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Ants

by Rosewood


Pinpricks. That's what she felt against her bare feet. Tiny flecks of pain that lasted only a moment before fading from her memory. But they were annoying. Samantha looked down, her eyes squinting in the lightless room, to see the small dark spots crawling on her skin.

A small cry escaped her mouth and she fell forward, batting away the small creatures. But with so many, and hundreds more crawling from the grate in the floor, her hands were also soon coated in the tiny bumps left behind from their bites.

Jumping back up, Samantha's gaze flew to reach something to combat them. But the smooth tiled walls left nothing to be taken. Her head spun around and around, looking for a door, a window, or anything to flee out of but each wall was identical to the last- again, offering nothing. Samantha, unable to comprehend what was happening, looked up. The ceiling, too high to reach, was completely covered in a mirror reflecting the small creatures and their direct journey to her.

Samantha's eyes flew open, her body immediately jerking up into a sitting position. Mind racing, she looked around, surprised only to see her bedroom. An illuminated clock flashed with the time. 2:43.

It was only a dream, she thought. But it had seemed so real. Even now, she could feel the growing itchiness on her hands and feet. Samantha grimaced at the idea of falling back asleep, but her eyes soon began to droop. School, she reminded herself. It wouldn't be a good idea to stay awake too long. What did her parents say when she was little? Once you wake up from a nightmare, your brain recognizes that it isn't real and gives you a more pleasant dream. She couldn't remember if that was true or not but it sounded reasonable. She tugged her blanket back up and slowly drifted off.

Sharp stabs of pain. The creatures were back- this time racing quicker up her legs and arms. Samantha cried out, swatting at them harder. When that didn't work, she pushed herself against the wall. Horrified, she realized that everytime she found a new wall to fall back against, the creatures sudden change of of direction almost seemed to grow faster. Not creatures, she noticed, Ants. But these ants came too quickly, with shiny black bodies, and terrifying numbers. The ants remaining on her became to climb onto the edges of her nightgown. The white fabric dotted with blue flowers began to look unrecognizable.

Hands desperately swiping the ants from her close, Samantha forced herself to find a solution to her problem. Where were the ants coming from? The grate! She had to plug it somehow, then squash the ants remaining. Thinking fast, she sat down on top the small slits in the ground and winced when the ants that managed to escape crawled up her back. The once harmless pich of their bites started to feel like a fire erupting all over her. In a panic, Samantha started crushing the ants converging towards her at all angles. Almost like that of a small toddler, she squashed them with balled-up fists and stiff feet. But there was just too many to stop the bites from reaching her exposed neck and crevices in her hair.

A gasp escaped Samantha's mouth and turned into a fit of coughing. She was back in her bed. But the pain was still there- dull and tingling. Reaching down, she scratched her leg and realized there was a series of small bumps coating her skin. The realization hit her like a bus, ad she flew from the covers. Ants, she thought, That's why I was having that nightmare. There were ants in my bed. But it was nearly three in the morning, and she was still exhausted, so there wasn't much she could do about it until morning. She grabbed her blanket wondering if she had fallen asleep next to the bowl of ice cream from the night before. Hadn't she taken care of it though?

In the living room, Samantha took shelter on the couch. It was cool having not been used for hours and felt heavenly against her skin. Even though she had figured out why the nightmares came back and found a temporary solution, she was anxious about closing her eyes. Would the dream return? Perhaps if it were to come back, she would find a way to escape. Yes, that seemed logical. Her eyes drooped and without another reason to keep them open, she finally surrendered to sleep.

Fire burning bright. The pain was like being dipped in lava, boiled over a spit, and stabbed with knives. The ants found their way into her ears, nos, and mouth. She could feel their pinchers boring into her eyes. Her hair twisted and flowed by the movement of thousands of ants crawling around each strand. Samantha tried to scream but instead felt the creatures build up in her throat. Her hands twitched at her sides, unable to pick a place to swat at. She dragged herself from the spot in the grate to a wall and pressed against it as hard as she could. Only one thought raced through her brain. The blanket. She had taken it from her bed with her. If only she could wake up, she would burn it. She would burn everything if it could make everything stop.

With what sight she had had left, Samantha looked up at herself in the mirror above. She was just a figure composed of writhing black dots. Clumps of them began to spill out. She didn't need to guess where they were heading. As she felt herself slipping away, the smallest of giggles escaped her lips. The blanket she had fallen asleep with had tiny images of smiling ants holding up hammers and nails. Their cheerful attitude seemed so cute when she'd gotten it. How ironic.


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Thu Oct 28, 2021 3:08 pm
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vampricone6783 wrote a review...



This was a fun story to read.I wonder if there is more to it,though.What if-this is probably off topic-the house was haunted and it wasn’t just something simple,like having ants in your bed.What if the ants are a bad omen from some vengeful ghost and that was only the first of Samantha’s troubles? Just a thought.Anyway,great story.I hope you have a lovely day/night.




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Sun Oct 17, 2021 3:24 am
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HarryHardy wrote a review...



Good Morning/Afternoon/Evening/Night(whichever one it is in your part of the world),

Hi! I'm here to leave a quick review!!

