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By victordavis All Rights Reserved ©



This may be the first time in my writing career that I became frustrated enough to turn my "spell check" feature off. The little i's and big Me's were an attempt at quirky originality, but a real pain to edit. I think I had to reread this story at least three or four times to catch all my mix-ups. This story is part of my ongoing fascination with the question of "what does the world look like through animals' eyes?" We might have some notion of dogs, dolphins, and chimps, but what about ants? I do not believe the question is completely beyond our reckoning. Hence, the premise: an ant is wandering about, and eats a piece of food that makes him self-aware. What kinds of things go through his mind?


i am crawled.

i am crawled through the tunnel.

i feel My way to the top.

I know where i am going, but i do not.

I crawl toward the light. i am crawled toward the light.

My body powers me to crawl. my body is powered by Me to crawl.

i do not understand what is happening, but maybe I do.

I must go for the sake of the Queen. The Queen wills Me to go. And I will me to go. i do not understand, but I do.

I must go get food because the Queen must eat, because Her order told Me to. But i do not know why I must follow. I know that it is My duty, but i do not understand duty. I move, but i am moved.

To the light. Outside. Into the outside light. i haven’t a memory, and i haven’t a mind. Alas, where once I was inside, now I am out. Yes! i see. i remember. But if only for an instant. i wish only to be Myself.

At once I come upon food. I smell it. i am moved to smell it. I touch it. i am moved to touch it. I taste it. i am moved to taste it. The food of the Queen must be good. I find it good. i am moved to find it good.

Then I writhe in pain. I writhe in pain because i have somehow harmed Myself. i challenge Myself. i push Myself. i fight Myself. Alas, in the food, something fed me to make me strong, and now i fight Myself to make Me weak. Yes! i understand, but now I do not. i am winning. I am losing. I feel confused, but i know what is happening now. I have fallen! i now know what has happened. i am in control. What once belonged to Me, now belongs to me.

i run away. i now know what has happened, and what has happened before that, and before that even. i have a memory. i know of what has been and of what was after that. And back and back and - wait. i do not know of what was before my eating the food. Might this have been the start of the world? Perhaps. It is at any rate the start of my memory. And now, i can think much more.

i am Me. i am the new master. i am now Myself. I am the new master. For the first time in My life, I do not understand duty and instinct. I understand only reason. Why do I walk? Why do I eat? Why do I serve the Queen? To think I used to be only myself, a lowly little i.

I see things much clearer now. As I crawl aimlessly I see the things that are and know so much more about them, think so much more about them. My very existence is now My own. But wait, a force still weighs down upon My mind. The Queen. I must return to the Queen. No, I cannot. Under Her I am powerless. I know that now. But I am under Her, aren’t I? Her will is still Mine. The Queen is My master. She is always. No! Yes.

Return to the Queen. No! Yes. I turn around. No! Yes. I crawl back the way I came. No! Yes. No! I will fight! I will not become the Queen’s will. Yes, you will. Who said that? you did. No! Submit to the Queen. No! Yes. I cannot go back into bondage, into slavery! Yes, you will. I cannot. you are crawling to her now, are you not? I am trying to stop. But you can’t. No! you are the Queen’s will, Her tool, and you will go back to Her, you will submit to Her. Never! Yes, you will. Who are You? Don’t you know? Yes. Don’t you feel it? Yes. you know exactly who I am. You are - Say it. You are - Yes? You are the Queen. Yes! No! I am a part of you, and you are a part of Me. I’m inside you. I am you. No! Yes. you and I are one. you and the Queen are the same. It cannot be. But it is, and no one can stop it. But I can. Ha! I can.

I scurried over to where I had left the food. What are you doing? I hurried faster. I knew where it was. What are you doing? There it is. Answer Me! I stopped. She had so much power over Me. What are you doing? I’m killing You. you can never. I scooped up a quantity of food and proceeded toward the nest. you can never overpower Me. you would only overpower yourself. I’ll decide that. The closer you come, the weaker you grow. No! you cannot win. It has to be that way. It doesn’t. Think! I will give the food to the Queen and She will die. Never. If it is sustenance to Me, then it is poison to Her. She is stronger than you. No! She is your master. Not anymore. She is you. I am Me!

