Behind the Bug
The prequel to ‘A Bug’s Life’ By: Mari Fanfictions

This is my version of Flik’s youth as well as some history of Ant Island.

An ant sits in a dark tunnel by himself. He is nervous and excited. This is the king of Ant Island, Frederick Douglas Ant. Now he was older and wiser than when he first took command of the hill. When he married the queen, Anna Marie, he took leadership and responsibility for ruling the ants. He is an ant in his late thirties and his wife had been barren, until now. Frederick waited for his first child to be born. His friend, Michael Soil or Soils for short came to accompany his good friend.

After a long while, the nurse announced that Anna was ready to see him. Frederick happily went in to see his offspring. Anna lay on the bed, tired and pale, with her hard labor in her arms. Frederick came to admire the bundle of joy. The little ant gurgled pleasantly. “This is your son,” said Anna, hoarsely. “I’ve named him after my late brother, Flik Edwards”. The king gently caressed his son and his wife. “He’s beautiful. But so tiny,” said Frederick as Flik stretched. The nurse cleared her throat and handed the king another baby boy. The king was confused. “This is your eldest son,” said the nurse. “Your wife just had twins”. Frederick blinked in amazement. “Twins? Anna! We have two! Two boys!” said the king excitedly. Anna looked at him weakly. “You name this one”. “We’ll call him Abraham, Abraham Jacob, “said Frederick. Abe yawned. Flik got up and started to explore his mother. He reached for her antennae. He inspected it, then started to chew on it happily. Anna made little response to the pesky lad.

Suddenly, Anna gasped loudly and started to breathe heavily. “Anna! What’s wrong!” shouted Frederick. Anna choked and coughed. Frederick caught Flik before he rolled off to the floor. When she started to breathe again, she said, “Frederick, I…I don’t think I’m going to make it”. Frederick set Flik and Abe on their mother then took Anna’s hand. “You’re going to be alright,” he reassured her. She shook her head. “I felt something go,” she said sadly. Frederick shook his head in disbelief, “No, you can’t leave me. Anna, I need you. I love you”. “I know. I love you too, but this is out of my hands. I can’t stay”. Frederick sobbed and kissed Anna endlessly. The two little ones watched in amazement. Flik watched his father curiously and boldly crawled up to his mother’s face. She looked at him tenderly. Flik slammed his head against hers imitating Frederick’s kissing. “Mmm…mmm…ma…ma…mmm…mama,” said Flik. Anna managed a small laugh, “You’re a bright one. You are very special. Frederick, promise me that you’ll take special care of my Fliky. Please”. “I will,” choked Frederick. “Oh Anna you know I will! I promise, I promise!” Frederick burst into a new flood of tears. Anna breathed steadily, slower, then no more. She was gone.

Frederick knew he would never forget his love, but he had to trudge on. He had to keep his promise. The king vowed to make the anthill a safer place for his sons. Anything Frederick did for the hill was in loving memory of sweet Anna Marie. One of his greatest deeds was a deed of charity and hospitality. One day a pregnant, foreign, queen ant was found on the beach of Ant Island. She was taken to Frederick to be judged. “Why are you here?” he asked. “Please sir, I mean no harm. I only ask for your protection. I’m in a terrible fix. Please, have mercy,” begged the stranger. Frederick looked at her suspiciously. “What kind of fix?” he asked. The stranger looked embarrassed as she answered, “I…I was queen of a colony, but I was chased away when the ants discovered that I was with child. I have no husband. I’m ashamed of myself for being so foolish. But I have no place to properly raise this child,” said the stranger as she started to cry. Frederick looked to the Council who were all against having the foreigner stay. He sighed, it was up to him whether this queen could stay or not. The decision was on his shoulders. “What should I do?” he thought. “She is in a terrible and embarrassing situation. What would Anna want? Or what if I was this foreigner? Yuck, that’d be weird! But I would want my child to be safe. She’s just trying to be a normal parent, she is sorry for her folly”. “You may stay here! You’ll be safe. When are you due and what’s your name?” said the king. “I’m Winifred, the baby is due any day now,” replied the queen. Frederick smiled, “Good luck then!”

Finally the day came when Winifred had her baby. It was a beautiful baby girl with precious sky-blue eyes and short, glistening wings. She was a queen ant, which delighted Frederick. “You can succeed me when I die,” said Frederick. Winifred agreed to be Frederick’s heir. “But I think that my boys could be friends with your girl,” said Frederick. He ran off and returned quickly with Flik. “Couldn’t find Abe so watch Flik for me”. Frederick disappeared again.

