It was beautiful. Towering over me in alabaster perfection, it was a beacon of hope and prosperity. This marvelous thing was truly a godsend. It would feed my family for days. I took a moment to savor its heady starch aroma, then reverently wrapped my mandibles around a small boss of bread just over my head.
Ahhhhhh… The fragment of crumb tasted as lovely as it smelled. My antennae twitched involuntarily as I delighted in the flavor. My family must have this!
The only problem was the sheer size of the thing. Luckily, bread is not heavy – not like a caterpillar! But the crumb’s diameter made up for that. I did not doubt my strength. I questioned my balance, though, under such a cumbersome load.
I considered hurrying back to my nest to gather a troop. Strength in numbers, as they say. A small group encircling the crumb would make short work of its transportation. It would remain unwieldy, but my family works together like a well-oiled machine. I am not overly proud in assuming we would have no trouble moving this monster!
The crumb was in a poor location, however. Even at my fastest, it was unlikely I’d make it back before someone else had discovered the treasure. Just what I need – drag my sisters out here to find that some sparrow has scooped up our feast. I could only imagine the razzing I’d receive. “Are you sure you really found anything?” No, thank you.
No, there as only one option. I had to bring the crumb back myself. I gazed up again, this time in both adoration and intimidation. Trying not to let myself be distracted by the bread’s fragrance, I walked around it, studying its structure. It was, in no uncertain terms, massive. I fought to quell imaginings of my prospective failure. My compound eyes were not great for seeing detail, but still I examined as closely as possible.
What fortune! There was a flattened, almost concave area on one side of rough sphere. I could surely use that to my advantage.
I lined myself up with the shallow divot, then crawled backwards under it. By pressing my abdomen against the ground, I was able to get directly under the bulk of the crumb. Strange that I live in tunnels underground, yet in that moment I was claustrophobic. My exoskeleton would preserve me if the crumb rolled onto me, so I was in no real danger. I guess you can’t help but imagine the worst sometimes.
Now the tricky part. I bent my back upwards, lifting my head and thorax toward the crumb. My antennae brushed against the bread. Stretch, stretch… Brush aside the voice in the back of my head, telling me to give up, telling me I can’t do it… Stretch… My front legs were well off the ground, and middle ones are on the tips of their claws… Stretch just a little more…
My mandibles grasped the rough surface like a vice. I hung, body curved sharply, painfully. Slowly, gingerly, I pulled downwards. The crumb rolled gradually onto my back. My breathing was labored, I struggled to maintain control. Then it was upon me in all its girth. My legs quivered, not under the crumb’s weight, but under the exertion required to balance. I never would have thought I’d ever wish for more than six legs!
After a few timorous moments, my load and I steadied, and I was able to take a long, deep breath. Now for forward movement. One middle leg, then the other, then a front… My first steps were tiny, millimeter by millimeter, but I dared not chance larger strides. As I started seeing my surroundings change with my progress, my confidence grew. The crumb, delicious treasure, had not shifted. I was flabbergasted and proud! My steps grew larger, and my eyes gleamed with excitement.
Finally I came through a patch of tall grass and emerged in front of my nest. The clearing around our hill was full of my family, busy at various tasks, but as I came into view, a hush swept over the area. The ants nearest me stared blankly at first, but then came rushing to me and took a hold of the crumb. My burdened journey was finished. I let out a reflexive sigh as my body finally relaxed. Several of my sisters descended upon me to groom dust from my face and legs.
I was exhausted. But to know my family was taken care of – there was no greater satisfaction!
via Daily Prompt: Crumb