“I’m an ant. I hope you know a lot about ants, otherwise this story is going to make no sense. In my humble opinion, it’s pretty cool. FYI, ants are mostly girls.”
Hi, I’m Lilah! I’m an ant. I hope you know a lot about ants, otherwise this story is going to make no sense. In my humble opinion, it’s pretty cool. FYI, ants are mostly girls. The males kind of just sit around the anthill until they go on a mating flight. Then they die. Anyway, the queen of this hill is all our moms. She gave birth to us. My job as a worker ant is to find food. But I’d rather watch the humans. They are really interesting. And I can actually understand their language.
We live right next to the house of Tony Relez. He recently divorced Elena W. His daughter is named Lucy. Now I’m hearing something really interesting.
“But Daddy, I want an ant farm!”
Wait — what?
“Yes, Lucy, but where would we get the ants?”
Oh, good. They can’t have one now. They won’t find us.
“There’s an anthill out back!”
Oh no. She knows! This is bad news. I need to tell mom! What? The queen is my mom.
I run in and to the queen’s private chamber.
“Mom! The people outside are going to capture us and put us in an ant farm!”
“Really?” Mom says skeptically. “I don’t remember that the humans know we exist.”
“Yes, it’s true! I heard them! Come see for yourself!”
“Very well,” Mom says.
We crawl out, and I show her.
Tony was just saying, “Okay, I’ll order the ant farm today.”
“See?” I say, annoyed.
“Oh no!!!” Mom says, ignoring me.
“We have to run away!” I sigh.
She never notices me.
Mom starts yelling to everybody. “We need to start packing up! Everybody, gather your things! Food! Don’t forget food! Carry as much food as you can!”
See? She never notices me. The bad part of this is, our anthill is so big. It can sometimes take days to notify everyone. I hope the ant farm takes a long time to deliver.
It doesn’t. After three days, a package arrives. I can read human language. It’s the ant farm. The problem is, we are still packing up. Oh! Good news! We’re almost done. Uh-oh. The people are coming over with the ant farm. I get a lurching feeling in my stomach. They’re putting sand in. Tony has a funnel in his hand, Lucy a shovel. They take sand from the sandbox and fill up the ant farm. I can’t believe what I’m seeing. This is my fate, and I’m just sitting and watching it? I guess I just love to watch humans. That will never go away.
Mom yells, “Okay, we’re ready!”
“Wait no!” I yell.
Tony has finished filling up the ant farm. They’re ready to look for ants now.
Lucy yells, “Look!”
The whole population of the anthill is streaming out. Blast it! Blast, blast, blast it. Talk about bad timing! They’re definitely going to capture us now. Tony grabs an index card and holds it on the ground. The other ants are walking up to the card and checking it out.
“No!” I yell, but it’s too late.
In one quick movement, Tony picks up the card, opens the ant farm, and taps in the card. I feel like I’m next, and I’m right.
Tony puts the card in front of me, his hands blocking the sides. I have no escape. Sighing, I step onto the card. He puts the card on the hole to the ant farm. I’m doomed! I’m slipping… I can’t hold on much longer. Finally I give up and let go of the card. I fall in.
“Ow!!!” It hurts. A lot. Instead of moist soil like I’m used to, I land on hard-packed sand. I see lots of ants here, too. Ella, Mya, Lou, and others. But not Mom. That’s good, I guess, but without her we can’t reproduce. We’ll all die here eventually.
Old woman Lina speaks first. “The humans have sealed our fates. We will… ” Her voice drifts off.
“Can I just be the one to say it?” I ask. I don’t wait for an answer. “We’re going to die here.” They all stare at me with did-you-really-have-to-say-that-we’re-already-in-a-bad-situation looks on their faces. I’m like, “Jeez, someone had to say it.” Now they have seriously-you’re-so-dark looks on their faces. I tune out then. These people are too much. I’m watching the humans now.
Tony says, “I think that’s enough ants. Let’s go back inside and water the ants.”
I take this as a big insult. We’re animals, not plants! We don’t need to be watered! But soon I see what he meant. He takes a dropper and squeezes water into the sand. Now the sand is nice and moist. I lick some of the drops of water. It tastes delicious. I’ve been thirsty for a few days. There’s only so much water on the front porch, where our anthill used to be. I don’t know. I could get used to this.
One month later…
Living in an ant farm is actually not bad. We get water every day and food every week. And not bad food, either. Yummy stuff like pizza cheese that’s still melty and honey nut granola. The water is always nice. There’s only been one crisis.
Okay so — about a week into when we got into the ant farm Lucy said, “Daddy, they’re not tunnelling… I don’t like them!”
“Okay,” said Tony, “We can get new ants.”
I gasped — what were they going to do? My question was answered soon enough.
Tony said, “Let’s dump these out where we got them.”
“Okay!” said Lucy.
Luckily I heard them.
“Guys, start tunnelling!” I yelled.
“Why?” asked Mya.
“Because, trust me, the humans are going to dump us out if you don’t.”
“Okay whatever,” they said.
“It’ll be something to do. We’re getting kind of bored.”
We started tunnelling as fast as we could. Actually, I was the only one really tunnelling because I was the only one that really cared. Fortunately our hard work paid off.
Lucy said, “Daddy, look! They’re tunnelling.”
Tony said, “Okay then, sweetheart, we don’t have to dump them out.”
Well, that was pretty much it for the crisis.
Anyway, everything continued normally, pretty much. That is, until that one fateful day.
That day Lucy came downstairs from her bedroom crying. I wondered what had happened. Maybe Tony was getting remarried? But those weren’t happy tears.
“But Daddy, I want to keep them!”
Uh-oh. Is she talking about us?
“Honey, we’re moving.”
Wait — what?
“Your ants couldn’t possibly survive the drive.”
Wait — what? They’re moving and leaving us behind? This is horrible.
“Like I said, we can leave them on a stoop sale and some other kid could take them.”
“But Daddy, I don’t want to move,” said Lucy.
“Yes, but we have to go today,” said Tony. “The rent is going up.” I’m devastated. Are they just going to leave us behind? This is horrible. “And we have to go today. I already ordered a moving truck.” Even worse!
Even worse! I can’t leave her. It’s embarrassing to say, but I’ve really gotten attached to Lucy. And she’s gotten attached to us. I need to think. I really like Lucy. I can’t go with another kid. They might not give me pizza and granola. I’ve made up my mind. I’m going with them. But by now they’re getting in the truck. There’s nothing I can do… is there?
“Guys!” I say. “We have to go with them! We have to get out of here!”
“Why?” they ask.
“Because!” I sigh.
They will never understand me. I climb up and to the top of the ant farm, leaving them behind. In all the rush, Tony left the hatch open. I scamper out. By now the truck is pulling away. I can still make it! I run as fast as I can. It pays off. I grab onto a wheel and run up to the top. I jump up. I’m now on the big part of the truck. I run over to the window. It takes a long time. But thankfully Tony left it open. I climb in, unnoticed. I’m with Lucy, finally.