Flik stared at Atta with bewilderment. Atta slept soundly in the crook of her mother’s arm. Winifred shook her head. “That Frederick, he’s so eccentric!” Flik crawled over to figure out what this was next to him. He looked at Atta with curious eyes and fingers. When he noticed something familiar. Atta’s antennae were slightly curved like Anna’s. Flik squealed with delight and grabbed one of her antennae. “Mama!” said Flik as he chewed the antennae. Atta screamed bloody murder and threw her fists around. A flying fist hit Flik square on the nose. Flik release the antennae and cried. Winifred sighed and chuckled, “You’re going to get in trouble, little Flik, if you treat girls like that!” Frederick returned with Abe. “What’s the matter here?” he asked seeing the two bawling kids. “Flik had a close encounter with the other kind,” laughed Winifred. Frederick smiled,” he’s gonna be trouble!”

Now I’m going to fast-forward the story because it would take too long to write everything that Flik experienced in those early years. It’d be boring too. Also I’m going to focus more on Flik, but Abe is still there. He is just not as important in this story ‘cuz this story is about Flik. So without further ado, Flik is about 6 years old.

Flik crouched on the ground over his contraption. Contemplating some geometry for his creation. His little aphid dog came running towards him, barking happily. “Alpha! Get off! I can’t play now. No, no kisses! Ha ha!” laughed Flik as Alpha licked his face. Finally the aphid got down. “Okay Alpha, you can help me try out this new invention,” said Flik. Alpha barked. Flik threw his invention into the air and Alpha chased it. Soon the invention swung back towards Flik and he caught it. “It worked! Ahhh! Alpha!” screamed Flik as the aphid leapt onto his owner. Flik fell to the ground laughing.

Then Atta came. “Oh-no,” whined Flik softly. “It’s Princess Atta. I hate her”. Alpha growled as Atta approached. “Hey dinky-boy! What are you doing now?” asked Atta mockingly. “Nothing, Princess,” replied Flik. Flik knew he could not insult Atta that was foolish. “Looked like you were making something. Bet it was stupid, just like you and your daddy!” said Atta. That did it! Flik didn’t let anyone make fun of his dad. “My dad’s not stupid, he’s the king! An’ he can chop off your head!” “No he can’t, I’m a princess. I’m gonna rule this anthill. And you’re gonna hafta do everything I say,” said Atta shortly. “I don’t hafta listen to you! You don’t even have a daddy!” declared Flik. Atta got angry, “Well, at least I didn’t kill my mother like you did! You know if you weren’t born you mommy would still be alive. But no, you had to kill her!” Flik was crushed. Everyone he knew had a mother, except for him. It was a painful situation and he wanted a mother very much. Flik started to cry. “Ha ha! Cry Flik cry! When I’m queen I’m gonna shop off your head for killing your mommy!” said Atta. Then she happily skipped away. Flik was furious. He took his new creation and threw it at Atta. Alpha barked and ran after the contraption. “No Alpha!” shouted Flik, but it was too late. Alpha pounced on Atta and caught the ‘boomerang’.

Atta squealed loudly and Flik ran away so as not to get caught. Frederick and Winifred arrived at the scene. Frederick kicked Alpha off and helped Atta up. Atta cried to her mother, “Mommy! Flik hit me!” Frederick sighed. This wasn’t the first time Flik made Atta cry. He wondered what Flik did this time. “Flik!” called Frederick. “Flik, come here now”. Flik knew he was in for it so he didn’t respond. Frederick called again, “Flik, answer me! Flik! Flik Edwards Ant!” Flik knew for sure now that he was in deep, his father used his full name. Frederick was starting to lose his patience, Flik always came when he called. “Flik! I not going to ask you again,” he called. No reply. Frederick groaned in frustration. He started to look for his son. Eventually Alpha led Frederick to Flik’s hiding spot. “Why didn’t you answer me?” asked Frederick. Flik sniffled and answered, “Atta’s trying…to…to…wahhh!” “Stop that!” scolded Frederick. “You know you’re in trouble. You disobeyed me!” Frederick swatted his son’s abdomen. Flik yelped and scurried out of his shelter, rubbing his sore abdomen. “Now that was for disobeying me, what did you do to Atta?” asked Frederick with a little more tenderness. Flik snuggled against his father and said,” Atta called me and you stupid. And said that…that she was gonna tell me what to do. And that I killed mommy! And she’s gonna shop off my head!” Flik sobbed into his father’s arms. Frederick held him and rocked him back and forth. “Shh, it’s alright. Atta shouldn’t say those things. But you shouldn’t hit her that’s her mother’s job. Did you say anything?” said Frederick. Flik nodded and wiped an eye. “I told her you were not stupid and that you could cut off her head. And that she didn’t have a daddy. Then she said that ‘at least she didn’t kill her mommy. And if I wasn’t born mommy would still be here.’ Is that true?” Frederick held Flik closer. “No, it was nobody’s fault. Especially not yours. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. She lived her life and she went to heaven. But when you pray, she can hear you. And she watches you and takes care of you”. “I miss her,” said Flik. “Me too, “said Frederick with tears in his eyes. Flik wiped his father’s tears, “Don’t cry dad, she’s okay”. Frederick smiled, but his attention was averted by a loud thrumming noise. “Flik run!” he said. Flik obeyed.

