Ant Farms

Ant Farms

A Story by Chopstix
"

Cautionary Halloween Party tale. Prompt: Write a horror story. This is just about as scary a story as I can tell.

"
Pulsing, soft-click bursts awaken my senses.  I try to blink my eyes, but motor control attempts fail.  My burning, dry eyes register dim light, darkness punctuated by large, backlit images.  Each inhale draws clean, antiseptic odors.  Fuzzy, dull pain, like a thousand warm tattoo needles inking my arms, prevents tactile confirmation.  My arms must have fallen asleep, victims of overtight restraints.  My legs suffer similar afflictions.  So this is detox, I guess.

This must be a private facility.  A low, curved ceiling hangs much lower than hospitals'.  Five frames draw visage.  Each looks like an ant farm, or rather ant farm x-rays.  Four feature white log-like bars through their centers with varying gray shades surrounding them.  Ants stream in and out through arterial tunnels or scurry over smooth surfaces.  Sound wave signatures, like those on iTunes, dance along each frame's long edges.  The center image features a broad plane and deep recess like the hologram skull at Craig's party.  Cool, Halloween themed ant farms.

But how does a clean-living, thirty something Angeleno end up in a New Mexico, or is it Arizona, detox facility?  Memories squirm past click bursts to join this inquiry.  Answers form.  I remember accepting a libido driven challenge.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


“Impress me,” she, and I really should recall her name, but even a memorable name like Electra, Emerald or Evangeline would be her least memorable attribute, says.  She's beautiful in almost every way: Five foot seven, perfect hour glass figure " a bit on the athletic side, but retaining sufficient roundness, taught stomach, gravity defying breasts, bright, warm and welcoming smile, perfectly oval face framed by professionally blonde hair which may be her only flaw.  Absolutely no traces of dark roots, but I doubt natural blondness.  Every aspect of her body looks flawless.  Too flawless, lending hints of artifice to her excellent appearance.  The effect may be part of her costume:  Maroon bikini, matching stiletto pumps and a white pageant sash.

“Be worth your while if you do.”  Craig, my old college buddy, wraps an arm around her shoulders and pulls her into a friendly hug.  “He's from LA.  We went to SC together.”

“And what do you do there?”  She smiles acceptance, but I read unimpressed in her eyes. Damn her eyes.  I should ogle her breasts, such nice breasts, but her eyes engage me, hold my gaze.  

“He's a DBA.” Craig saves the conversation.

“Doing Business As?” She's beautiful, but possibly single minded.

“Data Base Analyst,” I respond, “internet servers.  My company hosts thousands of e-commerce sites.  I keep them up.”

“Making?”  Yep, definitely single minded.

“One twenty.”

“Unimpressed.”

“This dude drags me through math, physics and economics and still pulls in less than half my take.  Here's to scholastic achievement!” Craig raises his red Solo cup, salutes, guzzles and joins another party cluster.  

Roommates freshman year, we study together.  He lacks academic drive, but, like most spoiled children at the University of Spoiled Children, he knows how to have fun.  Our bargain cements our friendship.  I provide intellectual credentials; he shows me a good time.

“So, what's your number?”

“In one night, I make your week.”

“Professional?”

“Semi,  I strip two nights a week in Las Vegas.”

“You drove all the way from Las Vegas to Las Cruces for Craig's Halloween party?”

“No, I got a ride from Albuquerque, where I live.  And you drove all the way from LA?”

“Vacation.  Craig and I rode in the Las Cruces century.”

“Lance Armstrong wannabees riding twice as slow.” She laughs.  “Unimpressed.”

“I'm a commuter cyclist in downtown LA.  Technically, that qualifies me as a daredevil.”

“Technically? Aren't you a real daredevil?”

“And you're a real pageant queen?”

“Three times.” She strikes a classic model pose, a slight twist at her waist presents a three quarter body profile and full face.  “The last being.”  With her far arm, she traces her sash.  “Miss Teen New Mexico.”

“Really?”

“2007.  Impressed?”

“Well, I can see it, but how can I impress you?”

“ I got a way.”  

