Rejection Letters

Multi-Sentence Story About Ants

When you spot a block of text without periods or semicolons, you question your decision to plunge into this spiraling stream of consciousness disaster.

You, the social outcast ant, crawl in, unaware of where these underground tunnels lead. Your olfactory receptors pick up on sugar and you end up following the well-trodden trail to a discarded donut on the ground. Everyone swarms over the sweet, including you, and you are happy to know the trail back is marked by more than one ant’s pheromones. You lose yourself to the moment food! and you forget what made you the social outcast among worker ants, foraging and taking and bringing back to the colony a respectable bounty. Oh the simple, one-track-minded days.

You wonder, do people actually think in rapid streams of consciousness? What about those moments when the mind dulls, the radio silence between the two am crisis call from your manager and the google searches progressing from work-life balance to inflation calculator to time travel to donut-shaped singularity? The mind dulls. Too dull to aim a focal point of sunlight through a magnifying glass at the straggler ant. Instead, you observe. Put the burning on hold. Postpone the self-immolation and the cacophonous brainchildren of thoughts as your mind unwinds itself.

Because something unravels in front of you, no stops for your blue light-radiated eyes, not unless you artificially introduce a break in a sentence whose conjunction teeters over a precipice–the ants stop for no one, not when the queen dies and their members dwindle, driving the colony to an insidious death–like entering the barricaded stanza, collapsing with each confession: the ants snuck into the kitchen ages ago, carrying away crumbs swept behind the trash can, unnoticed when you held food to your mouth while responding over text to looming deadline requests, and now the ants accidentally killed all their queens so maybe there’s nothing left for you to do but wonder why all these one-sentence-stories seem to culminate in destruction.

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Lucy Zhang is a writer masquerading around as a software engineer. She watches anime and sleeps in on weekends like a normal human being. Her work has appeared in Atlas & Alice, Okay Donkey, Jellyfish Review, trampset, Barren Magazine, and elsewhere. She can be found at https://kowaretasekai.wordpress.com/ or on Twitter @Dango_Ramen.

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image: Lisa Lerma Weber

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