The thrumming grew louder. Frederick commanded all the harvesting ants into the anthill. The ants rushed into the hill. Flik was scared at all this. What was happening? Flik saw his father standing in front of the heap of food on the big, flat rock. He looked scared. Then, for the first time, Flik saw them. The largest bugs he ever saw, grasshoppers. They landed before the harvest. Flik watched from a distance. The leader of the grasshoppers was talking to Frederick. “Is this all you’ve got!” said the leader of the grasshoppers. Frederick did not show his fear and said bravely, “Yes, this is all you asked for, Goliath, and a little more”. “Little? No joke! You pathetic ants don’t understand what big is!” laughed Goliath. Frederick didn’t say anything. Goliath swiped Frederick off the stone so as to get to the food. “Dad!” yelled Flik when he saw his father fall. Flik ran to help his dad. “Flik?” said Frederick with his eyes wide. Goliath turned to see the little ant. He laughed maliciously, “Well, well I see you are expanding. Didn’t think you had the guts. Your son?” Frederick got up quickly and kept Flik behind him. Frederick glared at the grasshopper, but made no answer. The grasshopper laughed again. “I think now would be a good time to introduce my son and heir,” said Goliath. A large, adolescent grasshopper walked forward. His face was grim and hid his true age. He was tall and well developed for a grasshopper his age. An air of commanding leadership and coldness surrounded the youth. Goliath beamed at his son. “This is Hopper! My son and heir!” said Goliath proudly. Hopper sneered at Frederick and Flik. Another younger grasshopper bounced up. “Hey, hey dad!” he said. Hopper turned fiercely and said sharply in a surprisingly, deep voice, “Molt, go away. You weren’t called for. You’ll embarrass Dad”. The other grasshopper slinked away back into the group. Goliath whispered something to Hopper, which made Hopper grin and chuckle sinisterly.

Hopper slowly made his way towards the hill. For the whole time, Atta peered and watched in amazement. Then Hopper in one swift move snatched Atta and carried her to Goliath. “Is this yours too?” asked Goliath. Frederick shook his head. Atta screamed and kicked violently. “Your heir?” asked Hopper. Again Frederick shook his head. Hopper looked at his father quizzically. Goliath sneered, “Then it wouldn’t be a loss if we killed her!” Atta screamed louder. Frederick rushed to her rescue. Frederick wasn’t very big, but he was tough and clever. In an interesting move he knocked Atta from Goliath’s clutches. “Flik! Get her!” he shouted. Flik scurried and carried Atta. Of course he wasn’t smart enough to run to the anthill. Goliath tossed Frederick away and shouted to Hopper, “After them!” Hopper chased after little Flik. Flik was an amazingly fast runner for his age. He was agile too, so he could easily run fast through the clover forest. This was a good move on Flik’s part, for Hopper had difficulty moving through the clovers. “ Flik! No, Not that way!” yelled Frederick, who was tailing them. Goliath closely followed Frederick. But it was too late. Flik had already run into the nest. Nearby was a large bird. It didn’t see Flik and Atta because they were so small. It did notice Hopper.

The bird chirped and hopped to Hopper. Hopper had frozen where he stood. “Hopper!” shouted Goliath, who leaped out in front of his son. The bird in one peck picked up Goliath and swallowed him. Hopper watched in terror. Pieces of the grasshopper leader fell from the bird’s beak. The bird, satisfied, flew off. Hopper yelled in anger, “Nooooooo!” Frederick scooped up his son and Atta then ran homeward. Hopper called after them, “I will avenge my father! You’ll be sorry you ever met us! You’ll see. Just you wait, your colony is doomed!” When the fleeing ants were out of earshot and Hopper was alone, he cried. For every son loves his father, no matter how cruel.

In the safety of the anthill, Frederick released Atta to her mother. Atta was traumatized. Flik was no different. Frederick explained to Winifred about the grasshoppers, the offering, and how the colony was oppressed. “Some day, I’ll put an end to this. We will not be under the power of those bugs! They have no right,” said Frederick. Winifred continued to comfort Atta. Frederick wiped the dust off of his forehead. Flik tugged his hand, “I wanna go home”. Frederick carried Flik back home, telling him how brave he had been for saving Atta.

Once again, I’m fast-forwarding. This time Flik and Atta are 8. It’s springtime and the grasshoppers had not been to Ant Island for a year. This worried Frederick. Sorry to keep popping up, I just think this is a cool way to write it. I’m the narrator, I have the power! Ha Ha! Oh yeah, just for your info, Flik went to school and is a child prodigy. But being small, he was teased and beat up. Atta was still pretty and mean. Frederick let Flik do his own independent studying. Flik studied sciences, math, and philosophy. So Flik was one smart cookie.