She hails a white tuxedo'd fellow carrying a tray. Perhaps he's a waiter, perhaps a guest playing his costume's role.  Perhaps she's Miss Teen New Mexico 2007, or just beautiful girl in a bikini and sash.  Craig and I don white sheets over our cycling togs and ape toga'd frat boys a la Animal House.  

She relieves the waiter's tray, grabs a shot glass, salutes and downs it.

“Drink two of these to my one.  Keep pace, and I'll be impressed.”

I accept her challenge.  I know better, but a chance to impress a former beauty queen, one worth my while, proves irresistible .  Each shot smells of citrus, tastes of furniture polish, burns like napalm, slides into my belly and, within a minute or two, slams my frontal cortex destroying logic and reason.  We dance after the first round.  She touches my arm after the second round.  I bump into her after the third.  To stabilize myself, I wrap my arm around her waist.  The fourth round sparks more conversation.

“So when you going back to LA?” 

“Thought I was leaving this afternoon.  Booked a hotel reservation in Tuscon for tonight, but Craig ...”

“... Good, let's stay there tonight, and we can be in Vegas tomorrow.”

“We?”

“Yeah, extend your vacation, come to Vegas with me.”

“Okay.”  I can't refuse.  Perhaps I could, but I will not pass on on a seemingly sure thing.

In a minute, she grabs two large Dasani bottles, a large duffel bag and my arm.  My car's mostly packed.  I'll have Craig ship my bicycle.  Without hesitation, we're off into the desert night.

I try maintaining focus, but she babbles on and on about pageant officials watching her at strip clubs, both men and women.  She branches into Taos's budding independent film industry and her film roles.

“Do they know you strip?”  I edge in five words in fifty minutes.

“At first, all I played was some secondary character's nude girlfriend waiting in bed.”

She describes her career's progression into speaking parts.  She rattles off thirty movie titles, most of which I've never seen.  She divulges her career ambitions, royalties income, retirement plans and New Mexico's version of celebrity gossip, an endless prattle diverting attention from a long and boring road.

The car spins out.  Sand clouds obscure my vision until the car slides to a complete stop far from Interstate 10.  I'm not sure where we are, but I remember seeing Lordsburg's exit sign.

“It's no use, I can't make it to Tuscon.” I unbuckle my seat belt, turn on the emergency blinkers and disembark.

She follows me to the trunk.  I pull out two sleeping bags, and leave the trunk open.  Big mistake, better avoid discovery, but old survival training replaces clear thought.

“You always carry those?”

“Occupational necessity.  Many late nights babysitting sick websites.”

“So now your babysitting me?”

“Yep, c'mon babe.”

I zip the bags together, heads pointing west.  We watch dazzling orange and purple lights streak the east by northeast sky.

“Halloween's become the new Fourth of July,” I say.

“Another night to party?”

“And now fireworks!”

Dazzling lights approach, pass overhead, return for an instant then fade away.  What's her name, and I really should remember her name, kiss, cuddle and no more.  I'm incapacitated by drink and fatigue, though I'm sure I cop a feel or two.  I remember holding her yielding, taught body close to mine.


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


Such memories ought to elicit erections.  I attempt manual confirmation, but my arm registers naught but dull, burning pain.  All my limbs burn with similar pain.  Even abdominal muscles ache.  I manage some neck movement.  

Ant farms glow, hovering above me.  Buzzing clicks, back in my skull, amplify and pulsate, reverberating along my inner cranium like waves breaking just behind my nose's bridge.    

A large ant squeezes through a tear duct near the inner corner of my right eye, climbs along my upper cheek and ascends to my nose's tip.  Crossed eyes produce a double until my left eye trains on an ant farm.  Unlike any ant I've ever seen, this one stands on three shanks " two large, fully articulated legs and a long rod protruding from it's gaster which forms the tripod's third leg.  Diffuse white light glints off its gunmetal-blue exoskeleton.  With it's two arms and antennae, it unfolds a digital screen or, perhaps, an OLED panel.  I know ants are strong, but it's holding a device several times larger than itself.  The sign flickers before stabilizing.  Large, black sound signature like script scrolls from right to left.  After a few seconds, alphabetic text follows.