First Impression: Well this was a fun little story...well not exactly fun, it is horror, but it was an enjoyable read at any rate. I really liked the situation that you created here. There's a very realistic undertone to the whole thing in that despite the craziness of the situation with ants trying to cover this person in bites, its something that one can reasonably assume could happen to them and I think that makes this powerful.

Anyway let's get right to it,

Pinpricks. That's what she felt against her bare feet. Tiny flecks of pain that lasted only a moment before fading from her memory. But they were annoying. Samantha looked down, her eyes squinting in the lightless room, to see the small dark spots crawling on her skin.

A small cry escaped her mouth and she fell forward, batting away the small creatures. But with so many, and hundreds more crawling from the grate in the floor, her hands were also soon coated in the tiny bumps left behind from their bites.


Phew, we have ourselves a strooong start there. Oh wow. When I saw the title I wasn't quite sure what to expect but well this is October I suppose. :D I really like this opening here. It seem normal for a second but we immediately see a sign of something being wrong then before you know it, its escalated. It catches the attention of a reader quite well and I think it's a pretty good start.

Jumping back up, Samantha's gaze flew to reach something to combat them. But the smooth tiled walls left nothing to be taken. Her head spun around and around, looking for a door, a window, or anything to flee out of but each wall was identical to the last- again, offering nothing. Samantha, unable to comprehend what was happening, looked up. The ceiling, too high to reach, was completely covered in a mirror reflecting the small creatures and their direct journey to her.


Oooh, I love how you describe the setting only later. It gives a sort of desperation to the whole thing where she is simply noticing her surrounding only as she is trying to look for an avenue of escape. It really allows you to feel the horror of the ants all crawling on her like and then visualize the full extent of her situation.

Samantha's eyes flew open, her body immediately jerking up into a sitting position. Mind racing, she looked around, surprised only to see her bedroom. An illuminated clock flashed with the time. 2:43.

It was only a dream, she thought. But it had seemed so real. Even now, she could feel the growing itchiness on her hands and feet. Samantha grimaced at the idea of falling back asleep, but her eyes soon began to droop. School, she reminded herself. It wouldn't be a good idea to stay awake too long. What did her parents say when she was little? Once you wake up from a nightmare, your brain recognizes that it isn't real and gives you a more pleasant dream. She couldn't remember if that was true or not but it sounded reasonable. She tugged her blanket back up and slowly drifted off.


Ooooh...so it was a nightmare, I did not see that coming but at least maybe poor Samantha survives this experience. I don't like where this is going though. The way she wakes up like that and ends up rationalizing going back to sleep despite the horrifying nightmare makes me think there will be a sequel nightmare and this time its somehow going to leave a more lasting impression than a small scare and a little bit of itching.

Sharp stabs of pain. The creatures were back- this time racing quicker up her legs and arms. Samantha cried out, swatting at them harder. When that didn't work, she pushed herself against the wall. Horrified, she realized that everytime she found a new wall to fall back against, the creatures sudden change of of direction almost seemed to grow faster. Not creatures, she noticed, Ants. But these ants came too quickly, with shiny black bodies, and terrifying numbers. The ants remaining on her became to climb onto the edges of her nightgown. The white fabric dotted with blue flowers began to look unrecognizable.


Ooooh, you're doing a really good job of showing the poor chaos that can be caused by such tiny creatures when in sufficiently large numbers. Its exactly like one of those scenes in movies where people end up being overtaken by ants and carried off. The gradual way you build up how things get worse for her is especially powerful here. You're doing an awesome job with the description so far.

Hands desperately swiping the ants from her close, Samantha forced herself to find a solution to her problem. Where were the ants coming from? The grate! She had to plug it somehow, then squash the ants remaining. Thinking fast, she sat down on top the small slits in the ground and winced when the ants that managed to escape crawled up her back. The once harmless pich of their bites started to feel like a fire erupting all over her. In a panic, Samantha started crushing the ants converging towards her at all angles. Almost like that of a small toddler, she squashed them with balled-up fists and stiff feet. But there was just too many to stop the bites from reaching her exposed neck and crevices in her hair.


Oooh, this is building nicely. The description of the surroundings from earlier are a tiny bit fuzzy by this point and with the focus being very much on the ants it is a bit tougher to see something like that potential way to survive, but I like how she's trying to think of a way to escape the mess and it all just ends up being overwhelming to the point she's resorting to just lashing out and hoping for the best. So far, its been a nice little series of events with the situation slowly becoming worse for her.

A gasp escaped Samantha's mouth and turned into a fit of coughing. She was back in her bed. But the pain was still there- dull and tingling. Reaching down, she scratched her leg and realized there was a series of small bumps coating her skin. The realization hit her like a bus, ad she flew from the covers. Ants, she thought, That's why I was having that nightmare. There were ants in my bed. But it was nearly three in the morning, and she was still exhausted, so there wasn't much she could do about it until morning. She grabbed her blanket wondering if she had fallen asleep next to the bowl of ice cream from the night before. Hadn't she taken care of it though?


