Swarm

Submitted for Contest #45 in response to: Write a story about community.... view prompt

3 comments

The roses were in full bloom. Benny buzzed around them happily. What a sweet nectar they had. He stuck his head into the flower and took a big drink. The pollen tickled as it clung to his fuzz. After a moment he buzzed away to the next group of flowers. 

He loved his job, it was the only life he knew and he didn’t want anything else. He landed on some daisies, shaking off the pollen from the last flower as he did so. Next year there would be new flowers, better than ever, honey even sweeter than ever before. He made a few more trips around the garden before heading back to his hive. The other bees buzzed around in a flurry. Pollinating, producing honey, scouting flower beds. The work never ended.

Benny never understood why humans seemed to hate his kind so much. Weren’t they doing good work? He guessed it was probably the wasps’ fault. Wasps were always causing trouble and looking for someone else to blame. The bees took most of the heat. As a result, they were crushed, drowned, burned, and whatever else the humans could think of to thin their numbers. He hated it, but there was nothing he could do. Humans were too strong, they could always overpower bees. If the hive wasn’t beaten down with sticks it would be gassed out by men in masks.

That's what happened to their last hive. Benny remembered it fondly. A nice house in the country. They lived in the barn out back, safe from wind and rain. They pollinated crops from the nearby farms, sipped at the flowers in the front garden, and lived a generally peaceful life. Until those rotten humans ruined everything.

Two small humans came into the barn and started causing trouble. Making loud noises, throwing hay around, and generally being nuisances. It was tolerable until one of them tried to steal some honey. Of course, one of the drones stung him and he ran away crying. After that, the humans called in their special forces. Men dressed in masks and protective suits so strong the bees couldn’t harm them if they tried. They threw gas canisters at them. The gas was toxic. Many of them became sick, others died right there at the hive. In the end, only a few bees were able to save the queen and escape. 

They rebuilt in the city. It took time, but their numbers began to rise again. Within a few months, they’d already created a beautiful, new hive. It wasn’t the barn, but it was still a good home. Bees weren’t picky. If they had shelter from storms and some flowers, then they were happy. They just wanted to be left in peace. To do their jobs and help make the world a better place.

Benny deposited his nectar and buzzed outside again. Such a lovely day. The move wasn’t all bad. There was a botanical garden in the park, it made work very easy. Benny buzzed back to see what other flowers he could sip at. Maybe marigolds? Carnations? His thoughts were interrupted by some loud squealing. More small humans. Benny left the garden. 

A lot of other bees hated small humans after what happened to them, others hated humans in general. Benny tried not to do either. Not all humans were bad he knew. Some offered bees food and shelter, some were advocating for the bees even. Saying they were vital to the ecosystem and measures should be taken to preserve them, not kill them off. Benny felt sad that humans had to explain to each other how important bees were. Wasn’t it obvious?

Tulips dotted the paths of the park, they were from the bees. Some small humans were eating vegetables on a blanket, they were from bees. Giant trees spread their branches to give shade to hot humans, they were from bees too. Bees had a part in all of it, why weren't they appreciated more for it? He didn't know, he only hoped the realization would come soon.

Other bees seemed shocked Benny was back so soon. He explained about the small humans. Some nodded understandingly, others shook their heads in disgust. They didn’t understand why humans had to be around their area. Didn’t they have enough land as is? Benny brushed off the comments. He didn’t feel like getting involved with their arguments. Some of his friends buzzed around him, asking what flowers looked good in the garden today or if it looked like it might rain. 

Benny loved his hive. Everyone worked together in perfect harmony. A place for every bee and every bee in place. They all relied on each other to do their jobs properly. Especially when there weren’t enough bees to do the work.

Rebuilding the hive hadn’t been easy. Benny remembered slaving away for weeks just to form a small one. He remembered the exhaustion, how he almost died from overwork several times to meet the needs of their small hive. He remembered their relief when the queen started producing drones again. Then everything continued like clockwork. As happy as he was that they had survived, he never wanted an incident like that to happen again. 

It seemed this wish would go unanswered. Benny heard the screeches of a small human drawing closer. He had some rocks in his hand. Benny felt dread inside as he saw this. Sure enough, the small human began to throw the rocks at their hive. Most missed, but a few hit. It broke chunks from the hive, several bees got crushed. Again, it was happening again. He wouldn’t let it.

Benny buzzed out angrily. He went straight for the human’s face and buried his stinger deep inside. The human screeched and its large hand came up to crush Benny. Pain. All he could feel was incredible pain, but he wasn’t done fighting yet. Benny released his pheromones. A death cry, a call to action for the other bees. In his fading vision, Benny saw dozens of bees flying from the hive and toward the human. 

Humans don’t appreciate bees. Humans burn them, destroy their homes, and crush them beneath their hands. Bees only want to be left in peace. Bees don’t want to hurt anyone, but bees stick together. Bees help each other. After thousands of years, humans still fail to realize an obvious truth: when one bee is attacked, the others will swarm.


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3 comments

Raven Quill
19:49 Jun 16, 2020

First off, as someone who finds bees so cute, I really liked your idea to use them for this prompt. Second, you also did a great job with the parallels, it was very clear without being stated. Overall good job! I enjoyed reading this :)

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Laura Clark
09:25 Jun 18, 2020

This is a really sweet (then sad) story! Benny was so well described and I was swept along with his quiet journey. Lovely idea as well, to write from the bee’s perspective. Save the bees!

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Aqsa Malik
21:37 Jun 16, 2020

So I was looking through the stories for this prompt and I literally scrolled through all of them before I read the first sentence of this and was completely hooked. I absolutely adore bees, and the fact that your protagonist one was called Benny made me enjoy this story even more since my kitten is also called that (yes, complete bias, I know haha) but even apart from that, I love how hopeful this story was. It was the perfect length, and although the conflict wasn't blatantly horrifying, it was perfect for your premise. I loved your ...

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