Insect Nation Collection

Written by Charli Mills

Charli Mills, a born buckaroo, makes literary art accessible at CarrotRanch.com. She writes about the veteran spouse experience and women forgotten to history.

September 21, 2023

Welcome to Carrot Ranch Literary Community where creative writers from around the world and across genres gather to write 99-word stories. A collection of prompted 99-word stories reads like literary anthropology. Diverse perspectives become part of a collaboration.

We welcome encouraging comments. You can follow writers who link their blogs or social media.

Those published at Carrot Ranch are The Congress of Rough Writers.

Transformative Creatures by D. Avery

I need to find some inspiration
for this prompt of Insect Nation
I admire what some older writers did
using insects in stories for kids
But I lack their imagination.

Now I’m running out of time
guess I’ll fall back on simple rhyme
I’m no Collodi, Selden, or Dahl*
and my unfeathered hat is off to them all
with their crickets and grasshoppers so sublime.

Bold little creatures so humble and wise
from small shoulders they watch and advise
Personifications, perhaps, these storied side-kick teachers
But these insect people, tenacious achievers
they creep and they crawl and eventually fly

*authors of Pinocchio, Cricket In Times Square, James and the Giant Peach

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A Nation or Symphony by Melissa Lemay

Cicadas lithely circle branches, their clicking sounds tiny metronomes, while crickets’ whistling chirrups fill the air and cryptic katydids, rasping, sing, one symphonic nation. Turning leaves rustle, influenced by secret winds, and stars speckle the sky, the inverse of freckled porcelain skin, frequented by mosquitos’ starving needle mouths. The striped bumbles and honeybees have gone away for the night to sleep, since there isn’t any light for them to collect their pollen and nectar. Brown marmorated stink bugs blend with tree bark, and grasshoppers’ crackling wings begin settling in, as red and black spotted lanternflies gather around silhouettes.

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Bob the Bee by Margaret G. Hanna

She put down her crayons, grabbed the paper and ran into the kitchen.

“Mommy, a picture for you.”

Mommy sat down, hoisted her 5-year-old daughter onto her lap, and placed the paper on the table.

“Such a pretty picture of my flower garden. Look at that big bumble bee. I thought you were afraid of bees.”

“That’s Bob. He’s nice. He doesn’t bite like other bees.”

“Who is this?”

“That’s Susie. She’s a spider. See, that’s her web. She’s Bob’s bestest friend. That’s why he’s smiling.”

“You know what I’m going to do? Frame your drawing. It’s that good.”

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????? Insect Nation ????? by Colleen Chesebro

“Welcome to ?????Insect Nation????? a weekly show about all the creepy crawlies used in witchcraft. I’m your host, Morticia Widow-Maker. This week’s program is all about spider magic.”

“In folk magic, a spider eaten every morning will bestow great strength and power… if you can choke them down!”

“Did you know that spider legs make your potions stronger? Spider web silk rubbed on your skin will make your wrinkles disappear.”

“So, there you have it! Spiders are good for the craft. Just watch out for wolf spiders. They will make you sneeze!”

Morticia Widow-maker signing off. Until next time.

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Survival of the Fittest by Dianne Borowski

The colony was under attack! Messages bounced from one antenna to another..

The enemy was fast approaching the colony of tiny creatures whose only purpose was to
ensure the survival of the species. It would eventually be a fight to the death for many of
the workers.

The phorid flies are on the move. Worker’s, especially foragers, are alerted and begin to
move toward the safety of the nest. When cornered the worker’s best option is to use the C position,
curling into a ball to protect its head from the fly’s deadly sting. The insect world, a microcosm of our
world. Amazing!

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Mealtime Chit-Chat by Norah Colvin

“What have we got?” Finally, the stranger, now identified as Paul, asked a question.

“The usual for one of these shindigs,” said Josie. “Aunt Agnes’s lasagne, Clara’s meatballs, Priscilla’s chicken fricassee and Joe’s sliced meats.”

