The Bees

Wyld FLASH– August 21 2020

Abigail Celeste

Everlyn truly loved three things; the color yellow, her leather-bound journal, and Sam.

 She spent hours of the day watching him from across classrooms and PE fields, some hollow part of her ringing. And yes, she knew it was silly and maybe even a little wrong— but whoever stopped doing something because it was wrong?

It only changed when she fell out of her favorite watching tree during PE. Everlyn had watched him swing his arm back and launch a dodgeball at another student. He made it look so graceful, she forgot her footing entirely.

As she waited in the ER, Everlyn’s mother said, “What were you doing in that tree?”

“Nothing.” She stared at the ice-pack on her wrist, which was only doing so much to numb the throbbing pain.

Everlyn’s mother tilted her head, closed the magazine in her lap with the pictures of women with permed heads. “Everlyn.”

She looked up. Wiggled her toes in her sneakers.

“I was in a parent-teacher conference yesterday.” She placed a hand on Everlyn’s knee. “Sweetie. Liking someone is okay— wonderful, even. But you can’t let it consume you. Surely there’s something else you’d like to do with your time than watch a boy?”

Everlyn didn’t answer. Because she truly didn’t know. She didn’t see the merit in diversifying her time.

 She sometimes felt like a moth drawn to flame, unable to help herself. Sam’s beauty was that powerful.

“Just promise me something, Everlyn.” Her mother’s eyes were so blue, so pleading. “Promise me you’ll find another hobby this summer. Hiking, maybe. You remember how much you loved walking the nature trail in the park?”

Everlyn didn’t want to find another hobby. She wanted nothing more than to wait all summer long writing in her journal about how much she wanted to see Sam. But she nodded.

So, Everlyn walked the nature trail in the park that she and her mother had once frequented, but she was still unable to stop thinking about Sam. Every rock was the color of his shadowy eyes, every bird’s song was his voice. And perhaps it was her distraction that took her off the path and into the lair of the bees.

The hives, dozens of them, were the size of the family station wagon, all hanging from thick boughs. Bees the size of her fists flew between them. Their hum was loud enough to make Everlyn’s teeth rattle in her skull.

A particular bee buzzed down to her with fervor.

Ah, Guest.” Its voice was like the humming of a tuning fork. “What is it you desire, chosen one?”

Everlyn, taken aback, asked the bee what it meant.

“We are the bees of desire. You found us, so there must be something you desire.”

She wondered if this was really like the stories she read, where fair maidens were granted wishes. “Well…there’s a boy. But I don’t know what to say to him.”

The bee said, “Give me your glasses.”

Everlyn did and screamed when the bee made a horrible croaking sound and vomited all over them in her hand.

Ignoring her horror, the bee said, “These will see truth now. Use what they show you.”

The next day, the last day of school, Everlyn resigned herself to capture her last glimpses of Sam before everyone left for the summer. She sat near the back with her thrice-cleaned glasses and doodled in her journal, watching the empty desk where Sam always sat two seats ahead and one to the left.

He walked in. She looked through her glasses.

Sam had golden hair; honey-golden, like sweet summer afternoons. But what struck Everlyn was what lay above his hair: three lines in curling golden script.

            Requested: Popularity

            Received: Beauty

            1 year ago.

Revelation hit her like holy golden fire. At PE, she walked up to him with shaking knees, still wearing her gold-rimmed glasses.

 “Hey Everlyn.” Sam smiled, radiant. “I heard about your wrist. You okay?”

 Air was a stranger to her lungs. “Oh. Yeah. Thanks. For your concern. Um…”

 “Something you wanted to talk to me about?”

 “Yes,” she breathed, and before she could think of a better way to bring it up, she blurted, “You’ve seen the bees too.”

 For a moment he just stared at her, blinking. Then, slowly, his face changed to recognition, then panicked intensity. He leaned in close to her. “How’d you know that? Did they tell you?”

Her excitement at having something in common fizzled away at his anger. “Um. No, I can see it. They changed my glasses— Now I can see truth, or something.” She tried for an easy smile.

Sam looked at her glasses, but Everlyn couldn’t help but think it looked a little like he was staring into her eyes.

Then he reached out, snatched her glasses off, and snapped them.

She let out a startled noise, but it was too late. Though her vision was blurred, there was no mistaking the bent halves which Sam then crushed underfoot. She crouched on the ground, searching for the pieces, her mind not processing, not believing…

Everlyn looked at him, helpless. “I— I don’t understand.” Heat like flame burned up her neck. This wasn’t at all how she’d dreamed of her first real conversation with Sam.

“Don’t you get it? Do you remember what I was like last year?”

“Last year? I didn’t know you last year.”

“Exactly. No one did. But now, people can’t get enough of me, can they?” He looked at her with a knowing smirk.

Then she remembered him from one year ago, a boy with hair the color of dust and a flat smile that boasted of nothing.

found the bees first,” Sam said, his expression hungry and cruel. “They made me special. You can’t use them too. They’re mine; they work for me.”

He then walked away like he hadn’t just completely crushed her. Everlyn stayed rooted in the grass, clutching her broken glasses. In her hands she held two different Sams— one, beautiful and golden, the other unrecognisable. As he walked away, she watched the two Sams merge together, and after a stretch of time devoted to contemplation she’d never thought to give Sam, she thought she knew why she had liked him in the first place.

Everlyn held up one splintered lens to her eye, and through the fracture she saw the golden glow of magic around him. Magic that enchanted everyone he came into contact with.

Something fragile hardened in her, burned and sealed up the cracks with steel and gave her a new summer hobby.

She was going to find the bees again. And this time, she would ask for something that would destroy his beauty and his popularity that he’d wanted so badly.

The Bees was first published at Wyldblood.com on August 21st 2020

Author bio: Abigail Celeste lives in sunny Florida and is currently studying Creative Writing at the University of West Florida. She’s never previously been published outside college literary journals.

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