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Friday, April 19, 2013

SERUM KILLER By Robin Weaver


By Robin Weaver

It was a single bite from one tiny ant, but I began to change in ways I never imagined.  Horrible ways.

I’d been pruning roses when the little bugger bit me on the wrist, near my pulse.  If he’d gnawed any place else, I might have remained unscarred, but fate didn’t favor me.  My arm swelled and I soon resembled Popeye—at least one arm did.  Pain racked my body and I begged Harold for something, for anything.  He grunted and grabbed his coat.

My body was convulsing when my spouse returned.  I snatched the bottle from his hand and swallowed the clear liquid, without looking at the label.  The pain subsided and I slept.

          For three days, I hovered in the realms of sleep, waking only for broth and more serum.  In my few blinks of consciousness, I saw my husband watching me.  Harold seemed concerned, but not about me.  I asked for a doctor—he told me he was a doctor.  How could I have forgotten that?  I wanted to tell him to go away, but I craved the medicine.

On the fourth day, it was over.  The pain disappeared. I felt alive, anxious to embrace the day.  I was me again.  Except for the strange red welts.

Welts?  Something nagged at my brain.  I’d only been bitten once.  Why were there so many welts?

“Anaphylaxis,” my spouse said, although I hadn’t voiced my question.  “An allergic reaction.”

He treated me like an idiot.  I wanted to scream at him, I know what anaphylaxis is!
I didn’t.  Instead, I asked, “The medicine worked?  I’m better, right?”

He shrugged.

          I didn’t let his attitude affect my exuberance.  I wasn’t just better—I was T-friggin’-rrific.  I wanted to bask in the sunshine.  I wanted to build a house.

Build a house?  I pushed my weird thoughts aside and went in search of sweets. 

          Pancakes sounded perfect.  I mixed the batter from scratch and grilled the cakes to perfection.  I cut them into perfect little squares and raised the bottle of syrup.  Instead of dispersing the delicious concoction over the griddled dough, I positioned the plastic container above my mouth, squeezing the brown goop into my throat. I gurgled and squeezed until the bottle was empty. 

With my sugar gluttony sated, I fell into the watchful gaze of my spouse.  He smirked.  I hung my head.

What was wrong with me?  I didn’t even like syrup.

My shame was short lived.  Enthusiasm consumed me, making it impossible to contain the energy pulsating inside.  I washed, I ironed, and I cleaned.  In pursuit of perfection, my feet scurried and my fingers labored until everything sparkled.

My husband came home for lunch and brought his assistant.  I never liked that woman, but being the ideal hostess, I served her lunch.

“Aren’t you the busy bee,” she sniggered.

“Don’t you mean ant, Helen?”  My husband cackled.  “My little wife’s a worker ant.”

          The two of them giggled like teenagers.  They annoyed me.

My mind was still foggy.  I couldn’t remember why my husband had a teaching assistant.

I forced my brain into concentration.  “Oh, yes,” I murmured.  “Harold isn’t a medical doctor, he’s a psychiatrist.”

Something seemed wrong, but I couldn’t think about it.  Too much to do and I needed sugar—I had an insatiable craving.  I slipped into the pantry to grab a bag of sugar.  I ate the white granules straight from the container.

Two days later, the assistant returned.  She and Harold thought I was upstairs, but I hid in the pantry, listening.

Harold whispered, “I’d say the experiment is a success.  There is no trace of the serum in her blood work.  The diagnosis will be an acute reaction to insect bites.  One that affected her brain.”

          “That woman is certifiable,” the assistant purred.  “Darling, you’ll finally be rid of her, once and for all.  Too bad you won’t be able to publish your findings. You’d be famous.”

Even though I had a sucrose fixation, Helen’s sugary voice made me sick.

“Yes, we’re lucky she didn’t go into pulmonary edema when I gave her the serum.  Because of the pre-nup, I would have lost everything if she’d died.  When we commit her, I will still control her assets.”

She was talking again.  “How much longer, Hal?  I’m tired of waiting.”

          My husband’s evil cackle haunted the air.  “Patience, love.  My colleagues will observe her tomorrow.  I suspect we can have her institutionalized the next day.”

          Teenybopper snickering permeated the air, angering me more than their evil words.  I couldn’t let them commit me.

          My still-fuzzy brain latched onto a solution. I would call my new friends.  They would know what to do.

Flinging open the pantry door, I surprised my spouse and his assistant.  Two whacks with a frying pan ended that inane giggling.

A bigger problem loomed large.  Mercy.  What would I do to cover my tracks?

Concentration was vital and I was out of fructose.  I opened every canister in my kitchen but couldn’t pinpoint one granule of sugar.  I scampered to the store in search of sweets and a solution.

          When I returned, my little friends waited, having resolved my little problem.  I stared at my spouse and his girlfriend, their unconscious bodies covered with thousands of ants.  Soon, there would be no bodies.

          I laughed, the sound strange and foreign.  Harold and Helen didn’t get it.  I’m not a worker ant.  I may be human, but the serum altered me and I now command.

          I rule the hive. As queen.


  1. Robin, what an awesome story! Loved the irony!

  2. Creepy... I had a bad turn with ants as a child and anything ant related gives me the creeps. But well written and great turn of events.

    1. Hi Paty,

      Had a bad experience as an adult...thus the story. :)

  3. What an amazing imagination you have, Robin! Well written and done!!! I figured, what with the major sugarfixation that something was altered in her physiology but - you kept me guessing right to the end.

  4. Fun story. Definitely has a Hitchcock ending, and, of course, the hubby deserved it!

  5. Love it! Great momentary distraction from my boring day! Can't wait to read more from you!

  6. Love the story - reminds me of those great "creature features" I watched as a kid. But this is better - no one had to call out the army to fight the villains. Queen Rule!