3rd Conditional

The ant nest stood in the corner of the playground away from the courts and equipment
For months it had grown and flourished underground without any resentment, judgement or threat
An ill-timed, mis-aimed full-power shot sent the football in that direction
Unfortunately for everyone, including the ants it was Jacob’s turn to fetch
The ball sat firmly on top of the hill and had picked up a couple of passengers
Jacob, always one to overreact, picked the ball up in disgust
He cussed the strongest PG words and grimaced at the beasts
The ants felt the brunt of Jacob’s middle finger as he picked them one by one
And flicked
Quick, the ants tried to run but found themselves back where they’d begun
The sphere a limited arena but no gladiator they had become
Except one
The heftiest of the ants, reddish brown the colour of brick
Managed to run up a nail and give the hand a little nip
Jacob dropped the ball and gave an unconventional yelp
And with flailing arms and repelling legs went running back to his friends
“Help!” He screamed and cried, but this was nothing new
No other kid was concerned for him not even his best pal Jordan
“Get the ball back Baby Jake” the other guys were shouting
“But can you come with me everyone? These evil ants need sorting!”
Snorts and moans and groans was the reception that came back
“They won’t attack if you just leave them, don’t be such a knob.”
Jacob whispered to Jordan “Will you come get it with me?”
Jordan complied but only because he knew how difficult Jacob could be
“Right, as many ants as you can see we’ll try and stamp them out”
“I just want to play footie, no one cares about the ants”
“These little shits will bite us all if we don’t act right now
Look! They’re all around the opening, I’ll give you a quid if you help”
“A quid? Yeah alright” Jacob knew that Jordan would never turn down a quid
They stamped and smashed away grinding ants into the ground
Until the gladiator returned and ran up Jordan’s shoe
He climbed inside the sock and started taking multiple bites
Jordan shot to the floor gripping his ankle
As a handful of ants marched into his pockets
Jacob and Jordan stood in the headmaster’s office demanding that the nest be destroyed
The boys were told to leave it alone and no more harm would be done
Back in the classroom Jacob tried to borrow a deodorant and lighter
He knew who had each but no one was willing to join his cause
The ants filed out of Jordan’s pocket and focused on a table of four
They slowly climbed up the trouser legs and in sync sinked their tiny fangs at once
The whole table jumped, as did Jacob’s ears and started to interrogate
“Don’t talk to the head, he’ll do nothing, just get me a spray and a flame”
At break time 7 or 8 young kids were standing around the ant nest
A can of Lynx Africa was hovering over it’s entrance waiting for a spark
Jacob sprayed and sprayed as the others giddily laughed
“A victory for all the kids today, the ants are dead at last!”
But of course the anthill was hardly damaged a centimetre from the surface
And the ants were furious
And they waited for the next bell ring
When it finally came it chimed and echoed around the nest
A call to arms
A starting gun of retaliation
A single vein extended out of the mouth, stepping over the charred remains of their fallen comrades
The vein branched off and then again
The colony the roots, the playground the earth, the ants tactically dispersed
Three girls were practising a dance routine
6 kids were playing ticky-it
Others were pretending to be Avengers
Every kid got bit
A chorus of cries and wails and moans rang through the air
Every pupil ran inside and the ants hugged and cheered
A small victory and a retreat back to the nest
Those kids will think twice before they mess with us again
Celebrations underground getting back to how it was
Until
The rumbling of a bubbling shook the nest as the water trickled down
The burning, suffocating, drowning liquid was inescapable as it crept into every corner and cave
Months of work destroyed in an instant and a million lives lost
Disaster, tragedy, genocide, atrocity
The school janitor slouched and yawned as he emptied two full kettles into the holeIMG_5344


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