The Land of Milk and Honey

Submitted into Contest #151 in response to: Write about somebody breaking a cycle.... view prompt


Coming of Age Contemporary Mystery

As he nestled within a center of spiraling trees, Kreios clutched his whetted stinger to Amara; his eyes unabashedly filled with envy. A soft, snowy midnight glow bathed them. Seeing Amara's black-coated hair reflected in it, Kreios shivered as an undeniable power gleamed in her eyes. Her susurrations echoed in the trees. She bounced up and down.

Amara was almost giddy beneath her fearfully shaking antennas.

Her sandalled hindleg languished on firmly rooted oak branches. Dense shrubbery was beneath them. Pollinated by the bee colony's hard work, wild windflowers dotted a grassy meadow. Their magnified hairs containing pollen grains provided their whole purpose, but a revolution was brewing. Almost as if an unseen war were taking place, the corpses of bees from a slow, painful death obscured a shimmering sanctuary.

Kreios's tongue was coated with the bitter taste of putrefied nectar, and though his surroundings were peaceful, he felt sphacelated, his forewings violently shaking.

With the reign of Amara, their hive transformed from a little hive tucked away in the background for humans to destroy into a multi-hive complex. She was a charismatic leader, originally focusing on the good of people. Yet, she slowly turned into a master vying for more control. Prosperous and engaging debates were shambled. Opposing opinions? Blacklisted. The only real focus was birthing more children, with no room for intellectual debates. No one could question the queen. If someone questioned a royal decree from the queen, they were either exiled into the wilderness, or killed by the death of one thousand stings. The hive was also suffocatingly hot. Rows and rows of honeycomb were produced, but nothing could satisfy Amara's ambitions.

Kreios originally supported her reign. He believed producing bee outspring led to the best chance of survival. Yet, he disagreed with her methods of throwing out any sort of dissent. Amara was turning into a dictator before his very eyes. She was corrupted by the ideas of physical survival alone, but the mental state of the hive was crucial. He started a secret moment, where he met with other bees, who also felt the same. They used unique pheromones to communicate, as they released it in an order of three to communicate loyalty to Kreios. Kreios plotted and schemed for the opportunity to strike. Thus, he invited the queen Amara out to tell her about an enemy hive. Yet, this was his chance.

To strike, right into her heart.

The only way to save his kingdom was to cut Amara's hindwings and tibia, but in his knotted mind the consequences of that action cascaded downward. But he needed to do it—for his hive, to overthrow Amara once and for all.

His colony needed him.

But, with this opportunity, could he pull it off?

"Relax, relax, breathe, you got this," Kreios whispered to himself, as his sweaty tarsal claws fought back. He moved backwards, so he wouldn't sting, in case of injury.

"Oh, you've come to kill me?" Amara faintly chuckled, as the grass was susurrating as she buzzed up and downwards in a circling movement, confusing Kreios.

"You're just a delusional queen... power has... corrupted you. Your colony remains a dead place.' He swallowed as he breathed quickly, his chest rising. "I'll provide a solution... to your... carelessness."

She dispelled his rumor by saying, "Honey, I'm the hive queen." She also believed he contained no power; he remained merely a puppet in her rigid grasp.

"Treating our workers and kingdom like damn pests infuriated me! You're no hive queen! You led them to their deaths! I cannot believe... I... supported your plans! But now I... hate them; you're leading us to the slaughter! You're just delusional."

Kreios had faith that even puppets could rise from the master's grasp.

"They support my needs, and only mine. Your sympathy leaves nothing to be desired. You want power for yourself-good for you!" Amara grumbled, her blood racing. She gasped between her breaths; her eyes were hollow with pride.

Her sardonic laughter filled the brimming breeze.

She continued, "I understand your fears. And you're right. My lifelong dreams of usurping this world's power felt successful. However, unlike me, you'll never rule because you're afraid of the unknown; it shackles you. However, it is routine for us to deny truths and hurl insults when confronted with unconventional ideas. Whenever reality runs against our wishes, we get frightened. Truthfully, my power runs the damn hive."

"Haha! Your delusions shall be your undoing.'

"You know holding your stinger to me is suicidal, right? You'll die alone."

Kreios suddenly leapt from the wooded trees and flung himself into the whistling air. 'You thought I didn't bring some backup?'

A bee army flung itself from infested wooden tree holes, abandoned rusted gorges, and golden-encrusted honeycombs. A faint yellow image was clearly visible in Amara's eyes. Kreios mercilessly released a fetid hormone into the atmosphere, blinding Amara's vision. The penurious smell suffocated Atreyu's throat as swollen, prideful bees allayed Kreios's concerns about defeat.

