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Saturday, February 26, 2011

Ants- Chapter 3

Chapter 3 of Ants, coming up!
Enjoy the story!
(By the way, who's feeling scared for the ants right now? Post a comment if you are!)

   Thomas clung to the railing, stupefied. Suddenly, his mind was alert again. ‘Get a sifter to clean out the pool!’ he told himself. Forgetting about his mother, he ran out into the storage shed to get a sifter. 
   Once inside, he looked around. He'd seen his father do this so many times, yet he still didn't know exactly where his father kept the tools he used. He suddenly spotted a pole in a corner and picked it up, hoping it was the sifter he was searching for.
   It was. Unfortunately, a rat raced out once the pole was gone from the corner. 
   Thomas flinched at the sight of such a disgusting creature, yet he was able to retain his composure. Clumsily walking out of the shed, he wondered what to do with this large pole. Was he required to hold it as he would a mop or a hockey stick or possibly a billiard stick? He stared around helplessly until he made up his mind and just focused on getting the filth out of the pool and onto the floor.
   Half an hour later, limbs aching, he sat down on a lawn chair beside his pool. He finally remembered why he hardly ever bothered working. Realizing this, Thomas knew that his mother hadn’t even been watching him. He groaned and sank down his chair. All that work and he wasn’t even going to get the credit for it!
   Coincidentally, Thomas was feeling too sorry for himself to notice that the pile of ants he had sifted out of the pool were gaining consciousness.
   Annetta was feeling depressed. Since the last battle, at least 50 more ants had fallen into the Waters, most of them her good friends. Curse those enemy colonists!
   She waved her antennae around and found Commander Fleu in front of her. “Any news on the enemy, Commander?” she queried.
  Commander Fleu turned around. “Not yet. It’s a surprise those dim-witted spies that we sent aren’t dead yet. What kind of soldier can’t sneak around without being caught?”
  Annetta chuckled. Of course, that had been a joke. She noticed Commander Fleu tense up unexpectedly. Momentarily, she too sensed something strange.
  “What is that?” she asked, nervously, before gasping.
  “Crane, is that you? The soldiers all told me that you had drowned in the Waters long ago!” said the Commander, scampering up to touch antennae with the ant that had just appeared nearby.
  “Spread the news. The white witch is back,” said Crane before collapsing.
  ‘The white witch?’ thought Annetta. She couldn’t tell if this was good or bad news. The last time soldiers had mysteriously reappeared after drowning, they had connected it phenomenon to the old white witch legend. Soon after, however, the newly recovered ants and even innocents had disappeared, apparently for no reason whatsoever. Annetta shivered. She knew something bad was going to happened, but of what manner she couldn't tell. She didn't like that.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Ants- Chapter 2

Here I now present the second chapter in my story: Ants
The action has begun to build up.
Enjoy the story!

   Thomas was desperately trying to stay afloat in the shallower side of  his pool. A week after his infamous ant hallucination, his mother had been convinced that he badly needed “motivation” for working out. As if she ever bothered to stray from her day to day routine to even visit the gym!
   The least she had allowed him to do was spend 20 minutes a day in the pool. Unfortunately, their pool’s “shallow” side was consisting of five feet of water and Thomas was rather short for his age. Rather than risk drowning, he clung to the sides, making sure that his face was not dampened the slightest bit. Oh, if only Mother tried to swim in a day like this!
   Luckily, his mother was not watching him that day. If she was, there was no doubt she would disapprove of him wasting time soaking his body in the water. He looked around to see the easiest way to get out of the pool quickly when he noticed several dark spots on the surface of the pool. Taking a closer look, he realized they were ant carcasses, floating.Was it possible that he, in fact, hadn't been dreaming and there really had been something strange going on that day? He blinked, analyzing the situation, before thinking better of it and going back to trying to escape the pool.
   The colony was devastated. They had lost the most recent battle, with at least 50 dead and more injured, most of them in the Great Waters. Unfortunately, without wings, they all drowned.
   Annetta was still on forage duty, looking for bits of food to feed the soldiers with. She knew that this was an  important job, but it was so tedious!
   Sensing a rustling in the grass ahead of her, she peeked and was relieved to see that it was just the medical adviser, Left. He was a friendly and well-to-do ant, if not with a strange and slightly annoying sense of humor. Still, he was one of her better friends.
   She didn't know exactly why, but she hesitated, antennae waving in the slight breeze before scurrying up to him.
  “What are you doing outside the Hill?” she asked.
  “There was a soldier coming back from the Waters. Apparently, he broke two back legs climbing out, though how he could possibly get out after falling from such a height is a mystery. Perhaps the white witch saved him.” he joked.
   Annetta remembered that story. All the ant larvae were told the tale when they were in their infancy:

 Once there was a mischievous ant who frequently ventured outside of the Hill. She could have become a brave warrior, yet she chose instead to dedicate her life playing games and fooling around. One day, against her elders' warnings, she went to explore the Great Waters. Naturally, she strayed too far from the safe ground and fell in, with no one expecting to see her ever again. However, against all odds, the ant came back a few days later, albeit dragging her broken legs and an antenna, claiming to have been saved by some mysterious large white object, soft in nature, yet wicked in mind. 

