by Shane Zentz
It started to shake. Only just a little at first, but then, more and more. The air wistled through the cracks in the windows and windsheild. The lights of the others passing lit up the interior. The whole body shook with a dip in the road. The suspension was suspended up and then suspended down, and on so down the road. The smell of burning oil and rotten old metal filled the air inside the car. More shaking and more shaking, and I keep saying, “Just a few more miles, just get me home”! A strange noise eminated from the rear of the car. Somewhere from the rear. An odd noise. A noise never before heard, from this car or from any other. Was it a sign? Was the car finally dying? Would the car make it home? There was that noise again. Only a little louder this time. More threatening. Another light on the dashboard. A new warning light this time. One that has not come on before. One whose meaning was completely unknown. Was it a serious issue or something minor? Did it have something to do with the new noise coming from the backseat? More cars pass by as if the Benz was standing still. Still more cars go by. The Benz is still going, very slowly and very, very unsurely, but still going. Somehow still going. Only a few miles to home now. “Only a little more to go now, just keep going”, I say to the Bad Benz. More smoke coming from the rear of the car and the engine seems even more sluggish now. Sputtering every so often as if trying to take it’s last exhausted breath. How much further could it go? Would it make it home?
So Chang looked over the hill and saw them. Yes he saw them. And they saw him. And they were coming towards him. Why were they coming to him, he wondered? He watched them. He studied them. He admired how they marched all single file, all purposefully. The ‘order’ and discipline was obvious to any open-eyed observer. Chang wondered if they saw him, or if they thought about him like he was not thinking about them? What were they up to? What was their goal? Why do they do what they do? Do any of them not follow directions and orders and just wander off on their own? And if not, why not? All of these questionings and wonderings had made Chang’s head start to spin around and he realized that he would be better off if he sat down. So he sits down. Right on the dirt ground, he sits. All the time he continues to watch them. They were still steadily and surely coming. Were they coming to him? What were they up to? What would they do when they arrived to him? Chang looks up and sees that the clouds have mostly cleared up, leaving just a partly cloudy day. But the sun was bright and strong and hot, very hot today, like most days lately. The drop of sweat rolled down the face of Chang, stingingly rolling its way down his face until finally it reached his neck where it continued it’s slow but steady slide, then it fell right onto Chang’s shirt where it was quickly absorbed by the material which was mostly cotton along with a blend of some other fibers, possibly some man made fibers, and possible some natural fibers. Chang wiped yet another bead of sweat from his forhead. It was getting hotter, and they were getting closer. They were even nearer now. And Chang realized that they would surely reach him very soon. He pondered their lives. How much different were they from himself, he wondered? What would it be like to be one of them, he questioned himself? Maybe it would be good. Maybe it would be bad. Maybe it would be the same. Or very nearly the same. Chang looked back up to the sky and watched a fluffy cloud go slowly floating by. It had a strange shape. Kind of like a duck. No, more like a cross between a duck and a horse. Yes, a duck’s body along with a horse’s head. What a strange combination, Chang thought. Looking back down, Chang saw that they were very, very, very close to him now. They would be right next to him in a matter of seconds, most likely. Yes they were coming now. And then they began to arrive. The first one there walked right up his shoe. And then the second one did the same. And then the third one, and so on. Until there was a whole line of ants crawling up his shoe all the way up his leg. They tickled his skin, but they did not bite. Where were they going, Chang wondered? Why did he allow them to crawl up his leg, he also wondered?