly, a rumbling started to shake their senses as black quivering masses of older soldier ants erupted from the old colony’s three main entrances. As soon as the two armies collided, ant bodies bathed the ground. A foul stench nearly choked their sensibility as they ripped each other apart. Within seconds, a large spider darted through the frontlines and snatched several ants in its path. Seconds later several large bugs started to prey on the quarreling ants. Their discourse with each other left them vulnerable to the larger threats as they were ravaged from all sides.
Deep within the younger colony, the queen continued laying eggs as she waited for the report of the raging war. A small worker ant promptly stumbled into the nest. As others helped her care for the future generation, this particular one updated her every few moments. Outside her corridor firmly stood several bulky, super-soldier ants. When she received the unfortunate news, she then sent the order to send some of them on a separate mission to infiltrate the older colony. Once they snuck in, they were to hunt down the older queen’s nest and kill her.
Without warning, a massive soldier darted through the tunnel and headed straight for the older queen as she rested in her nest. The large ant pushed through the tiny worker ants that remained as he opened his sharp jaws to attack. Just as she opened her eyes, she caught the scent of her own daughter drifting from him. The younger queen had outsmarted her; she crumbled to the ground and braced for the final blow.
I submitted a short story a while back to a contest on FanStory about a war beneath the ground and it was based on the murder of the queen within her nest. She was betrayed by her own daughter, the new queen. I have since then lost the original story but here's this! The first time I wrote it a few years ago, it was only 100 words because that was the requirement for the flash fiction contest. I wish I could find the old piece, I was pretty happy with it, but, oh well.
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Mel E. Furnish
I'm a self-published author, raised on a family farm in Indiana.
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