Wednesday April 11th, 2012

The exercise:

Write about: the swarm.

With the apricot trees blossoming, Kat's parents have brought in the bees to do their pollinating magic. That means the orchard between our place and the garden is buzzing, pretty much constantly. It makes me a little nervous.

The playoffs opened up tonight, with Vancouver losing 4-2. Not the start I'd wished for, but hopefully they bounce back on Friday night.


Simon and Beth sat in their car, holding hands in a silence that did not extend beyond their vehicle's interior. They tried to remain motionless in order to avoid drawing attention to themselves, but each would regularly give in to the temptation to turn around and check for successful invaders.

Outside the buzzing seemed to increase in volume, its unending vibration never quite fading to the background. The bees were much too large and menacing for that.

Every few minutes one would slam into the windshield or a side window, as though they were seeking a weak spot in the couple's fortress. Simon kept hoping they would give up and move on to easier targets, but Beth knew better. Stranded at the side of a rural road in the middle of nowhere, there was no easier prey to be found for miles in every direction.

The car had run out of gas, as they knew it eventually would - any gas stations that hadn't already been abandoned were stocked with attendants that wouldn't risk coming outside for any sum of cash.

They'd just hoped the gas tank would outlast the bees interest in them. If only they'd been so lucky.


Greg said...

Vancouver have done this to you before though, just building a little tension at the start to get you on your seat for the rest of the playoffs! I'm sure they'll come back in great form.
I'd heard about people bringing in bees for pollination, but this is the first time someone I know is involved in it. Do they come in in hives, so they've got somewhere to go back to at night? I'm sure you're less interesting to a bee than the blossom!
Hmm, those seem like ominous bees in your tale today; there's a kind of Stephen King feel coming from it. I'm expecting you to somehow spend ninety pages with the couple never leaving the car but the tension increasing all the while.

The swarm
"We have a problem," shouted Dr. Septopus as he ran past the Council of Nastiness's council chamber. Sylvestra, who was sat at the big oval table doing her accounts, looked up and wondered why he'd not stopped to explain what the problem was.
"Swwwwaaaaaaarrrrrrmmmmmmm," came a distant cry, and she laid her pen down for a moment to ponder that. Had she just misheard him scream "It's warm?" Had he tapped into the lava lake under their Fortress of Unpleasantness again?
When eight Green Lightbulbs floated past the door on hovering wheelchairs, she suddenly remembered that Dr. Septopus had been working on a steam-powered cloning device, and a chill of pure terror wriggled down her spine.

Cathryn Leigh said...

So many ways I can go with this one. My mother kept bees at one time (and she might again knowing her) and I’ve watched a swarm being collected. But then I’ve got another, not so obvious reference... Though I wonder if I should as it is biographical... and I really don’t want to mention names... but oh it fits so well!

@Marc – I’m with Greg, those are definitely killer bees of some sort... and larger than normal I expect... Greg’s also right about the flowers being more interesting, so just mind yourself and your manner and to the bees be dandy... *giggles*

@Greg – Yes the hives are transported by truck to the site, probably drugged with smoke (the smoke makes them think there’s a fire, so they run into the hive and drink as much honey as they can hold, which then makes them a bit lethargic) and then loaded on to the trucks and transported at night... at least that’s how I’d do it. :}


“What do you mean the workers are leaving?” Mr. Blossoms exclaimed. “they can’t leave! I founded this Hive, they work for me!”

“Uh, technically, Mr. Blossoms, they don’t.” The assistant sighed. That statement wasn’t going to help the tantrum.

“Oh that’s right,” Mr. Blossoms’ fumed. “They fired me! How can they fire me from my own Hive!”

The assistant watched as Blossoms paced, turning him into a cartoon flower, complete with steam steaming from two of his petals.

“Fine!” Mr. Blossoms turned back to the assistant. “Who’s the Queen of this swarm?”

“Well sir,” the assistant floundered slightly, “there doesn’t seem to be one...” He quickly continued before Mr. Blossoms could erupt again, “they just seem to be a group of, well sir, Angry Bees.”

Krystin Scott said...

The torrential downpour was over at last! Its end finalized by the melody produced in part by the croaking of a small group of frogs. Kyle sat in his cabin listening to the rain steadily drip from the roof. Then something much larger banged hard on the metal flashing. It was followed by another heavy thud, and another, and another.

“What the hell was that?” Julie said as she raced to the window.

“It’s nothing to worry about. The rain probably just knocked some pine cones loose,” Kyle replied, “They’re pretty big up here in the mountains.”

Julie spun around “Uh, Kyle, it’s not pinecones; you better come take a look at this!”

Kyle ambled over to Julie and scanned the grounds surrounding the cabin. He watched as huge ugly toads fell from the sky.

Julie looked crossly at Kyle, “That ain’t normal!”

“Nope!” he said, “Not a bit.” A smile started to creep across his face but disappeared as he caught sight of a black dot floating in mid air. He pointed,”Julie, what do you think that is?”

Julie pressed her face against the glass. “How should I know?” came the agitated reply, “You’re the Ranger.”

The couple watched in awe as the ominous black mass grew in size coming closer and closer. Suddenly a large yellow object slammed hard into the glass, just inches from Julies face. She screamed and skittered away from the window falling backward over a small metal heater.

Kyle looked from the window to Julie and from Julie to the window. “Locusts?” he said bewildered.

His face contorted at the sudden realization, “What have we done?”

The locusts were upon them now, their bodies blocking out the light and covering the cabin in inky darkness.

(Clipped some plagues - so it wouldn't be to long....)

Anonymous said...

’It’s happening again!’ I thought - that dreaded writer’s block had afflicted me for a couple of days, now. Writing was the last thing on my mind when that same mind was readily swamped with a swarm of things to think about, plan and sort through. My life was poised to change again, as suddenly as it had but months ago; it wasn’t coping with the seeming inanity of writing snippets for the entertainment of people I would never get to meet.
The topic was “swarm”. Bees immediately came to mind, but it’d been done. I didn’ want to look like a plagiarist, though it was hard not to, sometimes, when a dozen or so people took to writing about the same topic. 
I wanted something original to jump out at me. Wasps were only a step away from bees. No, too predictable; nothing jumped back at me from the recesses of my normally inventive mind.
I would just have to let it sit today.
Maybe tomorrow things would be different. Or next week, I’d get the inspiration I needed - only too late for the prompt.

Marc said...

Greg - yeah, they bring them in a hive. You definitely have to stay well away from it while they're active.

Haha, love that you managed to connect this to the hovering prompt :)

Cathryn - sounds like Mr. Blossoms is not going to get any happier any time soon :)

Krystin - ugh, that last paragraph gives me the shivers. I can just imagine being trapped in there.

Writebite - it's good that you're still managing to write even when you're partially blocked though.

Also: it's never too late for the prompt :)