After their move to Cornwall, Nate thought that it was only natural for his wife to take up a new hobby. He wasn’t prepared for Polli to immerse herself in beekeeping with such determination. Maybe it was Mr Comb’s influence. Their new neighbour was a renowned beekeeper, who assumed the role of a mentor towards Polli.

Before Nate knew, Polli had joined the local beekeeping society, read every book on the subject and approached her new role with an almost mystical reverence. She disappeared for hours on end to tend to her beehives. In time, Nate grew jealous of the creatures that seemed to keep his wife imprisoned with their charm but kept him at arm’s length with their power.

When he remonstrated with his wife, Polli only laughed. “You don’t understand, darling. There is magic in the darkness of a colony of bees! I can never leave them, they’ll resent it, they’ll make us pay for abandoning them…”

After a few months, Nate was delighted as he looked at Polli sitting beside him on the plane taking them to Barbados. He had finally convinced her that they needed to celebrate their silver wedding anniversary in style. This holiday was a long time coming. Polli sat quietly, thinking about her hives stacked high, feeling guilty as sin. During their holiday, she fretted and kept telling Nate that she’d forgotten something. Nate was irritated, the temptation of setting the blasted beehives on fire taking form in his mind. He even dreamt of doing it!

On their return, Polli immediately dragged him to check on her beehives. To her sadness and confusion, only silence reigned.

“Where are you, my sweets?” she cried. Suddenly, the swarm came out of the last hive, a dark cloud of buzzing resentment. It simultaneously landed on Nate, covering him from head to foot. His and Polli’s screams brought Mr Comb running. He looked at the now unrecognisable Nate, a swollen, dead thing, laying on the ground, before the crying Polli addressed him.

“I forgot. I didn’t tell the bees we were going…”

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Carrie OLeary
Carrie OLeary(@carrie-oleary)
6 months ago

Great story, Greene. I didn’t realise that you were supposed to tell your bees that you were going until I read Diana Gabaldon’s last book, ‘Go Tell the Bees I am Gone’. That proved very educational on the merits of telling your bees what’s happening in your life and definitely if you’re leaving. Enjoyed reading your story.

Margarida Brei
Margarida Brei(@margarida-brei)
6 months ago

I love the twist at the end of the story, the pun on the protagonist’s name and her passion for bee keeping. Well done, Greene.

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Lotchie Carmelo
Lotchie Carmelo(@lotchie-carmelo)
6 months ago

Hello, Greene. I really love bees, especially their honey. But I didn’t realize that bees understand us. How interesting it is. Great job, Greene. 

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Lotchie Carmelo
Lotchie Carmelo(@lotchie-carmelo)
Reply to  Greene M Wills
6 months ago

You are welcome, Greene. And thanks for sharing the symbolism of honey.

Linda Rock
Linda Rock(@linda-rock)
6 months ago

Oh my, Greene, this sent shivers down my spine but I loved it! That last line… what an ending! Great writing.

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Sandra James
Sandra James(@sandra-james)
5 months ago

Wonderful story, Greene, and perfect last line. Somewhere in the back of my mind I remember reading something about needing to tell bees about leaving etc. Perhaps I read the Cornish legend. I wonder if the bees somehow knew Nate dreamed of setting fire to their hives?

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