Marci parks her car in a space on the forest ranger’s parking lot. She and her college classmates, Alice and Andi, walk into the ranger station, to register, plan their hiking trail and to receive a safety packet from the ranger. Afterwards with their backpacks, tent rolls, composite bows, quiver full of arrows, they’re on the trail, hiking to the campsite, enjoying the surrounding beauty, and their get-away from the city.
At the campsite, they set their tents, Alice builds a camp fire while Marci and Andi, with their bow and arrows hunt for rabbit and fish. At the end of the hunt, there is enough meat for them to eat a good meal, with vegetables from cans, and packets of condiments.
“Damnit, did anyone bring ketchup?” Alice asks.
“I did,” Andi says.
“Thank you,” Alice says.
After the meal, they clean up the area, store things in their proper places, then sit around the campfire, chit-chatting about everything except romance, until the stars replace the sunlight and sleepiness makes them to go into their tents for the night.
In the morning, it is Marci turn to build a campfire while, Alice and Andi, decide it would be better to hunt for fish for breakfast than small animals. They catch enough fish for a good breakfast. Finished with breakfast, they clean up, then prepare their packs for the day’s hike to the second campsite. Once there, they hunt for their evening meal, eat, chit-chat into the night, then into their tents to sleep.
In the morning, after breakfast and cleanup, they prepare to break camp for the hike. The crack of a shotgun gets their attention; they stand still, look into the dense shrubbery, tree, yards from their campsite, to figure out, where is someone shooting. They heard more shots that pinpoints a direction for them to scan. They hear more shots.
“The ranger said that there would be no big game hunting for months,” Alice says.
“Maybe a camper is being attacked by bears or wolves,” Andi says.
“Those shots came from the forest interior not the camping trail,” Marci says.
They listen for more shots but hear none then they hear strange noise from the bush, coming their way fast. Marci grabs her bow, nock an arrow, pull the string back, aim in the direction of the noise that’s become louder.
“Do you think that we’ll need that?” Alice asks.
“Hell, yeah, it might be a wounded bear; shit, it sounds like a car coming fast,” Andi says. She gets her bow, nock and arrow, aims, bow strings pulled back. Alice does that same, just in time because the ant, the size of a full size black bear, breaks through the bushes, at a fast pace. All three arrows penetrate its body then another volley does the same that makes it slump to the ground, dead. It is then that they realize that it is not a bear.
“What the fuck,” Alice says.
“It’s a damn ant as big as shit,” Andi says.
“Where the hell did it come from?” Marci asks.
“We better call the ranger station,” Alice says.
They hear noise from the shrubbery.
“Shit, another one is coming,” Andi says.
They nock arrows, aim, bow strings pulled back. A man appears, carrying a pump-shotgun. Out of breath, he says, “damn, you got it.”
“Yeah, we got whatever it is,” Marci says.
Alice walks away from them to the backpacks. “I going to activate the thing,” she says.
“Where is she going,” he asks.
“To alert the nearest ranger,” Andi says.
He shouts, “hey, wait a minute, you can’t do that.”
“Like hell I can’t,” Alice shouts.
He raises the shotgun, points it at her. An arrow from Marci’s bow plunges into his shoulder. The shotgun fires but aimlessly at the ground; he drops to his knees, grabbing at the arrow.
The ranger station was already alerted to the shots by other campers on the trail. But, it took a photograph of the dead ant sent to the chief ranger by cell-phone to convince him of it. The man was airlifted by helicopter to the hospital under guard. The forest rangers gathered, and heavily armed, tracked the trail of the ant and man that led them to an illegal marijuana farm. Where it was determined that the man used a growth chemical on the plants and a few ants were strayed also.
“It looks like he killed them all right here, but we better search the area just in case, one or maybe more got out like the one those girls killed,” Chief says.
“About these dead ones?” Ranger asks.
“Drag them into a pile then set them on fire,” Chief says.
Marci, Alice and Andi decide to never speak of the ant to anyone unless the forest rangers announce it first. Nobody believe the man, claiming that he is too high on marijuana; however, he is charged with growing marijuana illegally on state property, and careless use of a firearm on state property. Marci, Alice and Andi continue their camping trip, afterwards, return to college. Then, one day, three months later, each receives in the mail a certificate of merit for preserving the forest as a safe place, and a free lifetime camping pass, without a mention of the ant.