Sunday, April 1, 2012

A is for Abatwa

Today kicks off the Blogging A to Z challenge.  For the month of April, participants in the challenge write a post starting with that day's letter (working sequentially through the alphabet.)  For my theme, I have chosen fairies and mythological creatures.  I will choose a creature and do a day in the life of as a creative exercise. 

So, without further ado, I give you: Abatwa
The tiniest creatures of human form in existence. They coexist peacefully with the ants in the anthills of Southern Africa and eat plants. They are very shy but they tend to reveal themselves to very young children, wizards, and pregnant women. (Source)


            I woke to the sounds of the ants.  My roommates were always moving, filling the hill with a perpetual hum of energy.  I climbed out of my nutshell bed and straightened my little alcove before heading out to the main tunnel.  An ant rounded a corner in the tunnel and I hastily flattened myself against the earthen wall, getting out of his way.  It’s not that my companions weren’t kind, but he was carrying several times his body weight worth of  seeds, taking them to the deeper parts of the hill where the young ones would soon be hatching.  He tilted his head curiously as he approached and I hummed a little tune to tell him who I was.  Ants have terrible eyesight, especially in the dark recesses of the tunnels, where they find their way by memory.
            The ant trundled on by and I peeled myself away from the wall.  I set off, following the tunnels that sloped upward.  Unlike the ants, I could see just as well in the pitch dark as I could in daylight.  Once I reached the surface, I took a moment to survey the grassland before stepping out into the light.  My people were easy pickings for birds and lizards, and I shuddered at the thought that you never knew what was lurking just outside the hill. 
            I once met an abatwa who’s hill had been devastated by an anteater.  He had described waking to the walls falling around him, narrowly missing the long, sharp claws that destroyed his home and the whip-like tongue that devoured his comrades.
            Taking a bracing breath of the dry African air, I set off, my pouch slung over my back.  I would return with it full of seeds and grasses for the ants to eat.  I patted my stone hunting knife, comforted by its weight at my hip.  If I was lucky I would find some grubs and smaller insects as well.
            Most hills were kept by a family of abatwa, who looked after the ants in exchange for shelter.  In my hill it was just me.  My parents had died long ago, and I hadn’t found a suitable mate.  Unattached males traveled in the spring, looking for a home.  I hadn’t seen another of my kind in at least three seasons, and I wondered if I would always tend my hill alone. 
And that's where I stop! That was fun :)


  1. Reading this as such fun. Imaging the scene in my minds eye even more so.

  2. Great story :) I love the imagery. Just followed, looking forward to more of your A to Z posts :) Thanks for stopping by Gladiator's Pen

  3. Wonderful story and a great idea for the challenge.

    Here's my blog:

  4. Nice grammar and punctuation. Good level of detail too. I thinks you know how to write.

  5. Very well done . . . would like to read more.

  6. Its tourture that they don't go on. lol. I'd definitly read your books. :)


I'd love to hear your musings :)