The Ant Queen

  1. My mother always warned me against whistling at night.”I pray you don’t attract evil with that your smelling mouth,” she said one night as she broke melon seeds for dinner.I’ve never believed in myths, but I found her tales funny.”Why mother?” “I’ve told you times without number,” she pushed the white, plastic chair she sat on and stood up to adjust her red, ankara wrapper. “You might attract mysterious creatures. Seeing these creatures might drive anyone mad.”

    I wanted to scoff and say you’re talking to a fifteen year old o, but I decided against it. “What kind of creatures?” I asked.

    “Not this night, Bimpe,” she said as she lifted the tray of melon seeds off the stool. “Join me in the kitchen. Let’s wash the plates together.”

    That night, after washing the plates, I retired to my room. It didn’t take up to twenty minutes when something strange occurred. At first, it was a tickle until a needle like object burned into my flesh. I sat up with a lightening speed and rubbed the burning which swelled over my elbow.

    Stumbling out of bed, I switched on the light to catch the stupid insect that bit me, only for me to find thousands of currant red ants surrounding my bed and down on the floor.

    “Ijalo!” I shrieked. “Fire ant!”

    I expected my parents and twin younger siblings – Taiye and Kehinde – to barrel into my room but non of that happened.

    What kind of yeye sleep are they sleeping na!

    I  whimpered. Deciding to try my luck and escape through the door, and that’s when something magical happened. The ants parted into halves as my legs touched the ground until I walked towards the door. I resisted the sudden urge to scream again. Instead, my mouth stretched open as wonders unfolded before me. Soon a buzz enveloped the room like voices from a thousand people.

    “You didn’t have to bite her!”

    My face crumbled into dismay. Where did that come from?

    “Don’t shout,” as the tiny voice echoed in my room, the ants parted like they did for me and gave passage to an exceptionally red ant. It was scarlet red.

    The colour wasn’t my problem; my head felt light and it became difficult for me to breath.

    I must be running mad. “We’ve come to get our queen,” the voice continued. “You.”

    Ants can speak? I can hear them! 

    My eyes blurred, but not from tears. “We thought you abandoned us,” this tiny ant won’t relent and if it wasn’t for the thousands that surrounded me, I would’ve smashed it to the ground. “We traced your songs; the whistling.”

    My mother was right. Whistling attracted creatures; ones that wanted me as an ant queen.

    I must be running mad. 

    Everything became fuzzy and before my body could make contact with the ground, I jolted up with a start.

    “It’s a dream,” I whispered and glanced at the window.

    The cloud was still a dark, indigo colour as sounds of crickets echoed in the night.

    Sighing, I resumed my sleeping position, but before I could lay my head on the pillow, a sharp burning pain pierced my elbow. Right there, I knew my dream was real.



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