Hmm, I am starting to really like these little breaks we get from the action every so often. It sort of grounds the whole story in a more realistic place and allows us to truly put ourselves in the place of Samantha and I think it does make it more powerful than if this story was just about the ants. Here we get to see something that's more horrifying than a horde of insects could ever be and that's simply being unable to get a peaceful night's sleep :D

In the living room, Samantha took shelter on the couch. It was cool having not been used for hours and felt heavenly against her skin. Even though she had figured out why the nightmares came back and found a temporary solution, she was anxious about closing her eyes. Would the dream return? Perhaps if it were to come back, she would find a way to escape. Yes, that seemed logical. Her eyes drooped and without another reason to keep them open, she finally surrendered to sleep.


Oooh, I love how she then proceeds to change the place she's sleeping in. It's probably not going to do anything, but to see her have some hope as she wished to escape this nightmare really adds to the sort of desperate tone that permeates this whole story.

Fire burning bright. The pain was like being dipped in lava, boiled over a spit, and stabbed with knives. The ants found their way into her ears, nos, and mouth. She could feel their pinchers boring into her eyes. Her hair twisted and flowed by the movement of thousands of ants crawling around each strand. Samantha tried to scream but instead felt the creatures build up in her throat. Her hands twitched at her sides, unable to pick a place to swat at. She dragged herself from the spot in the grate to a wall and pressed against it as hard as she could. Only one thought raced through her brain. The blanket. She had taken it from her bed with her. If only she could wake up, she would burn it. She would burn everything if it could make everything stop.


Ooooh, well it just gets worse. Hmm, considering this is very close to the end, I think you're only going for the pain component, so this isn't as fully horrifying as it otherwise could have been, but it still comes across pretty strongly here and I think the blanket somehow appears to be related to this whole issue here, which is pretty intriguing.

With what sight she had had left, Samantha looked up at herself in the mirror above. She was just a figure composed of writhing black dots. Clumps of them began to spill out. She didn't need to guess where they were heading. As she felt herself slipping away, the smallest of giggles escaped her lips. The blanket she had fallen asleep with had tiny images of smiling ants holding up hammers and nails. Their cheerful attitude seemed so cute when she'd gotten it. How ironic.


Well..this is a fun little ending there as she ends up realizing the reason for her dream going the way it did. I think it closes out nicely with her sort of succumbing to the reasons for her nightmare and maybe powering through it. The ending does happen to be a tiny bit open ended there.

Aaaaand that's it for this one.

Overall: Overall, this was a nice story. I don't really have too much else to say on this. I think it managed to do what it intended and do it pretty well. Aaand that's about all I have to say here. :D

As always remember to take what you think was helpful and forget the rest.

Stay Safe
Harry




Rosewood says...


Thank you so much Harry!! Reading your review, broken down piece by piece really helped me visualize my story and find some areas that readers pick up on or miss and where I need to fix/tweak the wording, (I also happened to see some misspelled words, but we don't have to touch on that lol). I 'll remember what you said going into the second draft!



HarryHardy says...


You're Welcome!!!



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Sun Oct 17, 2021 1:17 am
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Kz says...



Hey! I wanted to say, aside from minor grammar mistakes, this short story was amazing! I really loved it, and even though it wasn't crawl in your skin worthy horror, it was amazingly well written.




Rosewood says...


Thank you! Where did you find the grammar mistakes- I'd love to fix them!!



Kz says...


Hey!!! I love your books! here is your grammar mistakes:
"The once harmless pich of their bites started to feel like a fire erupting all over her."

I think you meant to say "Pinch"

"ears, nos, and mouth"

I think its meant to be "nose"



Rosewood says...


You're right!! I'll be sure to fix that in the second draft-



Kz says...


Anytime! Love ur work!



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Sat Oct 16, 2021 3:02 pm
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Plume wrote a review...



Hey there! Plume here, with a review!

I enjoyed this story!! As someone who doesn't really enjoy insects much, it definitely targeted that fear of being covered in bugs. I thought your descriptions were really nice, and that irony at the end was really nice. I think the flow of the story was really great too, and I didn't find any grammar mistakes, which very much pleased my English-teacher soul.

One thing I did wonder about is if whether you could really go hard with those descriptions. I got a sense of discomfort, but I wasn't exactly crawling in my skin. I want super stark images and sensory figurative language that makes the reader feel like the ants are crawling all over them too. Powerful diction choices can really make or break a piece, and I feel like yours right now are just below eliciting true fear and emotion from the reader. I didn't feel particularly scared. You marked this as suspense, so I feel like if you shorten those paragraphs and really build the environment and describe her feelings and such, it could really build up that suspense.

Specifics

The once harmless pich of their bites started to feel like a fire erupting all over her.


I think you meant to say "pinch" instead of "pich" here.

The pain was like being dipped in lava, boiled over a spit, and stabbed with knives. The ants found their way into her ears, nos, and mouth.


Tiny thing: I think "nos" is supposed to be "nose."

Overall: nice work!! This was a great October read, and I think your descriptions and flow of the story really helped craft a nice scary piece! I hope to read more of your work on here soon! Until next time!!




Rosewood says...


Thanks!




Nothing is impossible, for the word itself says, 'I'm possible!'
— Audrey Hepburn