Except When It Doesn’t

Prompt: The Cold Only Kills

Finian was crouching on the ground, watching the ants. They were always busy. “What are they doing, Da?” he said, looking up.

“Getting ready for the winter,” Da said, crouching down beside him. “They’ll fill their tunnels with food, so they won’t have to come out until the weather is warm.”

“Momma said they die in the cold,” Finian said, frowning.

Da smoothed his hair. “They seem dead,” he said. “Really, though, they’re just sleeping.”

“The cold doesn’t kill them?” Finian said.

Shrugging Da said, “Some die of it, but most of them snuggle up together and sleep.”

Momma called them, then, her tone vaguely scolding. As Da stood, Finian bounced to his feet. “Buh-bye, little ants. Sleep tight.”

He scampered up and caught Da by the hand. For some reason, he liked to hear that Momma was wrong. The cold didn’t only kill. Sometimes, things hid under the ground to wait for the cold to go away.