Atta sighed. She was terribly bored. Her mother told her to stay inside and Atta wondered why. Atta didn’t have any friends and she didn’t want to play with her dolls. So she went to her mother to pester her with questions. “Mom! Mom, what’s love?” she asked. Winifred paused and thought of a good way to answer her daughter. “Well it’s a game of give and take…” “Oh! Okay! Thanks Mom!” said Atta and she ran off before her mother could correct herself. That was all Atta wanted to know a new game to play. Now her next problem who to play with. There was Daisy, but she was mad at her. And then Atta remembered that love involved a boy. That presented a problem. She didn’t know any boys that would play with her. She sighed. There was Flik, but he was so weird. “It’s either him or Dusty. Yuck Dusty’s really gross!” she thought. So she gave in to ask Flik to play.

Atta found Flik leaning against a wall. He was obviously bored as well. When he saw her approaching him, he desperately looked for an escape. Finding none he braced himself for a blow. “Hi Flik,” said Atta. Flik opened one eye and looked at her confused. “You’re not gonna hit me?” he asked nervously. Atta shook her head, “No, not this time”. Flik was surprised at Atta’s sudden kindness. “Well what are ya doin’ here?” he asked. Atta confessed that she was bored and needed someone to play with. “I was at the end of my rope, so I decided to ask you. But it’s just for today,” said Atta. Flik was relieved that Atta wasn’t going to beat him up, but wondered what torture she had in mind. “Come to my room,” said Atta. Oh-no! Flik didn’t follow Atta because he didn’t trust her. This was not normal. Atta dragged Flik to her room.

When they reached Atta’s room, she released Flik’s collar. “Ow! What are you doing?” asked Flik. Atta said, “You’ll see”. Atta pulled a few items from her closet. “We’re gonna play a game,” said Atta. Now Flik was confused. “What kind of game?” he asked. “A new game that my mom told me about,” said Atta. Flik waited nervously. “Come here,” she commanded. Atta dragged him to her vanity. “Close your eyes! You have to look pretty for this game,” she said. Flik shut his eyes. Atta took a sponge and started to wash his face. “Yow! Hey Stop! That hurts!” shouted Flik. “Hold still! Stop squirming. You’re acting like a baby! There, all done. Sheesh!” said Atta when she finished. “Now your face is clean”. Flik looked in the mirror. He looked the same, just a little bluer. “You hafta wear this, “ said Atta, tying a cape around his neck. “What’s the purpose of this?” asked Flik. “It’s part of the game,” said Atta. “What’s this game called?” asked Flik. “Love,” replied Atta. “What! No way! Count me out! I’m not playing that!” said Flik trying to pull off the cape. However Atta tended to get her way. She locked the door. “If you don’t play,” she said. “I’ll tell your dad that you were being mean to me. Then you’ll be sorry!” Flik groaned, “Fine. How do you play”. Atta then realized she didn’t know the rules. So she improvised. “Umm…well, rule one is you can’t hurt me”. Flik raised an eye ridge, “can’t hurt you?” he repeated. He sensed that she really didn’t know what she was doing. So he played along and made his own rules. “You can’t hurt me either. An’ we hafta be nice to each other,” he added. Atta frowned, “Oh fine! We hafta be nice to each other. Now, you hafta kiss me and stuff”. Flik made a face, “I don’t wanna kiss you”. “Do it or else!” demanded Atta. Flik shut his eyes tight and pursed his lips. He kissed Atta’s cheek. “There I did it!” said Flik. “You better get used to it, you ‘re gonna hafta do it a lot,” said Atta. Flik whined. “Now take me out somewhere,” said Atta. “Where?” “Anywhere!” “Okay,” Flik thought of a good place to take Atta. “I know! Follow me,” he shouted. He grabbed her hand and excitedly ran out. But he forgot that the door was locked, so he hit his nose. “Ouch!” he cried and held his nose. Atta giggled. For the first time, Flik heard Atta giggle.

Atta opened the door and told him to walk slower. Then Flik had an interesting question. “How do you win?” Atta paused, “You just know, I guess”. Flik wasn’t satisfied with the answer but couldn’t say anything. He walked Atta outside. Several workers paused to look at them as they walked hand in hand. Then they reached the outside. The Island was decorated for the Spring Flower Festival, but no one was out. Atta looked up at the sky; it was dark and forbidding. “Flik?” she said nervously. “Come on, it’s not far,” he said urging her on. Atta continued after him. They stopped in front of two large blades of grass. Flik pulled back one and told Atta to jump in. She went in and saw little mushrooms scattered around. There was a little cup-like flower filled with dew for a wading pool. Flik ran and bounced on a mushroom. He did several acrobatic tricks and dismounted. Atta clapped. “Now you try,” said Flik. He helped her on to the mushroom. She hopped a couple times then wanted to get off. Flik brought her to a larger mushroom. “Just sit here,” he told her. Atta sat on one side of the mushroom. Flik climbed onto the side opposite of Atta, snickering to himself. “Ready?” he asked. “What?” said Atta. Flik pounded on the mushroom, which sent Atta flying into the air. “EEEEEKKKK!” she screamed. Flik watched her carefully and caught her before she hit the ground. “Was that fun or what?” asked Flik happily. Atta slapped him and started to cry. Flik rubbed his cheek. “Don’t ever do that again!” Atta sobbed. Flik felt embarrassed. “I was just trying to…” “Oh forget it!” yelled Atta. Flik felt worse. “What should I do?” he asked. Atta didn’t answer, but continued to cry. Flik put an arm around her shoulder, “I’m sorry”. Atta wiped an eye and sniffled. Flik dried her other eye. “Let’s do something safer,” he suggested. Atta nodded.