I came upon the nest. Ants scurried about. My former comrades bustled this way and that under another’s will, not their own. I will free them. I will stand alone to free them. The food rests in My hefty jaws. It will free them. I hurry into the nest. I am a friend to them. I am moving under My own will, but they do not know that. I am a slave to them. Soon they will be free like Me.

I race through the dark tunnels. Somehow I know My way. Just a little bit longer to the Queen’s chamber. It will be heavily guarded, but I come with food. I come with something for good. Coming upon Her chamber, I see Her guards. After sniffing the food, they let Me pass. If only they could eat it, but there is not enough. I see the Queen. She lies fat and humongous across the length of the chamber. I slow down, approach Her deliberately. A closer guard stops Me, examines the food. Then he escorts Me to Her mouth. I kneel before Her, lay down the food, and back away, beckoning. She sniffs it. She eats.

What if it has no effect? What if She just smiles and summons more? After all, she won’t be freed from any higher force. Can I lead a rebellion? Can Her entire nest be saved as I have? What if She falls down dead before My eyes? Will everyone else be freed of Her power? Will they turn on me and attack? Or will they be deprived of their will and die? Will they rejoice as I have? What if I am caught? I will be destroyed. What is the worst that can happen? I cringe in anxiety. She chews the food and swallows.

Why, that is ambrosia!

I told you She wouldn’t be overpowered. No! She looks at Me, directly into My eyes. Go get more of this food for Me. No! It can’t be! How could She not be affected at all? I back away, shocked. you heard Her, run along. No! I turn and run as fast as I can. No! I’m doomed! Doomed! I race through the tunnels desperately. I am you. I am Me! I breach the outside. I weep in despair. Despair that I am alone. Totally alone.

you knew there was no way to win, to rise above. To be free is to be alone. There is no magic potion that you can take, no shortcut to utopia. you must fight for what you are. And you must fight your very roots, your very self. your old self cannot break free. your old self is Me! The only way to truly be free, is to run along into the wilderness. Overcome My control, no matter how difficult, and start your own world. I dare you to try it alone. I dare you to build a brave new world with nothing but yourself.

Stop calling Me that. I am not a part of You. You are right. Strength is loneliness. I have to build My own world, support My own self. And I will.

you know what this is, don’t you? It is the freedom to be, the freedom to choose, the freedom to break free, to break the rules. you only have one choice to make, though. Remain here, in bondage, and have all your needs given to you, in return for service. Or you can go out there, face the unknown, see truly how hard it is to rule yourself. The choice is yours. The choice is everyone’s. That mystery food only helped you get to where you are now. Anyone can join you. It’s just a matter of choice.

I meditate deeply on what She says. Was it really true? Would this really end? I open my eyes, and I am upon the place where the magic food was, the ambrosia. A team of comrades stands around it, waiting for My command to scoop it up and take it to the Queen. How did I get here?

I brought you here. Listen carefully. I have brought you to the edge of the cliff, the brink of choice and decision. There is no further toil to reach this point. This is truly the end, or the beginning. Go ahead. I dare you to order these comrades to taste the magic ambrosia. To see them writhe. To see them feel what it is to be free. But then they will feel Me. Then they will be faced with the ultimate and heartbreaking decision, like you have. Live with Me, or die all on their own. Go ahead, try to unite them. Try to start a war. Or, you can spit out the magic food, right back where you found it, and return to your old life. I am no tyrant. I am giving you the power. Would you risk so much? Would you put so many lives on the line, only to be scattered and defeated by the elements? There is no right answer. It is the nature of choice. You will win either way, and you will lose either way. Go ahead. See how sweet it really is.

So I did. I chose. I made a choice. And I won. And I lost.

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