‘Why do all the kids at school scream when a bee flies in?’ Belle looked up at me, cornflower blue eyes reflecting the low sun rays.

I sigh. I’ve always wondered the same thing. Having grown up in the backwoods of Norfolk, their lazy buzzing symphony around Mum’s pansy plot was a soothing alarm clock in summer.

‘Look, there’s one!’ Squealing, Belle jumps up from the tartan picnic blanket and points to the sky.

On cue, like a miniature gold and black helicopter, a fat, fuzzy bumble bee drifted over our heads on the balmy breeze. Its wings were little more than cobwebs, flapping in the corner of an old cabinet.

I smile, a feeling of warmth spreading inside me as I watch Belle hop up and down and clap her hands.

Despite being halfway across the meadow now, we still trail the bee’s journey. Up, down, back, forth, loop-de-loop until it finally lands on a blood red poppy, that waggles as the little creature rummages for pollen.

‘Is it true they die if they sting you?’ Belle’s face was suddenly grave, and it feels like a sulphur fog surrounds us. Looking down at the perfectly trimmed grass, I frown and nod.

It’s a fact that had kept me awake, night after night, in the old barn conversion I grew up in.

It was the first time I had been stung and I was probably about the same age as Belle is now. I had been searching for caterpillars amongst the hydrangeas at the front of the house when I’d stuffed a sticky hand into a bunch of petals. A sharp sting drew a shriek from me, and I ran in the house, tears streaming dirty rivers down my cheeks.

Mum dried her hands on a floral tea towel and pulled a pair of tweezers from her handbag.

The little black barb hurt more coming out and the red lump was on fire.

‘Don’t worry,’ Mum said, going back to her washing up. ‘They die after they use their sting, so there’s nothing to worry about now.’

I was staggered.

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    Carrie OLeary
    Carrie OLeary(@carrie-oleary)
    1 year ago

    Welcome to Voice.club. What a wonderful little story, Elizabeth. I loved the rapport between mother and daughter and that Mum has passed on her love and respect of bees and other insect to Belle. A very enjoyable read, nicely written. Well done ?

    Lotchie Carmelo
    Lotchie Carmelo(@lotchie-carmelo)
    1 year ago

    Hello, Elizabeth. A warm welcome to voice club. Your story brings back memories of me. I remember when I was first bitten by bees. It was very painful and I was crying until mama saw me, and she treat the bee bite and smeared it with honey. In just a few minutes the hurt was gone. I think honey from bees is an effective medicine for its bite to prevent swelling and… Read more »

    Linda Rock
    Linda Rock(@linda-rock)
    1 year ago

    I loved your description of the bee and that last line is brilliant! You have a lovely style of writing, hope to read more from you.

    Sandra James
    Sandra James(@sandra-james)
    1 year ago

    Welcome and well done, Elizabeth. A great story with a perfect ending. I’ve been stung a few times and although my skin still shivers thinking about it, like Belle and her mother I don’t like the thought of a bee dying afterwards. Bees get bad PR sometimes but I hope others reading your story will find sympathy with them just as your protagonist did.

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