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My bed was covered in ants. I hadn’t left anything out that would attract them. I never kept food in my room. They were big, plump bugs. The wirework of their black legs rustled against my pillow. Their eyes shone like a hundred racked 8 balls. Their movement filled the room with clicky noises as their hard bodies made contact. Tip. Tap. Tip. Tap.

I couldn’t deal with the ants just then. I had to get to work. I’ll call the exterminator later, I told myself. I was overwhelmed. There was never time to accomplish essential tasks such as laundry or making calls after the long workday. But I had no choice, unless I wanted to find a new place to sleep, which I couldn’t afford.

At work my desk, swivel-chair, keyboard, and computer monitor were swarmed with ants too. I picked up the desk phone and found it also infested. Their bulbous faces regarded me from the holes in the receiver.

“Did you leave cookies in your desk?” my coworker asked.

“I don’t think so. Something’s wrong.”

“It’s disgusting.”

I followed a trail of ants to my manager’s office. He was standing on his desk wincing. The floor was a sea of ants. Every inch of carpet was moving.

“Everyone needs to leave,” my manager said. “We need to fumigate the office.”

I evacuated with everyone else and a bushel of ants followed me out to my car.

“Stop following,” I said, but the ants didn’t listen.

At my apartment I called the exterminator and got the machine. We’re busy fumigating an office building right now. Please call back later.

By then the ants had infiltrated the living room, the kitchen, and the bathroom. My roommate came from his room picking ants out of his hair.

“This is your fault. Leave or I’ll have the landlord remove you.”

Fair enough. I fell back to my parent’s house. I was there all of five minutes before the ants had flooded the house and chewed up the furniture. The ants were familiar to me, and I to them. I waved hello and they twitched their pincers in greeting.

“We can’t live like this,” my father wailed. “I’m sorry, but you got to leave now.”

I drove my car (full of ants) down the road a ways. When I ran out of gas I pulled off, got out, and walked. When I got tired of walking I stopped and looked back the way I’d come. A braid of ants stretched down the road as far as I could see. I’d never be rid of them.

I walked a bit farther and came to a clearing off the highway. It was a flat glade. I wandered into it and sat down. A crowd of ants surrounded me. Ran their eyes over me. I was exhausted. I laid down and rested my head in the crook of a tree. The ants walked all over me with their needly legs. They covered me from head to toe. It was pure darkness, and so many ants can get heavy. The next day came and went without my knowledge.