Meet Arnie – a headstrong leaf-cutter ant, who’s about to find out what it’s like to go it alone….
“Come on Arnie, put your back into it!” ordered Augusta, “we need a lot more of these leaves to top up the store today!”
Arnie sighed, why did she have to be so bossy all the time? Besides, he was utterly fed up with endlessly carrying leaves to and fro – it was too hot for all that work!
“I’m due a break!” he protested.
“Break! You’ve only just had a break – now quit stalling and get to it!” demanded Augusta.
Arnie shook his head – that was it! That was the last straw! He’d had enough of being ordered about by that power-crazy ant – why did she think she was in charge anyway? Weren’t they all supposed to be equal?! Well, he didn’t see her doing much lifting and shifting!
“Hey Augusta – why don’t you give it a try for a change?” he challenged, stomping up to her.
“We all have a role in this colony and yours is to collect pieces of leaf!” Augusta told him curtly.
“Well, I think it would do you good to do some actual work for a change, rather than just ordering us around all the time!” snapped Arnie.
“How dare you!” bellowed Augusta, who wasn’t used to anyone disobeying her orders; looking Arnie straight in the eyes, she lowered her voice menacingly, “I won’t tell you again…”
“No, you’re right, you won’t tell me again – because I quit! That’s it! I’m outta here!” he declared.
“But you can’t quit! No one has ever quit before! It’s not allowed!” shouted Augusta.
“Just you watch me!” and with that, Arnie marched off.
“But where will you go?” A note of worry was beginning to creep into Augusta’s voice now.
“Anywhere but here!” yelled Arnie, as he headed off determinedly down the tree trunk.
“You’ll never survive on your own out there!” Augusta called after him, hoping he might calm down and come back, but Arnie just waved a leg in the air at her and continued on his way.
“We’ll see about that!” he muttered to himself, angrily.
Augusta gasped as she watched him disappear off – she hadn’t meant for him to go that far! She hurried off down into the colony to tell everyone what had happened.
Arnie was so furious that he found he’d reached the forest floor before he knew it! Pausing for a moment, he looked back up at his home – he could see lines of his co-workers, diligently nibbling away at leaves and carrying the little green sails back up the tree to the nest. They were like robots, he thought, never stopping to rest, just relentlessly busy all day long, every day.
“That’s not the life for me!” he proclaimed. “I’ll show them! I don’t need them anyway! I mean, just how hard can it be? I’m free! Free at last! Forest here I come!” and with that he began making his way bravely through the leaves that were littering the ground, whistling a little tune to himself.
Suddenly, he stopped – he’d definitely heard something! There it was again! Some kind of rustling sound! Out of the corner of his eye, he spotted a nearby leaf moving – leaves don’t move on their own! It looked like something was underneath it. Cautiously, Arnie slowly crept back from the leaf a few paces – it rustled and moved again – then – ahhh! A large shiny beetle came hurtling out towards him, snapping its enormous jaws in the air!
“Help!” cried Arnie, running as fast as his six legs would carry him. He speedily ran up a nearby tree trunk and squeezed himself tightly into a tiny crevice. The beetle followed him, continuing to snap its massive jaws at Arnie – luckily the crevice was too small for it to be able to reach him and eventually, after much pincer snapping, it gave up and went on its way again.
“Wow that was a near miss! Arnie exclaimed, his heart racing. “I think it might be a good idea to find somewhere to shelter,” he thought.
He gingerly emerged and made his way further up the tree. Looking about, he spotted a small hole, just at the end of one of the branches – it looked like a good place to rest.
As he headed towards the hole, he became aware of a strange sensation – it felt like he had been covered in an odd, sticky curtain – he must have walked into it somehow. He tried to move his legs, but his feet were becoming stuck – he wiggled about to try to free himself, but the more he tried to move, the more stuck he became!
A shadow loomed over him and he saw a long, dark, hairy leg stretching out towards him, followed by another.. and another…oh no! Arnie could hardly bear to look, as a large, hairy spider approached him. He desperately wiggled again and again – but in vain –it was no use – he was stuck fast in its web! He closed he eyes tight shut – this was it…..
So, is this curtains for poor Arnie? Find out what happens next week in Arnie’s Alone Blog – Part 2.