“Love Stings” * Flash Fiction * Samantha Meddaugh

I impatiently burst through the opening of our stuffy home where we have been secluded for several long months and take in the fresh air. The sun shines so brightly and beautifully in my compound eyes. My yellow stripes gleam like sunlight, my black stripes dark as night. My name is Phoenix, and I’m a young female worker bee.

Spring is almost over, and summer is making its move, filling the days with a welcoming warmth. As my antennae take in the aromas of the garden and I  open my spiracles to the fresh air, I stretch my fragile but powerful wings and take flight. I start to dreamily relive the days when I fell in love with Blaze Bluebell. And my heart pitter-patters.

How do I begin to describe him? He is a flower, a Blue Bell, a beautiful blue-purple with petals soft as pure satin. His nectar is the sweetest I have ever had, intoxicating. Blaze grows in the McDougal garden, not far from our beehive. One day last summer, the McDougal’s 5-year-old granddaughter Evie, who is severely allergic to our stings, batted at me with a flyswatter, injuring my left wing. Spiraling toward the ground, I was unexpectedly saved by one of Blaze’s petals. He welcomed me, fed me with sweet nectar and kept me safe until my wing was strong enough to fly again. Thus began a romance that lasted the rest of the summer. One day, Blaze and I will be together forever, and we will cherish each other for the rest of our lives. But right now, my mission is to be reunited with him.

It took a while to get my bearings; being cooped up, I lost my sense of direction, flying in meaningless circles in our hive. Garden by garden, I buzz in a frantic search for Blaze. Some backyards, where the gardens exist, are pristine, while others are messy. They are the livelihoods of these humans, places to congregate for barbecues, parties, and frolic in the brilliant sun. To insects, these backyards are cities. We work in these cities by pollinating flowers and herbs in gardens. We congregate and socialize in these cities. We live in these cities. I’m told that bees, flowers, and humans need to co-exist in order to thrive and survive. Something about the ecosystem. Someone needs to tell Evie this. She doesn’t understand the importance of plants to me, my bee family, birds, or other insects. In the garden, she yanks and stomps and laughs without a care while destroying our city. Evie needs to be stopped, but she is greatly feared.

It seems like ages before I finally see him. My Blaze. So handsome with his blue petals hanging in full bloom, swaying in the gentle breeze. It even looks like he is waving to me. I’m coming, Blaze, I’m coming, my love. I cannot wait to taste his nectar and feel his silky petals beneath my feet. As I draw nearer, I spot Evie dancing close to Blaze. My temper rises instantly. “Don’t you step on Blaze!” I loudly buzz. I need to protect him like he protected me. As Evie twirls away, I gently land on one of his petals. “Oh Blaze, how I have longed for you, I tenderly whisper to him. Tasting his sweetness is just as I remembered it. I want to stay with him forever. All else vanishes around us as our love is reignited.

I am savoring his nectar when suddenly I am thrown, tumbling backwards onto another flower. Evie stands over me smirking. I am hurt. I watch helplessly as she plucks my handsome Blaze from the ground. “Noooooo!” I cry out horrified. Evie takes a sniff of his fragrance, then laughs as she continues to dance around. Rage explodes inside me as ultraviolet clouds my vision, and I gather up every ounce of strength to get airborne. I want to sting Evie. But if I do, I will die. I don’t give it another thought; I drill my stinger into Evie’s hand. She screams and drops Blaze, my stinger swelling up the soft flesh of her palm. I am faint as I float down, down, down until I collapse onto Blaze. Has our co-existence with humans killed us all?

My gaze slowly drifts back toward the garden. In the dirt rests Evie’s face, now painted blue as she convulses and gasps for air. Her eyes stare blankly ahead at Blaze and me. I smile ruefully as our city has been finally saved from a monstrous and destructive being. Ever so gently, Blaze’s petals curl and fold around me, forming the tomb where we will be together forever in death. Our love nourishing the city that once nourished us.

—About the Author—

Samantha Meddaugh loves murder mystery audio books, baking, corny jokes, and pulling pranks. She lives in Wisconsin. She has three articles previously published with Aromatica Poetica including “A Blind Baker’s Perspective: Interview Plus Holiday Recipe”!