Flik and Atta played in the wading pool for a long time. Then they heard a frightening crash. “What was that?” asked Atta. “I dunno,” said Flik. “Flik, I’m scared,” she whined. Flik nodded. She did a surprising thing. She jumped into Flik’s lap and clutched his neck. Flik choked for a moment but then felt strange. Did Atta really start to like him? Was it like that one story about Juliant and that other guy? Flik wrapped his arms around Atta. She didn’t resist. CRASH! A giant raindrop fell nearby. Both children screamed. They were in trouble. “This is why dad said ‘I couldn’t go out’!” said Flik, only now repenting for not listening. More raindrops fell, faster and faster. “Help! Help!” shouted Atta. Flik thought quickly, remembering what his father told him. Using his antennae, Flik sent a formic message for help. Frederick sensed it. And told Soils to come with him.

The two adults battled through the rain. Dodging raindrops as they ran along. Frederick shouted for Flik, but he couldn’t even hear himself. So Frederick sent a message in formic to Flik. Finally the two ants found the kids, huddling in the flower. Frederick pulled them out and carried one under each arm. “Back to the hill!” he commanded. Eventually everyone safely made it into the hill. Frederick dropped the kids and put his head between his knees. After he caught his breath, he glared at Flik. Flik hung his head. “Go to your room!” said Frederick. Flik scampered away. “You,” he said addressing Atta. “I’m taking you home to your mother and you explain what you two were doing”. Atta whimpered.

Frederick took Atta firmly by the hand and led her to where her worried mother was. “Oh my baby!” exclaimed Winifred. “Thank you Frederick”. He looked at Atta sternly. “Tell your mother what you were doing outside,” he demanded. Atta told them about playing with Flik and how he was suppose to take her out. Frederick nodded. “I see,” he said. “So you disobeyed us so you could have a little fun. Well you will both have to suffer the consequences of your mistake!” Frederick said something softly to Winifred then left to attend to his own son.

Flik sat on the edge of his bed, waiting for his father’s wrath. His father entered the room furiously. Flik shuddered and cringed. Seeing Flik reaction to his entrance, Frederick had compassion. “Why did you go outside?” he asked. Flik looked up nervously. “We…it was part of a game”. “I told you that you couldn’t go out today. Remember?” Flik nodded bashfully. Frederick sighed heavily. “You almost got killed today! Was it worth risking your life to play a game? And worse! You almost killed Atta! Was it worth risking her life too?” Frederick scolded. Flik stared at his feet. “I’m sorry,” he mumbled. “I know you are, and I forgive you. However, that still doesn’t mean you going to skip off without being punished! You have to pay the price for your action,” said Frederick. Frederick picked up Flik and put him over his knee. After spanking his son, Frederick held Flik in an embrace. “There, there now. You’re alright,” said Frederick. Flik continued to sob and choke. “I love you, my son,” said Frederick tenderly. Flik sniffed and hugged his father. “I…I love you too!” he cried. “Are you ready for the Flower Fest tomorrow?” asked Frederick. Flik looked up and nodded. “Okay then, grab some dinner then go to bed,” said Frederick. But Flik wasn’t very hungry, his mind was occupied with other things.

In his room, Flik pondered about what had happened that day, other than being punished. Atta certainly acted strange. She was never nice to him. Flik decided that it must be what happened in that story. “Now, what did that guy do to Juliant, other than kissing her,” said Flik to himself. “Poems! He told her poems. I’ll make some poems about Atta!” Flik started his work. He fell asleep at his desk.

The next day was the Flower Fest. All the kids were excited. The Island was decorated, but some decorations were destroyed in the rain. There was plenty of food, games, and music. Flik especially looked forward to this party. For today was a special day that he would spend with his father.

Flik sat next to his dad at the banquet table. They talked about many things. But Frederick couldn’t help feeling something was wrong. “So you never told me, what was the game you were playing with Atta called?” asked Frederick. Flik paused nervously “Huh? What?” “The game you played yesterday, you remember, I spanked you yesterday? What game was it?” laughed Frederick. Flik panicked. “Umm…uh…it’s a secret,” Flik said quickly. Frederick raised an eye ridge, “You aren’t keeping something from me?” he asked suspiciously. Flik felt guilty. “Oh! It’s called ‘love’!” he blurted. Frederick blinked in surprise. Flik hid his face. Then Frederick chuckled, “Love? Oh Flik! Ha ha ha ha! That isn’t a game! Love is a…hmm…an emotion”. Flik gave Frederick a confused look to show that he didn’t understand. “Atta said that her mom said ‘it was a game of give and take’,” said Flik. “That’s not the best way to describe it,” said Frederick. “Love isn’t a game at all. As I said before, it’s a bond. Like I love you, I’m bound to you spiritually. It’s not easy to understand, but it’ll come to you one day just like reading”. Flik had to settle for this explanation. “Flik, go play with your friends. I have to talk to Atta’s mom,” said Frederick. Flik left to find Atta.

