The anthill

estimated reading time: 3 minutes

In the Venice lagoon, there are many small islands, some of them are now abandoned, some others are now luxurious hotels, San Servolo, however, is different. On San Servolo island a lot of students live and study in this magical place. I was one of the 50 students living there.

It was 2020. That year we noticed something strange. Every now and then men dressed in white suits would come on the island, they would check every corner of the island and leave on a luxurious boat. We were very surprised and a little bit worried. Our utmost fear was that our island could become a luxurious 5-star hotel like the others.

One day in the early morning I was walking through the park and I suddenly saw two white-suited men, pointing at a map of San Servolo and saying while giggling: “Oh here we must cut down all these trees, and get rid of all this green, I want a majestic pool with slides! And here I want a huge golden building, terraces with fake plants would be fine. And here we will need a helicopter landing platform.”  The conversation  made me jump, and I felt so angry and at the same time very sad. I knew something bad was about to happen. I wanted to know more. I kept following them from afar.

“And here a huge fountain would be AMAZING.”

“Oh here where there’s this stupid giant anthill, right?”

“Yes, exactly here, I guess we should start and get rid of this horrible, teeming, swarming pile of filth.”

And while saying this the man pulled out an insect gas and started firing gas to death all the ants living in the anthill. I don’t know why I started yelling and I don’t know why I ran towards them. But what happened next was even more uncanny.

As soon as I touched the man to stop him firing gas, all us three got sucked in a crazy fast wind whirl. Everything was turning fast, and I felt horribly weird, I felt my skin was changing and it was like we were sucked by the earth. I wanted to yell but I did not have time to do so. I found myself with the two men in a weird environment, everything was humid and dark, I heard waves in my brain, my body was black, and I felt I was walking not on my legs, but on 6 tiny legs! We had transformed into ants.

We were marching with thousands and thousands of ants, and everyone was hurrying. I began realizing I could feel with antennae and I could intercept information. After a few moments I realized why we were all marching, I understood with horror that we were transporting ant corpses! Those dead ants were the ants that those horrible men had just fired! And we had to take them out of the anthill to the ant necropolis.

What happened in the following months, years, or maybe just hours I had never clearly understood. Especially because my human brain started becoming a fully ant brain. What I know is that one day I went far from the anthill and in the same way I became an ant, I became human again. The white-suited men,  on the other hand, stayed in the anthill forever, they were ants who were specialized in transporting ant corpses out of the anthill, a very tiring but necessary job. When I got back to the human San Servolo I discovered that the project to turn the island into a hotel was cancelled because the white-suited men thought that the island was haunted by kidnapper ghosts. When I was again acquainted  with my human brain, I decided to use the knowledge I had acquired during my ant life and I started studying biology. Nobody could believe my story of course, except the students living on the island. Those students were used to crazy stories and magic things that could happen on the island. Together we created a project to protect the ecosystem of the island.  

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