“And for dessert, there’s Marie’s apple pie and Josh’s lumpy custard. Looks like Great-Aunt Rose has added berries to her strawberry jelly,” said Josie, taking a scoop.

“Blaaah!” Josie spat the jelly. “That’s not a berry!”

“It’s just a fly.”

“Why didn’t you tell me?”

“Flies don’t hurt. Extra protein.”

“Then you have it,” said Josie, shoving the plate into him and storming off.

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Insects: Busy Bodies by Sadje

Insects come in different sizes and colors! They are our co-inhibitors on this planet. Their number far exceeds that of all the animal species combined. And so is their importance!

Where would we be without our pollinators, the bees, the flies, the butterflies, the dragonflies, and even the mosquitoes? All working without us even helping them to make sure plants and crops grow, there are flowers for us to admire and vegetables to eat.

The ants, spiders, and other insects, all doing what nature has intended for them. None of them are out of balance or whack- except us!

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If You Go Down to the Woods by Hugh W. Roberts

In the ancient woods, a spectral chill whispered through the leaves, carrying the wail of the Insect Nation’s forgotten souls.

Beetles, once known as sacred guardians, marched in supernatural processions. Fireflies, long extinguished, flickered like ghostly lanterns in the moonless night. Spiders wove threads of sorrow in their tattered webs, trapping echoes of their past.

But the creepy swarm of bluebottle flies sent shivers down the spine of all who trespassed. Their eerie hum was the insect kingdom’s tragic requiem, a reminder of their timeless dominion, unseen yet ever-present.

In the haunted woods, the Insect Nation’s phantoms reigned supreme.

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Whining and Dining by D. Avery

“Thanks for always walking in front. Saving me from spider webs.”

“You know, spider webs are useful. Coagulant. Fiber. It’s time you got over your spider phobia. We’ve bigger problems.”

“Uh. I can’t stand any insects or creepy-crawlies. Why are there so many on the planet anyway?”

“Food chain.”

“Food chain! Mosquitoes are eating me alive!”

“We all feed the creepy-crawlies eventually. Now here, eat up. If we walk strong, we might reach a road today.”

“Food? How?”

“Gifts of nature, for the picking.”

“Yum. Crunchy and nutty… What is it?”

“Let’s just say I rustled up some grubs.”

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The Spider in the Basement by Joanne Fisher

“You’re really into spiders aren’t you?” Valerie asked. There were pictures, models, and live spiders around the lounge.

“Yes.” Beatrice answered. “How about you?”

“I don’t care for insects.”

“Spiders aren’t insects, they are arachnids which also include mites, and scorpions.”

“Thanks for the info.”

“Want to see my wolf spider in the basement?” Beatrice asked.

“Uh, okay.”

In the basement Valerie saw a shadow in the corner. It suddenly moved. Valerie quickly ran back upstairs, but found the door was now locked. She watched the spider, that was far larger than her, approach. No one heard her screams.

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Life Cycle by Ann Edall-Robson

“They know we’re here. We don’t have much time before they come from the sky to get us. Some of us will make it, some won’t. The ones that do, need to procreate to make sure our breed lives. We can’t all stick together. I suggest some start moving now to the next planned target.”

The flock of crows lifted off the branches of the trees surrounding the field. Circling, hovering, licking their lips at the prospects of the meal. Their assault on the insects is too late. Competition drones toward them. Crop-dusters swoop in for the kill.

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Invasive by Raven Boerger

She is an unsuspecting ash tree with the strongest of roots, and he is a metallic, green beetle who burrows and bores, leaving marks of a swirled trail resembling a children’s maze. She is a bright, juicy lemon hanging firmly in place, and he is a nymph removing nectar from her shoots and replacing it with fresh, salivary toxins. She is a woman who spends an ample amount of time outside, tending to her garden, where she plans to make a freshly chopped salsa with her harvests, and he is a mosquito with the ferocious bite of a tiger.

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Crickets in the House by Sue Spitlnik

When Tessa came home from shopping, Jester raised his head and thumped his tail once. Rainbow opened one eye, and

Michael waved from the couch.

