Greetings and salutations, faithful reader! Welcome back to Story Time With Tim! I’m Timothy Scott Purvis and I’m pleased you could join me on another offering this week! This one is all about a special effects man who has to deal with an ant infestation. Once upon a time, it was a contest entry. Now, it’s just another tale in my arsenal of tales. And I hope you’ll enjoy it!
Stay tuned for after the story for links where you can find this work if you feel inclined to support the cause. And I really hope that you do! So, without further ado, ‘Dark Queen’:
ABOUT A MILLION little carcasses laid scattered and crinkled all across the floor. Perhaps it was an exaggeration, perhaps it was not, but regardless, the tiny ants were all dead. This satisfied Nathan to no extent.
The blasted nuisances had been pouring into his house for weeks and he’d gotten tired of it. So, in an effort to relieve himself of those annoying pests, he’d gathered up a load of supplies: different bug sprays, various poisons, some acids, and a container and timer instruments. He was a demolitions specialist for a local FX company and had studied chemistry in college, so he was well versed in the creation of explosives and chemical reactions. Creating a bug bomb posed him no real problem.
Since standard off the shelf materials weren’t working and eliminating his pest problem, Nathan had decided to make his own. He set it up in the basement, hit the timer, and let it go off five minutes later. They’d died instantly.
He stood there, on the bottom most step in the basement, staring at the carnage he’d unleashed. A single light bulb slowly drifted through the air near the ceiling where it hung by a makeshift electrical cord. A pale yellowish light cast shadows beyond the stacked boxes and junk around the room. After a moment, Nathan gave a happy sigh and turned back upstairs. The matter of why the ants were coming in was of no consequence to him. They were gone now. That was plenty enough knowledge. He turned out the light and shut the basement door behind him, leaving the dead ants to their dark destinies, and determined he’d clean them up later.
Nathan walked down a short hall and into his kitchen. Sitting down at the table, he smiled and picked up a fork. He’d made dinner not long before but had decided to check on his infestation problem first while it cooled a little. Satisfied, he prepared to dig in. That’s when he heard the scratching. Exasperated, he slammed his fist on the table.
The scratching persisted. He stood up and walked back down the hall. He stared at the basement door incredulously. The sound was coming from the basement. Nathan opened the door and turned on the light. Once more, he crept down to the basement. Walking down the steps he came to the bottom and looked around. The sound had stopped. The ant carcasses still laid there silently. Nothing moved save the slightly swinging bulb. He looked at it.
Why does it always do that? It seemed as though that the slightest movement set it swaying. Sighing and shaking his head, Nathan stepped down and peeped around boxes and old furniture. He stood silent for a moment and heard nothing. Taking another step, a crunch pierced his ears. Ick.
Returning upstairs, Nathan slammed the door behind him and went back to his meal. His fork was almost to the plate when the scratching echoed through the house once more. It was louder this time and had a more ominous quality (not unlike someone digging nails through stone). A clatter ruptured the air immediately before him and Nathan nearly jumped out of his chair alarmed. He looked down and realized he’d dropped his fork onto the plate.
“Great. Scare the crap outta yourself with a fork why dontcha?”
He heard the scratching become louder and there was the sound of shifting stone in the basement. Nathan swallowed hard and pushed himself away from the table. He stared down the hall, seemingly dark now. Well, at least darker than it had been. He glanced out the kitchen windows and noted all the lights outside were out making the night even blacker. An alarm sounded in his mind. He felt the urge to run out of the house and get away. But his house seemed to be the only one with lights. There’s no way I’m going out there…
Something shifted in the basement and then quick skittering rang out. A snarl brewed on Nathan’s face and he stood up in anger.
“I will not be afraid of my own house!”
Nathan stomped towards the basement door and thrust it open. His hand shot out and flicked on the light. He stood there at the top step looking down at the basement floor. The hanging light swung steadily. And then swung slightly faster. And then faster still. Light from below bounced back and forth erratically bathing the basement in tones of yellow and black as shadow and light fought for dominance.
