Brooke watched intently, as a row of ants climbed their way across the long, stone step. Each one was carrying something. Dirt, or perhaps it was food? It was too small for her to tell, but whatever it was, it was much bigger than these small, humble insects and she admired their strength and determination to go on.
A breeze sailed through the empty streets. Brooke was the first one there. She always was. She had to be. It was part of their agreement. The wind pushed past her cheeks like cold slaps, as if it were reminding her of what was to come. Telling her what she had become. She had no choice though.
She lifted her gaze from the ants and looked around. She liked early mornings, the way everything was soaked in a cool, blue light. The way it reflected onto the wet cobbled streets in a strip of dim yellow. Everything was quiet, yet felt so alive. There was an electricity in the air, like life itself had just woken up. The shadows still loomed at this time as well, holding onto the edges of the shop buildings, soon to be banished by the rising sunlight.
Another breeze swept through the streets, throwing scattered litter and crisp, golden leaves across the grey, wet cobbles. Brooke looked back at the ants, waiting for one to be thrown off course, to drop their supplies, to give up, but they carried on walking. Each one following in perfect time, curving their bodies and steps in the same direction, mirroring theirs movement to match the one in front.
The leader reached Brooke’s foot and without hesitation, guided its followers around her, like a crew of expeditioners tackling a large mountain.
They were so small, barely bigger than a baby’s fingernail. One simple move and she could crush a hundred of them. She swallowed, her foot edging closer to one of the ants. It would be so simple. So quick. She felt so big. So empowered. It reminded her of The Home. How much power they had over them. She had been as easy to kill as one of these ants, yet she’d been given the opportunity for freedom. But she was still trapped and always had and always would be as powerless as a small insect.
She slipped her foot back. But who was she to determine life and death? She was nothing. She watched the ants as they carried on, blissfully unaware, making their way safely into the cracks of the step and she waited. For she was still a prisoner in someone else’s hands.