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.”
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.) 🙄