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The Picnic

The sun shined brightly as he laid out the picnic blanket. He took a moment to fuss over the wrinkles until the blanket was flat and straight. When he was satisfied he sat down and pulled his wicker picnic basket towards him. He started gingerly placing its contents around him within easy reach.

Every dish was prepared to perfection. Every ingredient, specially selected. The vegetables came from the best local farmers in the area. The fruits, from the best orchards. The meat and organs, from the most irritating people he’d encountered. Not all of them were prime specimens, but his skill in the kitchen more than compensated for the lesser cuts.

Once his buffet was placed in the most pleasing way, he rubbed his hands together in gleeful anticipation. This would be a meal fit for kings. He only had to decide what to eat first.

“Ouch!” He slapped his arm. When he removed the arm, a giant red ant well to the blanket. “Nasty thing…” He snarled. He shrugged and refocused on his food. He reached towards the roast he acquired from his next-door neighbor… “Ouch!” He slapped the back of his neck. He looked at his hand. Another red ant. He gritted his teeth. He must have settled near an anthill. He was considering packing up and choosing another spot but was irritated the ants didn’t respect his moment. “Ouch!” He yelped again. His rage flared and he killed another ant.

With a huff, he began to stuff his supplies back into his basket when the center of his blanket moved. He froze and watched the spot. Unsure if he was seeing things. The blanket remained still. He shook his head and returned to packing. The center of the blanket bulged up as if something had hit it from below. He stared at the spot. This time knowing he did not imagine it. “Ouch!” His concentration was broken by another ant on his ankle under his pant leg. “Ouch!” Another bite. Another. Another. Then another. Suddenly his was slapping away ant after ant. They were everywhere. Crawling over his blanket the unpacked food and him.

He jumped to his feet. He scratched and swiped as he felt their tiny legs all over him. Their stinging bites leaving large red welts. He figured he looked like a mad man, thrashing around the way he was, but with every bite, he cared less. His terror mounted, then, just as suddenly as they had overwhelmed him, they stopped. They simply crawled off of him. He stood confused. His body enflamed with fire bites, his breathing heavy.

“I wonder if the people you eat were as scared as you were just now.”

The voice startled him. He spun around. He didn’t see anyone at first.

“Down here.” The little voice said.

He looked down and saw a little girl in a blue flowered dress, with her fiery red hair in pigtails and bows.

He blinked at the little girl. “What?”

She smiled a rosy smile. “I don’t feel the need to repeat myself. I’m pretty sure you heard me.”

“Who are you?" He scowled. “Where are your parents.”

“I don’t have any parents. I was raised in the wild.” She said cheerfully.


She sighed in frustration. “You heard me. I was raised in the wild. The wild and the creatures in it love me and do anything I ask. As long as I say please of course.”

He stared at her unsure what to say or do. This was not something he was prepared for. He shook his head and cleared his thoughts. This little girl knows about him. Doesn’t matter what kind of tales she likes to spin. He’s going to have to kill her.

He focused on the little girl again. She was staring at him. She did not appear to be bothered by him in the slightest, and that made every instinct he owned flair up. Every fiber of his being screamed at him to let it go and leave. But his ego would not allow him to run away terrified of the little girl in pigtails.

She watched his face and smiled as if she knew what had just gone through his mind. “Don’t worry.” She said, “I’m not the one you need to be scared of.”

He heard it before he saw it. The ground began to shift behind him. He turned around just in time to see his picnic blanket tear in two as the largest fire ant he had ever seen charges up from the earth. It was the size of a mastiff dog. It charged at him. He turned on his heels and ran for all he was worth. He could hear the ant closing in on him. He could hear the six hairy legs scuttling towards him, the pinchers on its face opening and closing with anticipation of its meal. The ant bit into his leg sending him to the ground. It crawled on top of him. He hit and kicked trying to break free. But it had him. It bit him again.

The fiery pain spread through his whole body. It hurt so much he stopped moving. He laid frozen in pain for what seemed like forever until he realized he was being dragged back the way he had come. He saw the little girl standing over him watching as he was dragged past. She giggled. “Serves you right being a bad man. Now you get to feed my friends.” His eyes stayed on the little girl, frozen in confusion, pain, and fear. He watched her until the ant dragged him to the earth for dinner.

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