Faithful Insects

August 24, 2010
Paul looked at the ants. The colony had been ceaselessly laboring since their arrival; they carried food, dirt, even their dead comrades. Sometimes they simply scurried around—but they still looked motivated. Paul sat, clutching his knees close to his chest, and wondered what drove these creatures.

“Paul! Get away from there! We haven’t finished back here, and you know that.” A pasty man nearing middle age had intruded upon the shady arbor behind the unfinished garage. Not receiving any acknowledgement, Paul’s father shifted his substantial weight and stupidly repeated, “You know that.”

Paul looked up from his comfortable moment of introversion with distaste written on his features.

His father stared at him blankly, stupefied. “The Welcoming Ceremony—“ He paused to see if he had triggered anything in his son’s mind, “We’ll be leaving shortly.” Giving Paul a final disconcerted glance, he cautiously retreated to the smooth driveway—away from the uncertain space behind the garage.

Once the large family had been loaded into the car, and he had assumed his usual place pressed against the window, Paul’s mind began to spin. His brother, who was almost an exact replica of his father, breathlessly oozed into Paul’s seat, further pushing him against the side of the vehicle. His mother (who was sporting a dusty green jacket with prominent shoulders, giving her a masculine look) kept up a shrill monologue—reminding them to wear their cross pins, insisting on how fun the ceremony would be, and how positively sure she was that they were going to be late. His father wordlessly drove them closer to the Church, silently mouthing his wife’s words, and occasionally wiping perspiration from his upper lip.

Paul felt trapped.

He wanted to rip open the door and scream at the top of his lungs, but he knew that outside would be just as bad. The pale passerby would simply regurgitate the same actions, going through identical motions, reeking of recycled personality.

The car came to an abrupt stop in front of an imposing building—the Church’s dirty white stucco was cracked in countless places, and a grim red Cross stared down from the exact center of the structure. Unperturbed, the family squeezed out of the car and waddled up the steps.

Paul slipped away and settled himself on the curb. With the Church in sight, his family had engaged in an ungainly free-for-all, hardly noticing his absence. He guessed that faith was the only thing they were passionate about, facing all other elements of their existence with utter apathy.

A colorful Pamphlet in the gutter caught his attention. In the Photograph, rosy-cheeked youth smiled purposefully, clutching each other’s shoulders and wearing the same grin. The text bluntly demanded his soul. He knew what motivated the ants, and it was sadly disappointing.

Paul didn’t belong to the youth group. In fact, he was terrified of the youth group. He had watched his friends, his companions in innocence, gradually become picked off by the incessant demand for faith. Now they were all stuffed with the same doctrine, it was rapidly gorging their bodies and decaying their minds.

Paul turned his attention toward this unstoppable force, and let his bodily will flow into opposition of it. The exertion mounted, far beyond what he expected; the blinding force almost killed him. Feeling unbearably weak, Paul slumped over and fell into the gutter.

People saw the creature in the gutter and were momentarily infuriated. Then, they clasped their crosses, pretended not to notice that which disturbed them, that which nagged at the periphery of their consciousness, and scurried onwards to the welcoming ceremony.

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Babylufin said...
Sept. 1, 2010 at 5:11 pm

Awesome!! :) I really enjoyed it! And it's written awesomely! Haha.

Please take a look at some of my work, and post a comment if you wanna! :)

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