Formaldehyde and Vines: Chapter 5, A Fool's Bounty

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Visiting the police was useless. The sheriff just brushed off Xavier’s words. He knew a lot of people were missing, but to be honest, he blamed it on people finding new zones and joining new hives. Xavier and Olive were walking out of the precinct when a tall, tired looking ant with a 5 o clock shadow walked over to them. “Immortal Ban’s the name. I’m a bounty hunter for hire, but your case is one I’m willing to take on for free. A few weeks ago my sister went missing”. He took a long drag of the already burnt out cigarette in his hand and sighed when he realized he had to re light it. “Call me Ban”. The trio walked off into dusk discussing the case and Ban filled them in about the rest of the missing ants. According to him, that scream in the park has been the first possible evidence of foul play.

As they traveled back to the park, Xavier started really taking in his surroundings for the first time in his life. The hills in his neighborhood were beautiful. Each member of his colony took such pristine care of their duties and it showed. When Xavier met Olive, he was still a freshman in ant-school. He was on the sports teams but he wasn’t very good. His father always thought he could make it big. Olive was an artist. He would always see her outside drawing, painting, or creating. She always looked like her mind held the key to happiness and she just floated whenever she walked. Xavier went into teaching because he loved history and hoped to one day work in the towns museum, but art never left Olive. She is one of the towns most well known decorators. All of the ants come to her for help on making things look exactly they way they vision it. Xavier had gotten so lost in thought he nearly bummed into Ban before realizing they had already made it to the park.

Across town, in a small hidden shack, a hand emerges from the shadows to grab an old rotary phone. A hidden ant is relaying a message to the shadowed creature. “It seems there might be some eyes on us now, might be best to lay low right now. I- no boss! I get what you’re saying but-“ the hidden ant took a deep sigh. “Yes boss. I understand”. The phone line dropped and it was just silent. The hidden ant smashes his fists on the table in front of him and shoved a stack of old news papers onto the floor. He knows that with this new bounty hunter on the case, things just got a lot more complicated. It might just be time to do something about this Xavier. He was given strict orders not to touch Olive yet, but boss never mentioned anything about Xavier.

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