Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: North (05/05/16)
- TITLE: Bees Will Be Bees
By M. C. Syben
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Mishaps follow me like a shadow, especially when I set down. Luckily, Dad saves me from birds, frogs, and all the bees’ enemies.
“Bees will be bees,” he tells Mom.
Yet, Dad is grim about Floating Feeders. “Son, Feeders drift to and fro on waterways. They stop to devour gigantic boxes filled with snacks. Remember…avoid the temptation.”
Suddenly, a roller approaches, loaded with fresh annuals. I don’t think twice. I alight on tasty golden mums where time vanishes. Now, I seem trapped in one of those boxes Dad warned me about. Would a Feeder feast on me? I want Mom, Dad, and the hive. I begin to shiver—so cold.
I wake to a spot of light that warms my wings like summer sun. I fly up to the pinhole. Can I escape? Wait. Unfamiliar vibrations fill the air. This can’t be home. Soon, I feel movement, but I wait patiently remembering Mom’s advice. “If you don’t stop buzzing about so fast, you’ll be flying in circles, going nowhere. Stop and think.”
I’m hiding within a leaf’s fold as my box exits the feeder, but, immediately, it is loaded on to another roller. Sadly, nothing about our destination says home, where the last snow melts, and sprouts are peeking through the ground. Instead, I’m unloaded into a beautiful garden where it’s balmy and warm—not part of the plan.
A jovial stranger approaches me. “Bisseeahh. Bisseeahh.”
“I…I don’t understand?”
“Oh, you not from here? I say, Ciao.”
The stranger chest bumps me, then air kisses me… on both cheeks. Yuck. “Yo, mister,” I protest.
“You-ah bring flowers?”
“Actually, they brought me.” The bee sounds like none I’ve heard before.
“Where am I?”
Laughing, he said, “You, here. In Italy, of course.”
“My home is much colder. I’m lost,” I admit fearfully.
“No worry, little one—colder. You from the North. Stay, eat, yes-ah?”
“Thank you, but my parents must be frantic. Just to be sure, which direction is North?”
“Always, left of the rising sun. That way. Arrivederci.”
Thankful for the Italian’s kindness, I take off, buzzing through the night. Finally, I land on a frond to drink and rest.
“Bonjour,” I say. “So, young to be traveling alone, petit fils.”
“I’m searching for cold, salty air—where flowers just begin.”
Again, I’m surprised by an air kiss, this time only one cheek, with no hugs, thank goodness.
“Little one. Continue North.”
I begin another long trek where the temperature drops. Happy but breathless, I land by a shimmering pond.
A stout fellow catches me by surprise with a hearty wing shake—no hugs, no kisses. Whew. I explain my quest.
“Ach…ya. I heard stories of young ones lost in Germany. Travel Northwest. Toward the salt. Look for Floating Feeders. But this time, you must choose a crate of Tulips. Patience floats you home. Wiedersehen.”
The German’s directions lead to a briny chill. I spot a field of tulips but barely escape rotating paddles that capture the wind. I crash onto the last tulip crate inside a box, on Rollers. It soon arrives at a Floating Feeder. Bruised, relieved--I burrow into the soil for warmth.
Did I oversleep? Golden rays beat down.
“Good grief, this place is sizzling,” I exclaim. “Am I in Italy, again?” I ask a passerby.
“Son, look around; ya’ll in Florida.”
I brace myself for a strange greeting but, thankfully, none comes. “I’m lost. I’m trying to find my way home to cold, salty air.”
“Sounds like you’re a Yankee, son. I do believe you best point yourself North. Take the Fly Way--just a stone’s throw from here. Come on.” I follow while listening to his advice.
Rollers speed along the Fly Way in both directions. I spot one zooming North that wears a picture of familiar fruit with yellow flowers. I wave goodbye to the Florida gent.
“Y’all come back.”
I coast on smooth current for a day. At sunset, I set down on the back. Vibrations seem familiar come dawn. ‘Better jump before I ride too far.’
I know this place. I’m North! I’m home!
Members of the hive greet me: “Yo, dude.” “Where’d ya go?” “Whoa…you’re gonna get it.”
“Junior. Get over here. You worried us.”
“Bzzz.” The hive bows as Mother appears.
“Mom! You won’t believe where I’ve been.”
Dad cringes as Mom gives him one of ‘those’ looks before gently whispering, “Bees will be bees.”
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