Hello, Internet! Cole here. This month, I’ve been faced with a rather lofty challenge: a lack of new material. Normally, I write about the major events of my life and add my own perspective to them; however, nothing remarkable enough to write about has happened this month. As a result, I’ve decided to try something a bit different: writing a short story about bees. This will be a new experience for me, and a bit of a risk on my part for that matter, so constructive criticism would be greatly appreciated.
The wind blew steadily over the field at a low pace as Hiverson worked. He buzzed from one white tulip to the next, drinking the sweet, sugary nectar from each one in turn. He’d considered going to the next field over to gather nectar from the red flowers there, but he’d decided against it. After all, he thought, the Queen put the Hive next to this field for a reason. She likes the tulips’ honey best.
To his right he saw Beeter, his best friend, flying through the air. However, because bees are mostly uniform in shape, size, and marking, he didn’t recognize Beeter at first. Watching while he worked, he eventually managed to identify Beeter by his flight pattern: an acrobatic series of loop-de-loops that more closely resembled a dance than a flight pattern. Since all worker drones derived from the Queen and thus closely resembled each other, they distinguished themselves – and identified each other – through various mannerisms.
Soon enough, their flight paths crossed each other. Beeter flew over Hiverson, doing a small zig-zag turn as he passed – a sort of greeting to Hiverson. Hiverson was always impressed by Beeter’s agility – he was the best at waggle-dances, and his flight path passed higher than those of the other bees because he just enjoyed flying that much. Hiverson wished that he could fly as high as Beeter did.
He was so busy musing over Beeter’s aerial antics that he almost didn’t notice the end of his flight path – that is, until his next flight-hop met with air rather than a blossom. He caught himself just before he hit the ground, propelling himself back into the air. A fall of that height wouldn’t kill him – he knew that – but he was shaken all the same. Pushing his anxiety back, he steered himself towards the hive to turn in his honey reserves.
After emptying his honey-stomach, Hiverson was approached by Barnabee.
“Hello, Barnabee,” Hiverson greeted. At the mention of his name, Barnabee winced. Hiverson had never been sure why, but Barnabee hated everyone’s names and preferred to use pronouns when addressing others.
“H-hello…” Barnabee responded.
“So, what brings you here? Don’t you normally spend time with Charlie?”
“Y-yes, um…” Barnabee stammered. “Ch-charlie’s… sick.”
“Y-yes, the doctors examined him and everything.”
“Will he be alright?”
“W-well, um… he… he has…” Barnabee was stammering even worse than he normally did, and he was beginning to shake.
“H-he has the Sk-skells.”
Hiverson paused, not knowing how to react. “The Skells? Are you serious?”
“Y-yes. He’s in the I-infirmary Section. They’re – they’re treating him as best they can, but-”
Hiverson didn’t know how to respond to this. Charlie had the Skells? No, that wasn’t possible. The disease had been eradicated long ago… hadn’t it? If Charlie had it, though…
“Um, so… w-what should we do?”
Hiverson responded quickly. This was a very serious matter, and all honeybees knew where to turn in case of serious matters. “Come on, Barnabee. We need to see the Queen.”
When Hiverson and Barnabee arrived at the Queen’s chamber, it became clear that everyone had the same idea. The chamber was packed – more so than it usually was – and there was a visible anxiety in the crowd. Of course, this was perfectly understandable; when the Skells virus emerged 10 generations ago, it almost wiped out the whole colony.
The Queen sat at the center of the room. She had put on weight since Hiverson last saw her; of course, her 1,000 pregnancies hadn’t been kind to her. “Now, now, children, pipe down,” she said in a vain attempt to ease the tension. “Everything is under control. The doctors will make sure the disease doesn’t spread – ”
“Under control?!” one of the bees shouted. “It’s only been a day, and 350 drones are already in the infirmary! It’s only going to get worse from here!”
350 bees were already infected? In one day? This was serious. The Skells had a very high mortality rate, and if it spread this quickly… Hiverson didn’t want to think about what could happen, even though the most likely result was painfully obvious.
“And what about the soldiers, huh?” another bee questioned. “If they get infected, no one will be able to ward off the Blood Cardinal!”
The bees nodded in assent. The Blood Cardinal was a major threat to the hive; in fact, the Blood Cardinal was a major threat to everything in its territory. The first thing it did when it came to the local ecosystem five generations ago was kill several birds that were unfortunate enough to cross its path. The remaining birds soon fled, but it then moved on to terrestrial animals; it was actually seen killing a cat. The colony made it a policy to avoid the Cardinal at all costs; if it could kill a cat, then it could certainly destroy a hive.
“Yeah!” another bee interjected. “My brother has the Skells, too! What are we going to do? We have to help him!”
“Wait, my child. Which brother are you referring to?” the queen in
“I – uhh, the one with the… I-I mean… I have to go check on the honey!”
The bee turned and flew out of the chamber, blushing as brightly as a bee could blush. That is, since bees don’t have red blood, not very brightly at all.
All the bees were in an uproar at this point. Hiverson could see that the Queen did not have any control over the situation; after all, she was a mother first and a leader second, and she wasn’t used to times of unrest. Hiverson decided he needed to remedy the situation. He said the first thing that popped into his head:
“We need to get the Silver Honey from the hive to the North! That’s the only cure for the Skells.”
His outburst brought a hush over the chamber. One by one, the bees turned toward Hiverson. They considered his words carefully.
And then they all burst into laughter.
“The Silver Honey? You actually believe in that?”
“Haha, yeah! What a maroon!”
“You think that there’s some ‘magical panacea’ in the North that’ll just solve the problem? Don’t make us laugh!”
Part 2 will be shared next week on Feb 23.