Here’s a story written with just a little over 1,000 words, so it won’t take long to read. I hope you enjoy it. If you do please ‘like’ it and ‘share’ it, as long as my name is attached to it for copyright.
Five More Minutes
When Antonia relaxed on the air sprung bed, which was cushioned with a luxury mattress topper for extra comfort, it was like wallowing in marshmallows. And it gave her the same amount of pleasure as slurping a tub of half-melted full-fat ice-cream – the one with chocolate covered caramel pieces and caramel swirls.
Well, you would assume so, from the child-like grin that crumpled her nose, and the cooing noises in her throat.
On the precipice of sleep, Antonia imagined what else she could enjoy just as much, and whether she could do it while in bed – for double the pleasure. Life is about enjoying oneself, after all.
Moving into her own apartment, with the freedom to come and go as she pleased would probably create that same child-like grin – but getting her own place isn’t something she could do while still in bed.
At home, father’s totalitarian principles drained the fun out of family time. And his carping judgements left her riled and always needing to count to ten. Or, one hundred, on too many occasions she preferred to forget.
Mum was an Angel – not literally, of course – protective, nurturing, supportive. Just how a Mother should be. And her brother. She adored him and loved to have a younger sibling who she could offer her older-sister advice to – whether he wanted it or not.
But Dad? Well, she could live without him.
If getting an apartment all to herself would multiply the pleasure factor in her life – and more so, if she had her comfortable bed and duvet to snuggle in – then that’s what she would do. First thing tomorrow. Right now, she was happy to visit the land of dreams for the next few hours.
She rolled onto her side, bunched the duvet around her face, beamed a wide smile in gratitude of the feather indulgence, and dived into slumber.
Several hours later, Antonio shifted from one side to the other to avoid the hard, pointed object that prodded her waist. The discomfort loosened her grip on the dream world, and her mind catapulted into wakefulness. She refused to open her eyes, yet. Five more minutes will do.
Fresh scents of cut grass, pollen, dusty dry soil and the early dew whirled into her lungs with each inhale. Birdsong seemed loud this morning, but pleasant, as it caressed her eardrums with every harmonic tone. She sighed, contented – apart from the lump in her side.
Wait, she thought, why is the bed lumpy?
She almost opened her eyes – almost – to check what was wrong with her bed. But if she did, snooze-time would be over. And she hadn’t had five more minutes, yet.
A gust of wind whispered past her ear, its warm fingers brushed her cheek to tempt her to get out of bed. She grumbled, refusing to budge. Five more minutes.
She rolled onto her back, stretched and yawned, still resisting the urge to open her eyes and let the world in, but then she heard a voice calling her name.
Sighing, she cursed under her breath, and wished the voice away.
“Antonia! You up yet? Time for work.” There it was again.
The world behind her eyelids beckoned her to stay, she wanted to, but the voice was insistent.
“Ant? You’ll be late.”
Why won’t her Mother leave her alone?
Wait, that’s not Mum’s voice.
Her eyelids leapt open and she sprang out of bed, eyes blinking as though stuck on repeat.
“Oh, no!” she exclaimed, clutching her cheeks, alarmed at her surroundings.
Had she sleep-walked again?
Grit and rocks littered the ground amongst fingers of roots that poked out of dry soil. Green pillars, many times her height, towered above her swaying in a slow wave that matched the breeze.
Where the hell am I? She questioned her sanity.
“Antonia, there you are!” the voice greeted. A brown Ant peeked around one of the green pillars, grinned and stroked an antenna. “You look like you’ve seen a bird! What’s up?” the talking Ant asked, its Ant eyebrows raising in the middle.
Speechless, Antonia’s mouth opened and closed like a that of a Fish on its breakfast jaunt.
“You had that dream again? The one where you think you’re a Human?” The brown Ant chuckled, and the sound was oddly familiar to Antonia. “Come on, time for work, can’t be late or the Queen will eat you. You know what happened to Pete last week,” the Ant’s eyes lost their gloss for a moment, “poor Pete.”
Antonia shook her head, looked over her body and gasped in horror at what she saw. This can’t be happening, I thought I was Human.
“How many times you had that dream now?” the Ant asked her.
Jaw slack, she shook her head, dismayed, and thought for a long moment while scratching her shiny head with one of her legs. “How do I know if that dream is a dream and this,” she pointed all about her, “is real life, and not the other way around?”
The other Ant leant against a blade of grass that resembled a green pillar and contemplated the question. She rubbed her chin with the tip of her antenna, “When you’re a Human, do you remember being an Ant?”
A good question, Antonia thought.
Her answer was a plain and simple, “No.”
“Okay,” the other Ant replied, her expression pointed with concentration. “Have you had any dreams about being a Human child?”
Another good question. Antonia pondered.
“No,” she replied.
“If you can’t remember being a Human child then you weren’t born, so you must be an Ant!” the brown Ant declared, proud of its deduction.
Disgruntled, Antonia refused to accept the other Ant’s conclusion, and hatched a plan.
Later that day, weary from carrying too many objects that were several times bigger than her, she collapsed onto her favourite patch of soil and slipped into sleep within seconds.
Hours later, she woke in her comfy bed that felt like marshmallows. Instead of having five more minutes – as she normally would – she got up, dressed in her favourite jeans and cosy jumper, took a sick day from work and went to look for an apartment.
Luck was on her side. The third apartment she viewed was perfect, so she signed the contract and moved in later that day. The agent put her in touch with a removal van who delivered her bed before the sun dipped below the horizon.
Life couldn’t be better.
Antonia didn’t care the apartment was sparse of furniture, she could get more in time. All that mattered was her freedom, wallowing in her bed and slurping her favourite tub of melted ice-cream.
That night, Antonia didn’t dream of life as an Ant. She became a bird. She surfed air currents, sung to the world and gathered twigs to make her nest.
And she was happy with who or whatever she was, because she was free.
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Love and peace