It was a chilly winter day, and the blizzard was howling like a banshee. The soldiers crawled out of their chamber and peeked through a crack in the window frame. Winter’s clutch had stifled all that came under its grasp. Disheartened, they returned to their colony empty-handed.
Nylan, the head of the troop, called for a meeting. “The dreaded doom has dawned upon us. Our stocks are about to perish, but stepping out will be unwise. None of us will survive the blizzard; forget about finding food. People who dwell in the cottage above our colony won’t return anytime soon. How do we protect Queenie? I’m lost.”
Following his speech, an awkward silence swept over the colony. Distress and fear muddled their minds. A few brave hearts wanted to try their luck, but Nylan disagreed.
“Death’s deadly fangs will grope us anyway. But it’s better to die amongst friends than rot alone in the snow. Let’s stick together until death gets us, one by one.”
Everyone agreed for they had no option but to wait; certainly for death.
Theri was listening to their banter from a distance. They look like defeated soldiers from a gory battle. I should talk to them and fill their hearts with hope. Off he went inside. Theri was crawling through the lean tunnel when a soldier appeared out of nowhere.
Kchkchkchkchkch…He alerted his troop about the intruder. Within seconds, hundreds of soldiers encircled Theri.
“Stop looking at me as if I’m the last piece of cheese left in the world. I heard your discussion. We are not fond of each other, yet I think you can do wonders if you try.” Stated Theri.
Nylan got upset. “Are you mocking us? We are too tiny to do anything. Leave if you don’t want to become our meal.”
“You are tiny but intelligent. You have excellent night vision; keen senses to communicate and find food. You navigate long distances skillfully and farm aphids for honeydew. You protect the queen, detect predators, carry heavy loads, save the plants by eating pests… What more?”
The troop listened, awestruck. Shortly after a brief discussion amongst themselves, Nylan spoke to Theri. “The tough times hit us hard. Negative thoughts took over and made us feel powerless. Thanks for reminding us of our talents. So…what do you suggest?”
“Let’s check out the kitchen cabinets of the cottage above. Look for holes in the packaged foods and thin cardboard boxes. Crawl in through the broken seams of foil packs. Look for bags of sugar ‘cause they don’t stay sealed for long. I’m sure you’ll find something.”
The scouts went to work with utmost zeal.
“Your words of praise helped us to bounce back with might. Sometimes, Adulation from unexpected avenues can bring back zest like magic.” Queenie expressed her gratitude.
“It did, indeed!”
A long silence. And then a sudden hubbub. The frenzied state screamed of their victory. A shaft of light gushed in, illuminating their path as they marched home cheerfully.
Theri- Theridiidae- cobweb spiders, mostly found in human dwellings throughout the world
Nylan- Nylanderia- a large genus of ants, with species inhabiting in almost all geographic regions.
Note: Spiders and ants are potential competitors and mutual predators. I tried to justify the prompt through this.
Connect with Penmancy:
Penmancy gets a small share of every purchase you make through these links, and every little helps us continue bringing you the reads you love!