Tessa asked, “No energetic greetings. What’s been happening?”

Michael mumbled, “Crickets.”

“What?”

Michael sat up. “Two crickets chirping in here. Jester was running around trying to find them, and then Rainbow got in the mix. I swear, those insects did it on purpose, moving from place to place. I saw them hopping, but I couldn’t catch them either. We’re exhausted from the chase.”

Tessa laughed, and a cricket chirped. “It’ll be a noisy night.”

Note: Jester is the family mutt, and Rainbow is an older cat.

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The Philosophizing Fruit Fly by Michael Fishman

I’ve got about a month here and all I do is worry. Almost 487 siblings and they don’t seem to think about this stuff, so what’s up with me?

I’m called an annoyance and that hurts. It’s not me – not my choice – I was hatched this way. So why does it bother me so much?

I have no appetite. The sibs, those that didn’t get tricked into the vinegar traps, are swarming that mushy melon rind that should have gone into the trash bin a day ago. They’re having the time of their life and I just sit.

Alas.

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Morning Has Come by Duane L Herrmann

“Get up! Get up!” Tatiyana poked her sleeping friend in a soft spot. He rolled over, softly moaned. He didn’t want to be awake, and tried to curl up, but found there was no room. All he could do was strecth, then wiggled out, hoping that no one would get him. “Watch for birds!” She called a warning.

“Now, I have a bit more space,” Tatiyana said as she woke up a light above her. Two were needed. She had tried to train them so they wouldn’t blink at the same time, but the fireflies had their own competition.

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Regal Experience by JulesPaige

There was, that summer long ago, when I, the fearless Den Leader of Cub Scouts, ventured with my ‘boys’ and Tagalong baby brother across the bridge of the creek. I can only guess we were aiming for some nature badge. It was Tagalong that found the Monarch Cat (caterpillar).

I have a great tolerance for insects when they are outside of the house. However this time we took in the caterpillar. Made it a comfy home with twigs and milkweed. And then we waited. Our reward, the chrysalis with golden dots and then, the emerging Monarch butterfly we freed.

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After the Fall by Anne Goodwin

We built new homes among the debris of their vanity. Our elders were suspicious, fearing stray survivors lurked behind those crumbling walls. They were a cruel species who’d swat us dead if we trespassed on the land they’d colonised. Of course, we celebrated their demise.

Our youth gorged on their rotting flesh and putrid entrails. Then they mated and their offspring feasted too. With food for future generations, and freedom from attack, our nation would prosper. But we’d stay humble. When vegetation submerged all traces of humanity, we’d repeat their story to our children as a warning. Hubris kills.

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Making One’s Web and Lying In It by Bill Engleson

Nathan first noticed them in the early days of Covid. In his favourite bathroom ? he had two ? small flossy webs were being spun.
The daddy long-legs spinner located itself in a high corner.
Through the long months, the isolation, he conversed with Stanley.
Meaningful observations about life.
In time, at least two, maybe three other daddy long-legs moved in.
Livingston and Ralph, and possibly Donald, joined Stanley in creating a symphony of spidery webs.
Nathan studied them.
He wondered why he thought them male.
And decided it didn’t matter.
They brought him comfort.
It was almost love.

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Migration of the Wasps by Mario Milizia

Every November, at my home, it gets colder, deer start nibbling at the birdfeeders, and wasps invade my home.

Wasps make their way down the chimney, past the closed vent and glass doors of the fireplace, over to the cool family room windows to hibernate.

Discovering their hiding place behind the drapes, I quickly trap them with a clear plastic cup, slide a thin cardboard ad under the cup’s edge, and throw them back into the cold outdoors.

I remember the pain of the bite as a kid. I would kill them all if my wife would let me!

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Army-In-Waiting by Reena Saxena

“I feel like someone gnawing at my insides. I constantly live in fear of losing balance.”

“Your medical reports look fine. Maybe confidence-building measures will help. See a counsellor.”

The medical staff looks agitated as patients with brain fever are admitted to wards. The symptoms are different, making treatment all the more difficult.