Flik found her sitting by herself as usual. “Hi Atta,” Flik said casually. “I’m the princess,” stated Atta. “You should address me by my proper title, you worthless worker!” Flik was stunned. “You let me call you Atta yesterday,” said Flik. Atta stuck her nose in the air and turned away from him. “What’s wrong?” asked Flik. “Because of you, I got…a time out yesterday!” yelled Atta. “So?” said Flik exasperated. “I got spanked! A time out is nothing. I never get a time out, only spankings!” Atta laughed at him. Flik narrowed his eyes. “Fine, go ahead laugh! I was gonna tell you something special, but I guess you’re not interested,” he said. Atta perked up. She loved secrets. “What do you mean ‘something special’?” she asked. Flik knew he had her, he decided to toy with her mind. “Oh you wouldn’t care. You don’t like me,” he said in a singsong voice. Atta scowled, “I command you to tell me!” Flik shook his head. “You have to like me if you wanna know!” Atta groaned,” Okay, I’m not mad at you! An’ I like you. Now tell me!” Flik smiled, “Promise? If you like me you hafta be nice”. Atta nodded vigorously. Flik leaned and whispered in her antennae, “I love you”. Then he kissed her cheek.

Atta screamed. “We stopped playing that yesterday!” “My dad said that your mom was wrong. Love’s not a game. It’s a bounding of spirits or something crazy like that,” said Flik. Atta didn’t understand. So Flik tried to explain, but discovered that he couldn’t. Suddenly, there was a loud, thrumming sound in the air. Flik remembered what that sound was. “Atta! We gotta hide!” he shouted. He grabbed Atta and hid with her behind a rock.

Flik and Atta watched the terrified ants scurry everywhere in panic. Flik’s father was calling for him. The grasshoppers landed and rounded up all the ants with Frederick in the center. Hopper had grown much taller, wiser and craftier. “Well, well, well we meet again ant!” he said coolly. Frederick stood his ground, trying not to show his fear. Hopper marched slowly and menacingly towards him. “I have not forgotten what happened here about two years ago,” he snarled. “And I’m sure you haven’t either”. Frederick nodded, “Yes, I do remember,” he said calmly, expecting trouble. “Well, I told you I would avenge my father and your colony would suffer. I do keep my promises…usually, “ said Hopper. Some of the grasshoppers laughed. “This is one I intend to keep,” Hopper continued. “And I waited a whole 2 years for this. Meet Thumper”.

A ragged grasshopper was brought forth. It screeched and squealed insanely for it had lost its ability to speak or act rationally. Its skin was torn and hung like jagged teeth. “What have you done?” exclaimed Frederick. “Was this not your father’s favorite?” “He was. Until my father passed away. After his death he fell into despair, this is your doing. If you had not killed my father this wouldn’t have happened. Thumper has also waited and prepared himself for this day”. Frederick was perplexed at this statement. Hopper snapped his fingers.

At the sound of Hopper’s fingers, Thumper let out a horrible screech and lunged for Frederick ferociously. Foam gathered around the crazy grasshopper’s mouth as he slashed, ripped and tore at Frederick. Hopper snapped again and Thumper stopped, panting eagerly. Frederick lay on the ground groaning and breathing hard. Flik couldn’t see anything, but he could hear. He wanted to call out but couldn’t find his voice.

On shaky legs, Frederick got back up on his feet. He wiped the blood from his mouth and spoke in a commander’s voice. “You can not win! You will never hold my colony in your clutches. I will stand and not surrender a single grain to you. Even if you kill me here and now, it will still be my victory. For goodness will prevail! I may not be the one who defeats you and your gang, but someone will. I warn you, Hopper, tyrants never remain. Never have, never will! You will be overthrown…I guarantee!” After Frederick said this, Hopper struck him to the ground and gored a twig into Frederick’s middle. Frederick’s eyes widened in shock and he screamed. “Let’s ride!” shouted Hopper. And with that, the grasshoppers whooped and flew away, leaving the ants to their king.

