𝗙𝗿𝗮𝗻𝗸𝗲𝗻𝗯𝘂𝘇𝘇: 𝗔 𝗠𝗼𝗱𝗲𝗿𝗻 𝗣𝗿𝗼𝗺𝗯𝗲𝗲𝘁𝗵𝗲𝘂𝘀
𝘣𝘺 𝘊𝘩𝘢𝘯𝘦𝘭 𝘌𝘢𝘳𝘭
Monsters surround me.
Even as I write, millions of tiny wings brush up against the door. I say brushing, but it’s more of a pushing, a violent crashing of black and yellow battering rams against my silent protector.
The humming started softly, a single bee sounding in my ear. Now their combined buzzes vibrate the door, the house, and the very air around my veiled face.
They were disappearing once, flying off into the woods and never coming back. We thought CRISPR could save them. Now, who will save us?
My thick white uniform is sweltering. As I lick the sweat from my lips I taste only the honey used to sweeten my tea and butter. I remember drizzling the golden syrup over waffles in the morning. I would bake honey cakes, served with ice cream. When dad brought home the raw combs I jumped and squealed. I licked the sweet stolen nectar from every cavity. I licked my fingers, my arms, my lips; I devoured every drop.
Now I sit in my dark wooden chair and shake. They will not be sweet again. When they find their way through the cracks in the woodwork and into this last safe place not even my hat and veil will protect me. My smoke screen will clear, my woolen shields will tear, and my bare white hands will turn chickenpox red.
The humming grows louder as the bees enter the walls.
As a child, I broke into their hive. I reached my skinny arms into the long thin slats and searched for the sweet virgin combs. I dreamed of mom’s honeycomb sandwiches: layers of clear white tessellations, angel food cake, and cool whipped cream. I would dive into it with fanatic enthusiasm.
Now they have entered my home. But these are not the bees of my childhood. These are stronger. They now have tempers to match their bright yellow bodies.
How old was I, eleven, twelve, when I pulled back my thieving arm with a jerk? Hundreds of poison needles burrowed into me, and I screamed and cried as the frenetic swarm attacked.
Now that same roar sounds around me. I drown in it. I rub my arm and begin my busy pacing. I comb my hair, that incessant hum ringing through my beaded brush. I cough. I bring my hands to my ears and hum, drowning out their bee song. They continue to buzz, a thousand zeppelins bringing their beating to a zenith. Surrounded. Bees surround bees, me. ✦