   Annetta unknowingly shivered, before nodding back to reality.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Ants- Chapter 1

Here's my new short story: Ants
I'll be posting it one short chapter at a time.

  Thomas wasn’t ever much of a nature person. Constantly staying indoors had paled his skin until he looked more like a nocturnal than a diurnal. Even in the summer, when most kids ran outside to play in the sun, Thomas stayed inside his house, reading or playing video games. Naturally, one day his mother got so aggravated she forced him outside to play in his pool.
   Now Thomas was sitting under an umbrella slathered with sunscreen, with his feet in the water reading a book. He was so absorbed in his present task that he didn’t even  notice when black ants began crawling up his leg.
   By the time he finished reading, the ants were all around him, including in his shirt and pants. Thomas looked down to see what the tingling was all about and naturally was surprised to see the insects crawling about. In fact, he became so surprised that he fell into the pool.  Luckily, his book was only partially wet as it didn’t drop in with him, especially since it was borrowed from his public library.
   “Help! Someone save me!” he cried as he desperately tried to remove the ants from his body while at the same time trying to stay afloat.
   Barely a moment later, his mother came running down the steps of their porch. She was surprised to see that Thomas seemed to know how to swim.
   “Tom, maybe you should spend more time out here instead of staying cooped up all day.”
   “That’s hardly the point, Mom!” he sputtered. “There were,” He looked around. “They’re all gone!”
There was no trace that any ants had ever been on him or in the pool.
   Annetta was late. Maybe too late. Her Commander had called for her minutes ago, while she was still resting from having dragged some strange human food into storage. It couldn't have been her fault that she was assigned one of the largest crumbs to take care of.
   “Reporting for duty, Commander,” she said, running up to Commander Fleu, making sure to retain her composure. Her Commander was a strict ant, even with his unfortunate short-term memory lost.
   “You’re late. The rest of the soldiers have already gone out to attack the rivals. Unfortunately, they tricked us into crawling on to a human. Most unfortunate, the lost,” Commander said.
   Annetta became confused as to why he called for her. Suddenly, she realized.
   “Um...what can I do?” asked Annetta, already dreading the answer.
   “Eh? Why don’t you forage for a while, see if there’s any food for the soldiers.” he answered, barely noticing her as he turned to another ant scurrying up to him.
   Annetta grumbled to herself as she scuttered off.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Static electricity

Did you ever notice how when it's completely dark and you're sliding into bed, that bright green sparks suddenly appear? How about associating these sparks to electricity?
   I just realized that by rubbing hard enough, you can get the same spark that-in a possibly larger scale-start a fire! Only it would be bad to set yourself on fire while sleeping. Of course, most of you are already wondering how boring this post could be, but remember-static electricity is the same concept that allows balloons to stick to walls and socks to stick to your clothes after coming out of the dryer! Maybe it might not be interesting and maybe it might be possibly the most annoying concept ever known to man, but it does have a reason for its existence and deserves to be understood. 
Pluses are positive, minuses are negative
   Basically, for static electricity to occur, there first has to be a charged object. This can be accomplished by rubbing two objects together, thus creating a charge through friction. On each individual atom of one object, the electrons begin to move to the other object, causing one to become positively charged and the other to become negatively charged. Imagine this as a piece of cloth with a smiley face (positively charged) and a balloon with a frowning face (negatively charged). 
   Since opposites attract and likes repel, the balloons attract and cloth attract, but two charged balloons repel. So when you push a balloon to the wall, through a process called induction, all the electrons on the wall are pushed away, making the wall positively charged and your balloon stuck!
   Of course, even though this static electricity is capable of giving you a nasty sting, it's not comparable to what would happen if you stuck your finger in an outlet. While static electricity is slow, current electricity (the type that you get from an outlet) keeps coming. While static electricity gives you a nasty zing, current electricity would travel through your entire body, burning as it rampaged. While static electricity is like dripping water one drop at a time, current electricity is like turning on a hose full blast!
   I've recently heard that the world's largest Van de Graaf generator (a static electricity dohicky invented by Dr. Van de Graaf) is on display at the Boston Museum of Science. You sure wouldn't want to get near that piece of machinery since it can generate up to 2 million volts!


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