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Tales & Wails: The Beekeeper

Entry 1: Are you afraid of bees?

The Beekeeper

Nicolette Nuytten

The bzzzzz of wings stopped as something tiny and tickly landed on my leg. I froze, waiting for the painful sting.

Clever kids aren’t afraid of bees, I won’t bother them, and they won’t bother me.

Those are the words my mom taught me. I repeated them in my head like a magic spell. A droning hum sped past my ears before fading into the distance as the bee flew away. Alone at last, I breathed a sigh of relief.

That day, I was picking daisies in the field behind our house. The white and yellow flower tops bobbed around in the gentle breeze as if nodding hello. I nodded back. My bouquet was beautiful. Mom was sure to put it in the vase on the table, where everyone could see it.

But to my dismay, the fizzy bzzzzz started again. The bee was back, and it had brought others. Soon, there was a whole swarm of bees, hovering around me in a circle. “What do you want?” I asked.

Bzz bzz, went the bees. They flew towards a deep green thicket and stopped as if they were waiting. It was the strangest thing. I couldn’t remember having seen those trees before. The buzzing became louder, more impatient. I hate to admit it, but I was scared, even with mom’s words in my head.

Clever kids aren’t afraid of bees, I won’t bother them, and they won’t bother me.

They seemed bothered. They were sure to get annoyed if I didn’t do what they wanted. With that thought, I followed the bees into the forest.

As I made my way down the path, the sky grew darker and smoky fog filled the air. Cottony wisps drifted past, as thick as the clouds in the sky. I reached a clearing. A figure stood there, holding a funny-looking thing that puffed out fog. It was like someone had attached an accordion to a kettle. The figure wore a mask made of mesh, like a fishing net. I should have been able to see his face through the mask, but for some reason, I could not.

The bees flew to his side, weaving in and out of the smoke. The campfire-like smell made me dizzy and drowsy. I wanted to go home, but I also wanted to know why the bees had led me here, so I worked up some courage and said, “Hello. Are these your bees?”

The beekeeper didn’t answer. He took a step toward me.

“What do you want?” I asked, trying to sound brave.

Again, he didn’t answer. He took another step. As he came closer, his face did not become clearer. It was only a shaky dark blur with two bright yellow eyes, staring back at me.

Clever kids aren’t afraid of bees, I won’t bother them, and they won’t bother me. A thought came to me, crystal clear: I think it’s smart to be scared of THESE bees!

I turned and ran, letting go of the daisies I’d picked. The harsh drone of insect wings roared like a hurricane. They were right behind me, coming closer. I did not look back; I ran and ran and ran until my breaths came hard and my mouth was dry. When I couldn’t run anymore, I stopped and listened.

The wind whispered through the trees, a cricket chirped, and nothing made a bzzzzz.

I was back in my backyard.

When my heart stopped pounding with fear, I smiled and thought, Let the beekeeper keep his bees. He won’t be keeping me.

About the story

I love ghost stories, nature, and insects. All my favorite things are in this story! Most bees aren't scary; they're very important. Bee kind to them.

Connect with Nicolette

Tales & Wails is a short story competition is a chilling combination of spine-tingling stories and visuals co-hosted by the Slush Pile Monster Writing Group and Fantasticarium.

All lovers of the macabre, gothic, and spooky stories are encouraged to participate. Whether you’re a writer, ghost hunter, or just want to get into the Halloween spirit, join us!

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