What Lives Within (Fiction)

Dead tree trunk in our yard... my imagination frightens me with possibilities of what has made this home...
Dead tree trunk in our yard… my imagination frightens me with possibilities of what has made this home…

I went inside a beehive for the first time last night.

You think I’m crazy; I see it in your eyes. I know, because it’s the same look my husband gave me when I told him about it this morning.

But it’s true. Even as my husband scans the Yellow Pages for a psychiatrist (doesn’t he know the internet is much more efficient?) I stand by my claim. I have a bee sting on my neck to prove it.

Well, Larry (that’s my husband) says the flaming red welt doesn’t prove anything- except that I’m a raving lunatic with an allergy to bee stings.

In defense of Larry’s skepticism, it seems logically impossible for a woman my size – five feet-six inches tall, one-hundred-forty pounds…. okay, five-foot-four; one-hundred-sixty pounds- to be able to fit inside even the largest of hives. Near as I can figure, the bee sting must’ve shrunk me in some way and they carried me in.

I made the mistake of supposing this scenario to Larry.

One eyebrow raised, he’d studied me for a few seconds. “You seriously believe bees carried you into a hive. Just how many bees did it take to do this?”

***          ***          ***

He looks up at me and reaches for the phone, left index finger marking a number on the yellow page.

The light in the room dims and we both turn toward the window behind him.

“What the-” Larry’s jaw hangs slack.

I walk to the window, almost in a trance. I place my palms on the dual pane glass separating me and the thousands of bees. “They came back,” I murmur.

I hear the chair scrape on the tile. The window grows warm beneath my palm and outstretched fingers. Burning, as if a flame flickered beneath my bare skin.

“Hi, yes, I would like to have my wife evaluated.” Larry pauses. “Well, she says she was in a bee hive last night.” Another pause. “Yes, inside the hive.”

The heat radiates up my arm. I want to scream.

“Um, yeah, that’s her.”

I must have screamed.  His voice is more audible, so I know he’s turned toward me.

“I’m not sure what’s happening,” Larry says in a quivering voice.

I want to tell him it’s okay, but I sense otherwise. I gasp for breath.

“She’s collapsed on the ground clasping her stomach.” Another pause. “Yes, I’ll call 9-1-1.”

“What the-?”

I hear the phone drop to the floor before I cry out in agony.

For a second time, words escape  him. I hear his footsteps retreat and the front door slam. The skin on my abdomen tingles so I rub my hand across it. Puzzled by the moistness, I look and am shocked by the smear of blood and the dozens of bees clustered around my fingers. Gasping for breath, I crane my neck to get a better look.

Hundreds of bees pulse in my abdomen, visible through several holes in my skin. As their energy increases and they venture further from me, my strength weakens. I’d read about the spread of hybrid cleptoparasitic bees in an article on MSN but chalked it up as sensationalizing to get clicks (it worked.)  Now, I know the threat is real.  They have chosen me.