“Your majesty!” cried Mr. Soil. “My good friend”. Frederick pulled the twig out and stuffed his hand in the wound. “Dad! Dad! Dad!” yelled Flik pushing through the crowd. “Dad!” he sobbed. Frederick gazed at Flik weakly. Flik grabbed his father desperately. “You’re gonna be okay, Dad,” Flik choked. Frederick touched his son lightly. “No…I’m not going to make it,” he said softly. Flik started sobbing without end, tears stained his little blue face. Flik’s brother Abe joined them. “You can’t leave us daddy!” said Flik. “I won’t leave you…in one sense,” said Frederick. “Just like your mother never left us”. Frederick struggled to get more air. “Flik, it’s you to be a good leader. Never let anyone stop you from doing what you know is right in your heart. Never ever give up. Behave, love everyone, and work hard. Be honest and true and faithful to your future wives, your colony and yourselves. Be brave little ones. Believe in yourself…you can do anything if you set your mind to it. And never forget me.” Frederick advised his sons. Then he turned to Soils. “My good friend…will you please take care of my sons,” he asked pitifully. “It will be a great honor!” declare Soils. Frederick rested and then talked to his sons some more. “I hope that you two will make this colony flourish and prosper,” said Frederick in a whisper. “We will Dad!” stated Flik through tears. “I promise that I will get those grasshoppers for this!” “Don’t hate them, Flik, but do overthrow them. That would make me very happy,” whispered Frederick. “What should I do?” asked Abe. Frederick said softly, “Take care of your brother. Get along with him. And be a good boy”.

The crowd of ants looked at their dying leader in astonishment. Winifred knelt next to the king and he declared her the ruler. Blood continued to slowly seep out of his wound. Flik and Abe were covered in blood. Soils tried to make Abe and Flik leave but they wouldn’t. He managed to pry Abe off and carry him away. Flik was feistier and stubborn. Frederick ripped the medallion from his neck and gave it to Flik. “Remember me with this,” he said. Flik nodded and watched the life depart from his father’s eyes. With his last ounce of strength, Frederick yelled, “For the colony, and oppressed ants everywhere! I did this for you!” With a strong gasped, Frederick’s breathed his last. He was no more.

Flik cried out in agony. His father was gone, part of him went with him and would never return. Winifred caressed him and coaxed him away. A few workers embalmed and buried the king. Flik ran to his room and did not come out. All he could do was think of his father. He didn’t eat and he hardly slept. Flik grew ill, but he didn’t care. Soils started to worry about Flik. He brought him some food. “I’m not hungry,” said Flik somberly. “Have to eat Flik…you will get sick,” said Soils. “I don’t care,” responded Flik. Soils sighed, “Flik, I know you miss your father, I miss him too, but you hafta carry on”. Flik looked up at him with sorrowful eyes. “I remembered your father on the day you were born, “ said Soils. “He was so happy when he saw you…I thought I’d never see a face like that again! But then your mother started to fail. He showed so many emotions at once, joy, sorrow, fear, and hope. But he recovered after her death and I never witnessed another ant so much in love with his wife. It was you that made him continue on…you should continue on too. If your father was alive now, what would he say?” Flik looked at the picture of Frederick that he was staring at for the past two days. Flik sighed, “He’d say…’in one sense I never left you. I love you. I am taking care of you’”. Soils smiled, “You are bright and wise, for your age”. Flik thanked Soils and ate the food.

That night after saying his prayers, Flik pondered all that his father had taught him. For some reason, he was reminded of Atta! “My poems!” he exclaimed. Flik gathered the poems he wrote and decided that he wanted to talk to Atta. He crept to Atta’s room and sneaked in. “Atta,” he whispered. Atta woke up in alarm. “Flik! I haven’t seen you in days! Are you alright?” she asked. Flik looked at her sadly and shook his head. “I’ll never be the same,” he responded. For once Atta felt pity for someone else. “I’m sorry,” she said. Flik smiled, “Thanks. I didn’t think you’d care”. Atta shrugged. “I have something for you,” said Flik. Atta’s eyes sparkled. “You do?” she asked. Flik nodded, “Uh-huh! I wrote you a poem!” Flik recited his poem, “Atta’s eyes…” Atta was flattered. “You wrote a poem about me?” she asked. Flik nodded, “Yup”. “That’s the nicest thing anybody has every done for me,” she said. “It was beautiful”. She kissed his cheek. Flik blushed. “I better go, I have got things to do,” he said. Atta watched him leave into the dark.

Flik snuggled with his baby blanket, something he hadn’t done since he was two. For some reason he felt extremely happy. “Dad used to do things for mom, so I’ll build things for him!” he thought. Flik was excited for life. “I’ll be the bestest ant here! I’ll do great things!” he planned things he would do. From that day onward, Flik was the most energetic and creative ant on Ant Island.

Yo! Me again. We are fast-forwarding again. Flik is now a teenager. Dot was born when Atta was 12. Flik was greatly fond of Atta, but he was more interested in his inventing and problem solving. In the colony, workers began working when they are 13, so that is when Flik really started making inventions. But since he was so energetic, he often got overexcited and that led to disaster. He was clumsy. Atta started her queen training when she was 16, but it was so much pressure for her. She was short tempered, jittery, and anxious. Flik used to be her comfort, until the tunnel accident. This is the last part of my story, Flik is comforting Atta.

