I Did Not Tell Them
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…”