TRANSLATION:  IF WE KNEW YOU WERE SENTIENT,

X-ray images zoom in revealing ants of varying sizes.  The ant on my nose, a king ant, dwarfs serf ants a hundred fold.  These smallest ants stream through their tunnels.  Those leaving cradle translucent sacks in their arms.  Larger ants either assist or supervise.

WE WOULD HAVE DISCONNECTED YOUR COMPUTER FIRST.

Zooming continues until I see three or four ants in each frame.  One tends a small cauldron while another dips its arms and antennae into the cauldron before using them to detach soft sacks from nearby surfaces. 

COMPUTER CIRCUITS ARE MOST DELICIOUS.

Any time a sack rips, several ants converge on it, devour it.

SAVE FOR LAST.  DESSERT.

Is that spelled right? "Desert" as in "just deserts?"  Can dessert be a just desert?  I think they mean,”desert.”  I was just in the desert with, what's her name, and I really should remember her name.  Damn clicking intensifies in my head.  I wonder what happened to her.  

The ant farms zoom out revealing a human x-ray.  Each limb separated, in its own frame.  Scraps of flesh remain.  My heart and lungs still function, but my ribs are bare.

YOUR ELECTRICAL STORMS

Electrical storms.  Electrical storms?  Brain activity!

EXTINGUISHED SIGNIFICANT MARINERS.

Brain activity kills them.  I wonder if they found her sentient.  Doubtful.  Even I was only interested in her body.  An unkind thought.  My last thought shouldn't be unkind.  My last thought should be … 

PLEASE CALM  YOURSELF WHILE WE RECTIFY THE SITUATION.

... survival.  Brainstorms exterminate these killer ants.  What was I thinking about?  I was trying to remember her name.  Raven? Renee? Ruth?  

YOU HAVE BEEN AN INTERESTING HOST.

It's not working.  How would I disconnect my computer?  Unplug it.  At its base.  Primal functions.  I try quick deep breaths, but nothing changes, nothing works.

THANK YOU.

You're not welcome!

NOW, GOODNIGHT.


WDC Word Count: 1732


Note: This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places and incidents either are products of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual events or locales or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.  

Of course there is a real Miss Teen New Mexico 2007.  While attempting to find a recent, blonde Miss Teen New Mexico,  I ran into an article where a former Miss Teen New Mexico is being sued by a Wall Street hedge fund manager.  I liked the idea of a gold digger ex-beauty queen, so this alleged notoriety and a paucity of blonde Miss Teen New Mexicos lead me to choose 2007 over any other year.  Liz Kranz, the real Miss New Mexico Teen USA, is explicitly not depicted in the above story.  First off, she is not blonde.  Second, to the best of knowledge, she is not now, nor ever been, a stripper in Las Vegas or elsewhere.  Third, the woman in my story has a much prettier face, although I'll allow that Miss Kranz may look prettier in person.  Finally, she never attended my old college buddy's party because he, too, is a fictional character.  Even I, your narrator, am fictional.  Were I real, I'd be naught but discarded bones floating in space unable to tell this cautionary tale about drinking, driving and alien ant abduction.  

Got it?  Good.  Thank you, and, now, goodnight.

© 2017 Chopstix



My Review

Would you like to review this Story?
Login | Register




Reviews

This is just so quirky and creepy... ant farms definitely added to the top of nightmares. But heh, nice little fun story in the middle, too bad it's not real either :)

Posted 1 Month Ago


Chopstix

1 Month Ago

Thanx for the review. I'm glad you liked the middle of the story.

Request Read Request
Add to Library My Library
Subscribe Subscribe


Stats

132 Views
1 Review
Rating
Added on February 10, 2017
Last Updated on February 10, 2017
Tags: Halloween, Drinking, Driving, Alien, Abduction, Ants, Flesh Eating, Bicycle New Mexico, Teen

Author

Chopstix
Chopstix

Los Angeles, CA



About
In high school, I wrote lyrics. I started college writing poems and switched to short stories. After college, I discovered I could write computer programs, but I could not finish a novel (kept editi.. more..

Writing