I zoom in to the glassy window from the vantage room on the ninth floor. I notice some movement. Suddenly, the spooky procession comes to view. All decked in black, each member of the solemn gang stretches out a white candle. The white torches and the light they bear seem to be momentarily fixed as the clique trudge on in deafening silence. Questions and emotions hang like wet clothes in the damp air. What has happened? Why the sad look on their faces? I zoom closer to resolve the mystery that has now piqued my curiosity.
There in front is the big one. I quickly assume he is the leader of the cult. He leads the long crooked file holding on to an object – it looks like a picture frame. Someone must have transitioned to the world beyond. Eeyah! It must have been a dearly beloved brother or sister. I strain my eyes further; maybe I could just view the image on the picture frame. I do not see a human being; it isn’t a gorilla either… Alas! There in the frame is a soldier ant! The other men in black are nothing but soldier ants. Soldier ants armed with dirty white grains of sugar.
“Hey, Time’s up boy! I want to lock the laboratory,” the Lab attendant’s stentorian voice jabs my middle ear, sharp and peremptory. I quiver, withdraw my head, and promptly drop the magnifying glass – my window into the world of the black insects. “Good day, sir!” I mutter as I avoid staring for too long into his eyes and walk briskly out of the laboratory. I hurry down the stairs, and unto the dancing sunshine of the summer afternoon. Sunshine and smiles.
I cross from left to right on the boulevard, my shadow bobbing in front of me. The leaves rustle as the birds flutter through the trees, some singing melodiously, others squawking. The air smells of melting bitumen as heat waves form a pool of water form a mirage. I recall the adventure at the Lab and think to myself: Tomorrow, I will return to Insectopia.
Moyosola Tugbobo is a freelance writer who lives in Lagos, Nigeria. She studies English (Arts) at the University of Lagos.
Edited by: Gbenga Awomodu