Isaac’s Adventures Underground: Chapter Twenty-two

Isaac was once again hunting for the baseball, when he saw Miss Muffet in the distance. She and two other ants were each carrying a large barrel. Isaac looked down again and managed to spot the baseball.

He shoved it in his pocket and jogged over. “Hello again,” he said. “Is that the honeydew? Do you need any help carrying it?”

“It would be nice to send one of the guards ahead to warn the queen, but you don’t look strong enough to carry a barrel,” Miss Muffet said.

The ants were holding the barrels loosely, as though they weighed almost nothing. Isaac wondered if the ants were making fun of him. “Let me try to carry one,” he said.

Miss Muffet nodded and one of the ants set down a barrel. Isaac bent over and tried to pick it up, but he couldn’t even lift it. He sighed and shook his head, and the ant picked it up again.

“I guess I’ll be the one to go warn the queen,” Isaac said.

“That would be nice,” Miss Muffet said.

Isaac took the baseball out of his pocket and jogged back to the baseball game.   Before he threw the ball to the pitcher, he went to talk to the queen, who was standing by first base.

“Miss Muffet is coming,” he said.

“That’s good. Where’s the ball?”

Isaac handed it over and the queen tossed it to the pitcher. The game started again. The batter swung wildly, but missed the ball. The crowd murmured. After two more frantic attempts, the poor ant was out. “That was terrible, take her away,” the queen said.

Guards dragged the ant away, and another ant left the crowd of spectators and picked up the stick. Isaac looked back. Miss Muffet and her guards were just coming over the hill. They headed towards the edge of the crowd.

Isaac turned back to the game, just as the batter missed the first ball.   “Hit the ball,” the queen shouted.   The ant took some practice swings and nodded.

The pitcher threw a curve ball. The ant missed again. “Last chance,” the queen yelled. The ant nodded and held the stick a little closer and leaned forward.

The pitcher pulled her arm back and started to throw the ball. Someone screamed. The pitcher let go as she turned to look. The ball flew into the crowd. The batter chased it, swinging her bat. The crowd started yelling and running around wildly, bumping into each other.

Miss Muffet was shouting loudly enough to be heard above the noise. The queen reached her side in a few strides.   The panicking crowd still cleared a path for her. Isaac followed the queen before the path through the crowd disappeared. “What is going on? You interrupted the game with your screaming,” the queen said.

“When I set down my barrel, there was a spider on it,” Miss Muffet said.   “I wasn’t expecting it.”

“Where is the spider now? Guards, take it away!”

“I don’t know,” Miss Muffet said. “It’s gone.”

The queen turned and watched the panicking crowd. Someone bumped into her. “Take her away,” the queen yelled. Then she waded into the crowd, yelling for this ant or that one to be taken away.

“We need to find that spider,” Miss Muffet told the guards. They disappeared into the crowd. Isaac stayed next to the barrels. It looked safer. He didn’t want to be trampled by stampeding ants.

The chaos continued until the ants had all either been dragged away or done the dragging. Only Isaac and the queen were left. She came over and picked up the barrels as though they weighed nothing and started to follow the last set of guards over the hill.

“Wait,” Isaac said. The queen turned, and Isaac tried to swallow away his nervousness. “Your Majesty, please wait,” he said. “I have a question.”

“You may ask your question.”

“Do you know a way out of the cave?” Isaac asked.

“What cave?”

Isaac looked around at the grass and sky. “It may not seem like it, but all of this is underground in a deep cave.   I need to find my way back out.”

“I haven’t gone past the boundaries of our territory since I was very young,” the queen said. “You may wish to speak to the mole crickets. They know much about the underground.” She turned to leave. “They are on my way. If you follow me, I will introduce you.”

“Thank you very much,” Isaac said. He raced to follow her. Just as they started climbing the hill, he nearly tripped over Jimmy’s baseball.   He picked it up and shoved it in his pocket and jogged up the hill, following the queen.