Amara's eyes filled with blood, tattered by her knowledge of the smell: it was the scent released by enemies during attacks.

She was the enemy of her own workers, hive, and family.

She produced the very things that killed her.

"I birthed you! I can surely as hell take it away!" She yelled, but it was no use. Long before this, the hive made its decision. She panicked, feeling fear. 'You think I wanted this? To become a queen? No, of course not! But this is survival. We all have our shitty parts to play. Some are pawns, some are queens. It's simple! The only way our hive will survive is law and order! You won't find it by bending down!' She gasped and fluttered beneath as an army encircled her. 'Do you think this world is nice? It isn't fucking nice. It's mean, cruel, and it'll crush you with gut-wrenching punches! Haha.' She tried to desperately regain the order of the hive. 'I made you! I helped you. I was the one who laid this entire damn foundation! You're all ignorant. Look at you all. You couldn't survive even if truth kicked sand in your face. Go to hell!"

"It's time to show her what pawns can do!" Kreios gleefully exclaimed.

They chided and yelled chants of vengeance. "Off with the queen's head!" 'The queen must die for her crimes!' 'The masters will perish!"

The hive formed a condensed ball. They ripped apart her limbs, eating her tensely covered ligaments. She screamed, crying tears of velvet-stained blood, but no one listened to her orders. Hundreds of smiling faces truncated their lives to kill the queen, the foundation of their creation. From this, Kreios successfully cajoled them into a sense of security when the queen left. Death filled the whole atmosphere.

He cavorted in the air, gazing down at Amara's shredded remains.

The satisfaction he felt was immense. Immediately after hearing her buzzing sounds and voice, Kreios canvassed the area to ensure there were no enemy hives.

Kreios's audacity and pride stupefied his hive's supporters. By vilifying those who were against his grand plans for dominance, he unified his army into a cohesive force, not torn apart by division and hatred. He envisioned transforming the hive from a small colony into a world-conquering nation. He needed soldiers. He has them now.

But, even when the queen was dead, Kreios's body was encumbered by a sense of both sensuality and wanton emotional damage; he stopped wharfing pheromones of fear, as the threat of danger and harm was lessened.

Kreios laughed and pondered in his mind, buzzing above the ground. "She thought we were pawns, but pawns can be queens at the end of the chess board."

"Well, hive, it's time to find a new queen!" He fluttered through the fliting wind, his hindwings coruscating. The sun rose as the light illuminated the carnage below.

June 18, 2022 04:43

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Seán McNicholl
11:46 Jun 20, 2022

A great story here! Loved the personification of the bees and you created a fantastic tyrannical queen. Loved the uprising! A few things just to consider (and take everything I say with a pinch of salt because I am by no means a writer): - some of the language might pull the reader of out the story. For example using trachea instead of throat. I know trachea is more technically correct but it’s not common-use language and that sort of thing can sometimes remove the reader from the story. Just a thought! - Some of the dialogue felt a wee b...


20:35 Jun 20, 2022

Thank you. My downfall has always been dialogue, so I appreciate recommendations. :D


Seán McNicholl
22:25 Jun 20, 2022

No worries! I usually read my stories out loud to see how they run, I find this especially useful with dialogue at times! See if it feels natural to say out loud etc. Just an idea!


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Amanda Lieser
01:34 Jun 20, 2022

Oh wow! Ok, I’d like to start with things I loved in this piece! I adored the use of bees. I loved the dynamic you created between your two MCs. The use of the word “languish” was amazing. It’s one of those words I really love, but somehow forget to use. I thought your language was absolutely beautiful. At times, I thought it was almost a little too poetic-specifically, with some of the parts where the Queen is speaking, but I could also argue the use of that type of language added characterization to the interaction. I’d love to hear your t...


01:53 Jun 20, 2022

Maybe I'll change up some of the language to make it more realistic. I am a poetic prose flower who withers with the slang and all of that urban jargon, lol.


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01:56 Jun 20, 2022

I changed a lot of the dialogue to make it sound less prosy.


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Graham Kinross
06:07 Aug 29, 2022

Stories from a non human perspective are always interesting if they’re done well. Your descriptions are great and the character building is really well done.


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Moon Lion
09:22 Jun 20, 2022

This story had such beautiful and gripping prose; it looked and felt like a song come to life or something. Then the story proceeds, and I have to say, even with the horrible things that happened, the story retains this noble mood. Awesome work, will totally check out more of your stuff!


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T D Crasier
00:33 Jun 20, 2022

Enjoyed your story. Think you mean faucet near the end.


01:52 Jun 20, 2022

Thank you for catching that error! I have changed it, T D.


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