a short story about a honey farm, a bee hive, and a cup of tea

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Die For Your Queen

a short story about a honey farm, a bee hive, and a cup of tea

"Honey for your tea?" The farmer asks. "Our bees make the best honey."

I accept her offer and take a sweet, tangy sip, enjoying the tingle of spice. The light in the room thins as a cloud passes overhead. I feel a storm coming. Behind me, the first fat drops of rain begin to ping against the window.

"The bank made its decision," I say. "We're repossessing the farm. I'm sorry."

"Me too," she says with a strange look, and then I hear the buzzing. I turn to face the window. There are no rainclouds. A massive swarm of bees has congregated, hurling their tiny bodies against the glass with ping after ping.

"Bees communicate through the language of pheromones," she says. "It’s not so hard to learn how to speak with them. To command them."

The swarm batters the window in a frenzied mass. I stumble back and they mirror my movement. Across the room, she picks up the heavy ceramic teapot.

"Take the alarm pheromone for example. It takes the lightest dose to mark a threat to the hive, a honey thief."

The honey in my throat burns with spice. I lunge at her, but I'm too late. She hurls the pot and the window shatters. The whole world becomes the angry song of the hive, and I feel it, I feel in my flesh, in the thousand crawling, stabbing bodies all over me: how sweet and right it is to die for your queen.

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Short story written by Peter Chiykowski

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Story prompt taken from a photo by Eric Ward

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