“It looks like a new strain of virus, which cannot be detected with a microscope.” The doctor looks shaky, as the President and Army Chief are admitted to special wards.

Deep in the interiors, an army waits to take charge.

Humans will not rule any more.

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Pollen Count 2, 3, 4 by Mr. Ohh!

Everybody gather round.

Amanda’s at the hive entrance, and I can smell the pollen on her legs. My antennae haven’t vibrated like this since the almond rush last spring.

Lillian, Watch the dance! Take note of the direction and distance. It looks like a large patch of flowers, and we sure can use one after so much rain and so little food.

All right here’s Amanda. It looks like flowers to the southwest at five-thousand yards. wait, she’s turning. More like southeast and three-thousand. No, she’s shifting!

Oh Drones! You have to hate a worker bee who likes disco.

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In the Land of Insects by ladyleemaila

In a land of the very small insects
I came to visit and see their world
Ants build their nests, their treasures are buried
Termites are much older than the human race
Their soldiers and workers are usually blind
A grasshopper and a beetle fighting each one
How about spiders, where would they be?
Brazilian wandering spiders, their bites deathly
A tarantula can be a pet for its relatively harmless bite
Butterfly, bumble bee, I love their flights
Blue-fronted dancer, it bounces along its way
Insects are busy going about their daily activities
Don’t squeeze them, enjoy their beauties

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It’s Unlikely a Chainsaw by Marsha Ingrao

Sure, I make lots of noise, but usually nobody but the girls ever find us. About a thousand of us were singing in the grass at Courthouse Square when this huge black thing with two holes poked me right in the face. I quit rubbing my legs, hoping it would go away. Then, this huge, hairy stick scratched me out of the grass. I saw its eyes. A giant pink thing slurped me up and carried me away miles from my friends.

“Arff, drop that huge bug right now! Cicadas are not toys!”

I fell hard. Everything went black.

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Spiders by Jaye Marie

Spiders are a big problem in my family. Luckily, they seem to know this and rarely put in an appearance.

At least my family think so. I see them and know all their hideouts. Their webs give them away.

On those rare occasions when one does dare to put in an appearance and either runs across the floor, or turns up in the bath, I am the one my family scream for.

They tell me that September is the time when male spiders go hunting for a mate.

All I can say to them is, go pick another house!

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S’warmin Ta the Idea by D. Avery

“This prompt’s really buggin me Kid.”

“Why Pal? Ain’t like ya have ta write fer it.”

“Thought this was a insect free place. No skeeters, black flies an sech. Now the Ranch’s crawlin with creepy responses.”

“Good thing too. Think bout settin by the fire Pal. Listen. Crickets! Kin ya ‘magine life without that sound? Now, ‘member earlier in the summer, all them flickerin flashin lightnin bugs?”

“Fireflies! Yep. ‘Member when we saw thet humminbird moth at Shorty’s flowers?”

“Yep! An all the butterflies an bees busy pollinatin em.”

“Birds, Kid! Swoopin an feedin on bugs.”

“Bugs is beautiful!”

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Thank you to all our writers who contributed to this week’s collection!

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5 Comments

  1. Marsha

    These were all great and so different. Giant killer spiders/non-insects to legs that smell like pollen. This was a fun week, Charli. Thanks for sending me a link! 🙂

  2. D. Avery @shiftnshake

    What a fine fun collection, albeit creepy and spooky in part. You all rose to the occasion like a happy humming swarm of…

  3. Mr. Ohh's Sideways View

    These are great and varied Congrats to all ????????????

  4. Jules

    Yep, most bugs are beautiful. Even the biters.
    Thanks to all who got ‘buggy’ with it! 🙂

  5. Colleen M. Chesebro

    What a fun week of (yikes) spiders. I’m still creeped out by your wolf-spider, Charli. LOL!

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. #99Word Stories; Blanket | ShiftnShake - […] doubled down and given a nod to last week’s Insect Nation prompt. You may recall these characters from past…
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