I also know it will be a matter of time before they leave me an empty shell.

~~~-~~~-~~~-~~~-~~~-~~~-~~~-~~~-~~~-~~~-~~~-~~~-~~~-~~~-~~~-~~~-~~~-

This was a story I started for a writing contest, but missed the deadline. This week of Christmas, you might expect a feel-good story… which is why I decided to finish this creepy/bizarre tale. I’d hate to become too predictable 🙂

Inspiration:  A few fears came together for this one.

First, there is my fear of bees in general, heightened by the increased presence of Africanized honeybees (a result of hybrid breeding), which are generally more aggressive than European honeybees.

Second, in doing some research on bees, I read about some cleptoparasitic bees, which use a host bee’s nest to thrive, eventually killing off the host.

Third, I remembered the horrifying ways of the tarantula hawk. This wasp actually overtakes the tarantula and lays the egg in the spider’s abdomen. Several months ago, I’d watched some YouTube videos of tarantula hawk wasps in action, and found a National Geographic video that gives me nightmares. (Click the link, if you dare… bwahahaha!)

Bringing all these fears together, I wondered, “since humans like to muck around with nature, what if further cross-breeding resulted in bees that thrived in human hosts?”

Normal people don’t think this way, do they?

On that note, have a wonderful holiday! I may not be online much for the rest of the year.  Just wanted to warn you that any absence is only temporary.  I will refrain from typing the obvious 3-word Terminator catch-phrase.  (You’re welcome.) 🙄

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27 thoughts on “What Lives Within (Fiction)

  1. suzicate December 21, 2014 / 8:15 AM

    This IS a creepy one-now I’m going to be wondering what inhabited the hollowed out tree in my yard we had taken down. Oh, I already know the answer-ants; so, now I’m going to have nightmares about ants, ha!
    Merry Christmas to you and your!

    • jannatwrites December 21, 2014 / 7:04 PM

      Ants can be creepy, just by their sheer numbers 🙂 Thanks for stopping by, Suzicate – I hope you have a merry Christmas with your family!

  2. Debbie December 21, 2014 / 12:35 PM

    Love what you’ve done here — both the oh-so-creepy story and the new decor! As for the twisted tree, if it were here, I’d say it would make a good home for bats, which can be just as terrifying as bees, if you ask me! Enjoy your time off and do have a Merry Christmas!

    • jannatwrites December 21, 2014 / 7:06 PM

      I’m glad you like the story and blog format changes, Debbie! I was hoping it had a less cluttered look. I tend to latch on to what I’m used to, so switching themes was a bigger step than it probably is for many people 🙂 Bats. Oh, no way! That thing has to go. I hope you have a merry Christmas, too!

  3. joannesisco December 21, 2014 / 12:36 PM

    *shudder* super-creepy story!

    I’m definitely going to stop watching animal world documentaries … just in case 😉
    I’ve heard about bugs that lay their eggs under your skin … and my husband wonders why I have a bug phobia!!

    • jannatwrites December 21, 2014 / 7:22 PM

      Some of those documentaries are pretty graphic and make me squeamish, Joanne. Bugs that inhabit our bodies to survive is just plain creepy… I think they are worth being feared 🙂

  4. newwhitebear December 21, 2014 / 1:12 PM

    I will always read, even if I do not comment often. Your stories are always interesting.
    A happy Christmas

    • jannatwrites December 21, 2014 / 7:23 PM

      I do appreciate you reading – and commenting, Newwhitebear – thank you 🙂

  5. Björn Rudberg (brudberg) December 22, 2014 / 1:16 AM

    Believe it or not.. you have nailed one of my worst fears.. ever since reading in school about Parasitoid wasps.. I especially remember reading from an infected beetle’s perspective in one of our school-books (yes that’s the only time I got night-mares from school-books).. and every time I had an itch I expected it to grow with insects feeding on my insides.)

    • jannatwrites December 23, 2014 / 9:50 AM

      Whew, glad I’m not the only one freaked out by that, Bjorn! The video I saw and linked to was of parasitic wasps emerging from a caterpillar. Freaky. Here’s to wearing long sleeves and pants 🙂

      • Björn Rudberg (brudberg) December 23, 2014 / 10:19 AM

        Living in Arizona.. Hmm. I remember everything thorny, all animals poisonous.. cheers to long pants 🙂

  6. Carol Ann Hoel December 22, 2014 / 8:30 AM

    You have an Alfred Hitchcock imagination, Janna. Have a good rest from posting. We all need to take off time once in a while. I’ve been struggling to post during this busy season. Blessings to you…

    • jannatwrites December 23, 2014 / 9:50 AM

      Sometimes I do take a walk on the bizarre side, Carol Ann. I hope you have a wonderful Christmas 🙂

  7. Sean December 22, 2014 / 11:39 AM

    This one was on the really weird side. I did not see the end coming that way. And you say that you don’t like writing creepy 🙂 Although the story was pretty short, it flowed well. I’m sure you could have elaborated on parts further but then it may have caused you to lose more sleep. i think this may crack the top 5 for the weird creepy category. Take care and keep up the good work.

    • jannatwrites December 23, 2014 / 9:52 AM

      Well, my mind is a strange place, Sean. Thanks for visiting it (at least you get to leave, haha!) I wanted to keep this one short, but you’re right, I could’ve filled it in a bit more 🙂

  8. Emilio Pasquale December 23, 2014 / 1:36 PM

    I never thought you were a princess. And I was right. You’re a queen! A queen bee!
    “Let me be your ruler (ruler)
    You can call me queen bee
    And baby I’ll rule, I’ll rule, I’ll rule, I’ll rule
    Let me live that fantasy.”
    Well, if you want to live this fantasy, feel free. I’d rather stay up late reading a Stephen King novel in a haunted house! You scare me, Janna. And I love it! 🙂 Happy holidays to you and your family. Hope you enjoy.

    • jannatwrites December 24, 2014 / 12:49 AM

      Nice comment, Emilio {clapping} Had to laugh at the inclusion of the Lorde song. Reading a Stephen King novel in a haunted house? Wow, this was that scary? Cool! 😎

      Thanks for reading – and I’m glad you liked the story, it is a bit out there. I hope your holidays are enjoyable too!

  9. Leigh W. Smith December 31, 2014 / 4:45 PM

    Love it when you write these speculative, utterly fantastic(al) stories, Janna. As I’ve said/written before, you do the creepy stories quite well. I don’t have a fear of bees, but it made me cringe with the descriptive imagery of bee clusters on her fingers, pulsing bees, and holes in the abdomen–in other words, your writing mission was easily and well accomplished. See/read you in 2015!

    • jannatwrites January 1, 2015 / 12:54 AM

      Your comment made me smile, Leigh. This story was way out there and I’m glad you enjoyed it. This is one story I won’t go back and re-read anytime soon 🙂 Hope your New Year is off to a good start!

  10. pattisj January 1, 2015 / 9:02 PM

    Only a writer would think such things!

  11. agjorgenson January 8, 2015 / 7:51 PM

    Oops! Read one of your posts before bedtime again. Note to self….

    • jannatwrites January 8, 2015 / 9:15 PM

      Sorry about that, Allen. You wouldn’t expect something like that right before Christmas 🙂

  12. Tessa January 14, 2015 / 9:19 PM

    Creepy! Loved it!

    • jannatwrites January 14, 2015 / 9:52 PM

      Thanks for reading, Tessa – this one was a strange one!

  13. Sarah Ann February 4, 2015 / 5:32 AM

    (I’m so late commenting here, it’s embarrassing.) I love it when you go wild and whacky. You incorporated your inspirations really well – the story makes sense without the need for explanations although add to the sense of the whole thing. You draw the character of your narrator really well (love the height/ weight change). Pity she has to die, although she seems quite calm and resigned to it.

    • jannatwrites February 5, 2015 / 9:22 PM

      Thanks for reading, Sarah Ann! It definitely wasn’t a warm and cozy Christmas tale, haha. Sometimes I don’t know why my brain comes up with the stuff it does 🙂

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