I’m participating in the Halloween blog hop with a short story called  “Ants” which I wrote in the light horror genre. I hope you enjoy it. Links to the other participants in the blog hop, many of whom are seasoned authors follow my story. Who knows? You might find a new favorite among them.  Happy Halloween!

And now, without further ado: Ants

Turning the key in the lock, she felt the tension of the day finally begin to drain. She paused on the doorstep as if to leave all of the day’s irritations outside. Bits and pieces of conversations flitted past her eyes on their way out of her mind; wisps of smog colored cloudlets reluctantly leaving her consciousness. 

Her work as a customer service rep for the electric company was challenging on a good day. But when the temperature hit triple digits and power was out all over the city, the most miserable of its residents were the first to call and give voice to their already endless litany of complaints, to what they saw as a captive audience. 

She started and realized she still stood on her doorstep, key in the lock, holding the key in a death grip. Making a conscious effort, she willed her hand into limp submission, holding the key more gently as she turned the doorknob and stepped inside. Stepping out of the zebra print ballet flats she wore for work, she left them on the mat which lay under a small table docilely waiting to receive the weight of her purse and keys. 

Her mind expelled the last of the day’s unpleasantness, leaving only thoughts of a cool glass of wine and her feet resting on an ottoman; a blissful few hours with nothing more to do than just emulate a root vegetable. Even hunger didn’t invade her daydream of a few hours with nobody whining in her ear. 

After changing into a tank top and pajama pants, she drifted into the kitchen for the promised wine. She turned on the light and froze. 

Across the counters, creeping up the walls and filling the sink was her single worst nightmare. Ripped from her pleasant lethargy without warning, she fell headlong into her new reality of creeping, crawling, eight legged creatures whose tiny legs felt like they were making their slow but steady way across her feet, up her legs, under her clothes—until her body was covered with theirs just as they currently covered the counters. 

If there was one thing in the world she hated even more than whining customers, it was ants. She clenched her teeth so tightly a vein popped out on her neck. Unreasonable and unrelenting anger coursed through her, forcing movement into frozen limbs. She cranked the hot water faucet on full force, her eyes glittering with murderous intent. She washed the ants from the few items which had been on the counter, running the garbage disposal in hopes of crushing their tiny bodies to a bloody pulp. 

Grabbing a spray bottle, she filled it with bleach and covered the counter and walls with the poisonous liquid, remembering belatedly to open the window so she wouldn’t poison herself with the fumes.   Screaming like a Ninja, her spray bottle replacing the customary sword, she aimed and shot all over the kitchen, into every crack and crevice until she was certain she had annihilated every one. 

Her maniacal laughter as she cleaned up the resulting mess with paper towels had long since crossed the line of her tenuously held sanity. This wasn’t a time for sanity anyway. She was on a mission to annihilate every single solitary ant who dared invade her private space. She shoved bleach and ant covered towels into a plastic garbage bag. Even when she could no longer see ants, she could feel them crawling on her.

When all evidence of her killing spree was gone, she stripped off her clothes and tossed them into the bag as well. 

Her kitchen smelling like an over-chlorinated pool, she surveyed her work with an almost predatory smile. Leaving the garbage bag lying in the middle of the floor she went to shower off the evidence.  Nearly scalding herself in an effort to rid herself of the feel of crawling bodies, she eventually emerged, clothed in another set of her favorite post-work costume of tank top and flannel pajama pants. 

Intent on taking the bag of assassinated ants to the trash can outside, the now flat bag on the kitchen floor failed to alert her to a slight change in circumstances. But suddenly her overwrought brain registered what she’d failed to notice while intent on the glass of wine she’d promised herself.

Her scream caught in her throat. Her gaze was frozen as a vaguely man-shaped creature filled her vision. The creature’s resemblance to an overly large human male had been enough to stop her in her tracks. But when she recognized its true nature, she fought her instinct to assume the fetal position in the middle of the floor. She turned to run; where, she had no clue. 

A touch on her shoulder told her she’d hesitated too long. The chlorine infused air made her light-headed. The stress of the day exacerbated by her unwelcome visitors was surely making her brain go haywire. Those dead ants could not have reanimated and formed this creature…could they? The pressure on her shoulder increased and she felt herself being pulled backwards. The caustic odor of bleach filled her nostrils, burning her throat as she sucked in a breath. The creature drew her further into its undulating form, consuming her bit by bit. As the tiny bodies swarmed over her face, stealing her final breath, her mind screamed; “I HATE Ants!”


PARTICIPANTS OF STORYTIME BLOGHOP. Visit all our story authors:

Elizabeth McCleary Over James Henry Wilcox Dead Body

Canis Lupus The Picture

Peg Fisher All In the Fall, a Fractured Fairytale

Bill Bush Trapped

Benjamin Thomas Autumn Cascade

Crystal Collier Emily’s Ghost

Viola Fury 911

Juneta Key All Hallows Eve

C. Lee McKenzie Beautiful

Erica Damon Penance’

J. Q. Rose Sorry

Elise VanCise Lady In The Woods

Barbara Lund Spooky Space

Angela Wooldridge Quiet Neighbours

Katharina Gerlach Australian Dream

Karen Lynn The Waves at Midnight

photo credit Alexas_Fotos at Pixaby.com