by Jake Christie

a story.

Anthony the ant had a sinking feeling that he wasn't in his natural environment any more. It was just a feeling – he wasn't sure he could prove it – but he wanted to share it with somebody, anybody. As soon as he found somebody. Anybody. But he seemed to be all of a sudden all alone.

Just moments earlier he had been surrounded by his brothers, his colonylings. Then the Giant Being came, and lowered his Giant Squishy Forelegs, and closed them around Anthony, too fast and enormous to even comprehend. Then the Dark Times. And then, now.

He regarded the stick with a single leaf hanging off of it. So like sticks and leaves he'd seen before, but somehow different. Anthony touched the stick with a foreleg, two forelegs. It felt like sticks he'd felt before. The leaf looked green and vibrant, though it was strangely still. He climbed up the stick, upside down, and thought.

Below him there was a little bit of dirt. Dirt, stick, leaf. It all made so much sense that he wondered if he was going inside. But where were his colonylings? He couldn't smell them on the dirt. He couldn't smell them at all.

Anthony was not a religious ant, but his musings almost turned to prayer. What could the Giant Being be but a deity? What could this be but some sort of punishment, or some sort of test? Had Anthony died? Is that what this place was? If this was where the dead went, where were all the squished, the squashed, the bi- and tri-sected? Was he the only righteous ant? The only evil one?

He crawled up the familiar-but-not-quite stick and onto the static leaf. Something wasn't right, he was now sure of it. He was too removed. It was too silent. This was not his home. He swung his antennae through the air. That is, he tried to swing them through the air, but they hit something on the way.

They hit something. They hit nothing. Anthony stared at whatever wasn't there, whatever should have been there, and stared so intently and leaned forward so fascinated that he bumped his head on the nothing.

Anthony backed down the stick, away from the nothing that was somehow something. He was at the end of the world, or he had been removed from his world and appeared in another. He didn't know whether to despair or celebrate, because all of a sudden, Anthony the ant realized that somehow, inadvertently, he had become a He. He had become a god.

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