Atta was learning about being a Judge. “Remember to hear the whole story,” said her mother. “This is your first case. Listen to the Council, they know what they are doing. Don’t forget to be fair!” Atta writhed her hands. “Okay, what happened,” she asked the Council. “It’s Flik,” said Cornlius gingerly. Atta gasped as Flik stepped forward covered in dust and dirt. “What did he do?” she asked the Council. “He has caused the new west tunnel to collapse!” said Thorny impatiently. “Is this true Flik?” she asked trying to keep a straight face. Flik felt ashamed. “Yes your highness. But you don’t understand! I was trying to help by…” “Help?” Thorny interrupted. “You helped six ants find themselves in the infirmary!” “Flik, what you did was dangerous. You will be punished,” said Atta without emotion. Flik hung his head. “Flik, you will spend the day in prison, then help in the infirmary until those six ants are better,” Atta announced. “Court adjourned!”

The Queen congratulated her daughter. “That was well done dear”. Atta nodded but felt terrible about punishing her friend. She bumped into Flik in the tunnel. “Atta!” said Flik. “I’m the princess, you should address me by my proper title,” corrected Atta. Flik’s mouth opened in astonishment. “Atta? I…I thought you liked me. What happened?” asked Flik. Atta sighed, “We changed Flik. I started accepting my responsibilities as princess. Things can’t be as they once were, because well, you are a worker, a low life and I am royalty. We can’t be together anymore. I’m sorry”. Flik said excitedly, “But…but I…Atta you remember me!” “That’s Princess Atta to you, worker!” Atta interrupted. Flik looked at her in amazement. “It’s time you grew up! You are no longer a little boy. Accept the responsibilities of your actions and work for the colony. That is your duty, mine is more demanding. I have no time to fool around with you. Now excuse me, I have important business to take care of. So stop making things difficult for me!” she said as she stormed off.

Flik stared after her. The guard urged him on and led him to his cell. Flik sat there miserably. “She doesn’t like me anymore,” he said to himself. Flik wondered what happened to her. “It must be her queen training that’s stressing her out,” he thought. “She has been rather touchy ever since she started that. Oh well, I guess I should do my duty. But what is my real duty?” Flik thought about this since he had time to think. He paced around the cell and talked rapidly and moved his hands constantly. “She says my duty is to help my colony, but I was helping the colony by figuring a better way of digging. Okay so I made a mistake…I’m clumsy. So what! Hmmm. Oh I know…no that wouldn’t work,” he chattered to himself. ‘Do what you know is right in your heart’ echoed in Flik’s mind. Then he remembered what else his father told him. “Believe in myself. Work hard and be true to the colony. Never give up!” Flik recited. Flik smiled broadly and felt better. He knew he should keep inventing and thinking of ways to help the colony. “I’ll make a difference…someday,” said Flik. “I will!” he called out in a challenge. “Shut up!” yelled the neighboring cell. Flik planned on other ways he could help.

Well, Flik did help. In the infirmary he tried making a different type of bandage. It hardened on the patients’ legs, but they couldn’t get them off. Therefore causing more damage to patients and the equipment that Flik broke trying to remove his bandages. So once again Flik went to court, Atta was starting to get frustrated with Flik and the rest of the Council joined her. Flik was discovering he was being more of a pest than help. But he kept trying to help, he was still confident that he would make a difference. Everything Flik tried was in honor of his father. Most of the colony considered him an outcaste and rejected him. Even his brother didn’t like him. Flik felt terribly lonely, but found out that the Council was running out of punishments for him. That was relieving, so he continued to work on inventions and ideas. Most of which were to impress the colony and Atta.

Flik finally worked off the first few mishaps. He could now invent at his leisure and try helping again. A little older and wiser now, Flik worked diligently as a normal worker to avoid drawing more attention. This year he was assigned to work in the harvest line and collect food for the offering. Flik, this year remembered his promise to his dying father, and was determined to keep it. He started planning. After two days of harvesting Flik was tired and bored. “It’s so hard,” he whined. “It doesn’t have to”. He started forming ideas to simplify the harvesting. He got one! Flik worked on his harvesting machine. The harvest was almost over when he finished his creation. It was the last day of the harvest when he took it on the first test run.

To be continued!

Credits: All the characters are from Disney/Pixar’s ‘A Bug’s Life’. Frederick and Anna are my own characters.

FYI: Frederick Douglass was a real person! Yes! He was a famous abolitionist during the Civil War. He use to be a slave and escaped. Learn more about Frederick Douglass by reading his autobiography; Frederick Douglass, the life of a slave. I warn you, the content of this book is vivid, and I recommend it to people over the age of 13. Thank you.

Also Anna really was Frederick Douglass’s wife! I don’t know her middle name…I made that up! What is interesting is that I named my characters before reading the book! Originally it was just plain Frederick and Anna.

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