But A Whimper
Author's note: I wrote this in a little contest my friend and I had to write a good zombie story. I won. I... Show full author's note »
Zombie Ants“Ophiocordyceps unilateralis. It’s a fungus that grows on the underside of leaves that sprout on the forest floor. The humid underside of the leaf puts it in a good position to infect these carpenter ants that live in Thailand. Now, this fungus is not ordinary. When the fungus touches these carpenter ants, it ‘infects’ them. The fungus starts growing inside of them. And this special fungus actually targets the brain of the ant. It takes over. When they’re infected, they are compelled to climb down the stem of the plant. It manipulates the ant into dying. It takes hours. When the ant is finally down the stem, its jaws clench as it prepares to pass. But the fungus still grows. It converts the ant’s insides into sugars so it continues to grow. It goes to the brain. And from there it takes control of the ant’s body. The re-animated body climbs up the plant and into direct sunlight where the fungus breaks out of the body and grows until its climax; the tip of the fungus releases spores. And these spores infect other ants. It’s incredible. Some cases they’ve seen have been entire colonies wiped out from this infection.”
“So they’re like zombie ants?” I asked.
I honestly didn’t care about my father’s work but it’s going to be a while before we get to where we’re going. The open road is relentless.
“Pretty much” said my father. He smiled. He’s a researcher. We’re moving so he can study this stuff he’s talking about. He seems excited. Before I was around, he did some research on a parasite a lot like this one. So when this was discovered, they called him. He knows the most about it, if anything. No one has heard of anything like this happening before.
“So this is why we’re moving? So you can do some more research on this stuff?”
“Yep. I’m sorry were moving buddy but this could really change things. Its incredible stuff.”
“Yeah” I sighed. I’ve had enough now. I’ve been awake for 14 hours and no one can ever sleep comfortably in a moving car. Texting my friends about how bored I am has been my crutch so far. Saying my goodbyes. Telling them how much I’m going to miss my senior year with them. All that crap. While simultaneously humoring my dad with a conversation I’m not interested in. I’ve been hearing about this for months now. My brother Caleb, on the other hand cannot get enough of this stuff. He’s eating it up. Every now and then he’s torn away from his video game by his newfound curiosity and asks his dad questions he’s asked the whole way down here.
“Hey Dad?” asked Caleb.
God. Kill me now.
I interrupted. “I’m going to go to sleep. I’m pretty tired. Night.”
“Goodnight. We’ll be here by the time you wake up.
“Good” I mumbled, and I drift away from consciousness.