After a moment, he worked up his nerve to descend the stairs. He crept down till once more he stood on the bottom step. The bulb had returned to its normal swing. Looking around in puzzlement, Nathan saw that all the ant carcasses were gone.
There was no sign of any of them. An itch of trepidation crawled up his spine, causing Nathan to turn back the way he’d come. Three steps up, he paused. The door at the top was shut and he knew he’d left it open. Sweat beaded on his brow and then the scratching returned. It was loud. And it was behind him. He didn’t want to turn around.
Shallow gasps of air escaped his lungs as his brain throbbed. A voice reverberated in his skull. You are as all your kind. I had hoped for more. So much the better.
Nathan’s jaw trembled and his body quaked as he turned back towards the basement, his hands gripping the handrails of the stairwell tightly, knuckles whitening. There upon the basement floor stood a massive ant the size of a rottweiler. Its deep, black eyes bore into his head. Its flesh was tinted an iridescent purple. A gentle clack broke the dark silence as the ant’s mandibles joined together.
Nathan stepped back, up the stairwell, but an invisible force held him bound as if his mind was no longer his own. He couldn’t think. Fear paralyzed his rationality. Looking at it, Nathan had a sense that it could understand him, knew him. He didn’t know why, but he felt he had to speak out loud, if only for his own sanity.
“Wh, what… do you want?” he plead desperately.
Nathan winced not understanding. Its voice was in his head. “The same… as what?”
It was a struggle to talk. The giant ant clacked again and almost seemed to laugh. It was a terribly vicious laugh, if a laugh it was, with a notably feminine quality.
As what you want. To end this infestation. She stared at him, a malicious smile was there, even if her countenance could not display it. He shuddered uncontrollably. You invade our homes. We move farther away. Your communities grow larger and come again. Again, we move on to another place free of your kind. And yet, come you again.
The elders insist we move deeper underground. That we leave you to your own mechanisms. But not I. Not I!
“What do you want from me!?” Nathan screamed.
She stared at him emotionlessly. A dark queen glaring at a worthless subject undeserving of acknowledgment. Darkness engulfed his mind and, when his consciousness returned, he was standing in the middle of the town square with tens of thousands of people gathered around him in jubilation. Something was around his waist and he just barely was conscious of his hand on a cord attached to that object. Oh God!
He knew then what he’d done. Knew that an explosive filled with his special concoction was on him. That he planted similar devices around the city and that each was awaiting the signal from a single tug of that cord. Nathan tried to stop himself. However, who he was, was no more. The string came free. It was New Years’ Eve and everyone screamed “Happy New Year!”
* * *
ABOUT A MILLION little carcasses laid scattered and crinkled up all across the ground. The ant sat motionless on a building top staring silently at the carnage she’d unleashed below, a deep sense of satisfaction welling within her soul. Dark clouds scattered the new day’s sky, casting intermittent sunlight across the silent city. It reminded her of a light bulb listlessly swaying in motion upon a makeshift cord.
So brings to an end another week of story telling and fun! Though, there is still Left of Midnight to support, you know? Read it, comment on it, share it, tell the world about it! Just know that it’ll be coming soon and I’ll share the link on this site once the book is up and ready for purchase!
If you enjoyed ‘Dark Queen’, here’s where you can find it available for purchase:
Tales From A Strange Mind Volume One:
Paperback edition: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0848P91BK/ref=dbs_a_def_rwt_bibl_vppi_i18
Volume three of Three Short Stories can be found here—>https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B08KPLH6KY/ref=dbs_a_def_rwt_bibl_vppi_i5
Thanks for reading and read to you again soon, folks!
~Timothy S Purvis
Did you know I released several books this year alone? Man, I’ve been a busy beaver! Here’s a link to one of the latest now!