Day 10 of National Novel Writing Month! I wasn’t even sure I’d get this in before teaching tonight. So thankful I did! Bee Trainer Barab Oowi needs help, and thankfully, the residents of Honey Street are there for her.
Day 10, Story 3: The Bee Trainer’s Revenge
Cradling the sick honeybee in one hand, Barab Oowi worked a glove on with the help of her teeth so she could pluck one of the unnatural lavender plants from the bush. She did not dare touch it with her hands; if the pollen affected her little lovelies so severely, she could not imagine what it’d do to her if it touched her own skin. She reached for a particularly large, nasty blossom where the red streaks through the black petals looked like blood from a wounded animal. The tiniest, faintest flecks of red dotted the inner flower—her bees had definitely been there.
Clover Gardener heard the frantic knocking on her back door and quickly shooed her son (with wax earplugs securely in) to go visit Strawberry Growers across the street. “Coming, coming!”
But Barab Oowi didn’t wait. She burst through the door and slammed it just as quickly. Her nightgown was hardly on at this point—granted, honeycomb flannels were hardly scandalous, but it still wasn’t like the Bee Trainer at all to invade another home like this. “He’s poisoned my bees, Clove! Look what he’s done to my little lovelies!”
Clover Gardener took one look at the black blossom in Barab’s hand and let out a low whistle. “Well that can’t be good.” She grabbed a salad tongs out of the pile of drying dishes and plucked the blossom to hold it close. “I recognize the shape of this lavender flower.”
“Yes. Yes, just like my lavender bushes alongside my house. Only these are so much bigger, and their smell and color are all wrong.”
“Was he snooping around your house lately?”
“No…” Barab sat at the kitchen table, her finger gently stroking her sick bee’s back. “But I did include sprigs of my lavender honey jars. I needed to cover up the look of the wax plugs.”
“Yes, yes, I get it, but you gave him a piece of you, don’t you know.” Clover Gardener set a mixing bowl between them and dropped the black blossom into the bowl. “Your bees count on those lavender bushes, and you count on your bees. His Tampering broke that connection.”
The connection broken? How could anyone dare come between Barab and her bees?! It all felt like an impossible nightmare. The little bee in her palm was so still, so weak. “Will my lovelies—” she choked. “Will they—”
“Die?” Clover Gardener had never been a subtle person. “I don’t think so.” She grabbed her trusty trowel and a handful of dried clover before sitting herself down before the bowl. “First I’ve got to learn what he used to curse the plant. Why don’t you see if some proper clover helps that bee? If it’s good for one, it could be good for the hives.”
Barab nodded and headed out back to leave Clover Gardener in peace. Deciphering another’s magic is already a tricky business, rather like undoing the stubborn knot of a shoelace. Deciphering an illegal Tampering is like untangling the ten balls of yarn the Strawberry Grower triplets threw about their living room when playing Spider.
But if anyone was more stubborn than a Tampering, it was Clover Gardner. Barab Oowi had to give her a chance.
So Barab sat down next to the biggest patch of clover in the yard. “All right, little one. I need you to be brave.” She cupped the bee next to some clover flowers, and thought. Thought hard. She felt the pain of the bee in her hand, in the hive. She tapped down her own fears, and called forth her own strength, her own magic. Whispered the words only bees know into her hands. Whispered to the wind to come gently down and pull free the poisonous pollen from the bee’s legs. The peculiar smell left with the wind, and Barab whispered anew to her little one to stand, to flutter her wings, to try the clover. She flew a little higher, a little higher, just above Barab’s hands, just over the clover, just onto the clover. She landed!
“I knew you could do it!” Barab gleefully said through her tears. “Take the good pollen, remember what good pollen is.” The bee laughed as it dug into the clover. “Yes, that’s my lovely. You’ll be all right. So will your brothers and sisters. But oh dear, we’ll have a lot to do. Start from scratch, I think.” Barab sat up and looked warily through the yards to her own. Yes. Whatever honeycomb, whatever harvest could be found in those hives—all would have to go lest old honey taint a new crop. “Perhaps Clover Gardener will find an antidote from the Tampering. Then you can all get stronger faster.”
“I’VE GOT IT!” Clover Gardener ran out with a cloud of black dust trailing behind her. One would think it was a science experiment gone horribly wrong, but then, most Tamperings look like that. “It’s the red lines on the black petals. They’re veins of Ex-Banker’s blood. He put his own vitriolic temperament in the lavender to ruin the bees.”
Barab watched her bee hop carefully from clover to clover. “But why? We’ve done nothing to him.”
“Except put a stop to all the men of Honey Street doing his work for him,” Glover Gardener tisked. “A man like that’s used to getting his way.”
The buzz of the healing bee stirred up the righteous anger in Barab’s heart. She rose, her eyes bright like honey in the sun. “Well then. Let’s see that he gets it.”
Uh oh. There’s something about Barab’s words that makes me wonder what she envisions when giving the Ex-Banker Nacle Themormo “his way.” I’m almost scared to find out! But not quite. 🙂
Read on, share on, and write on, my friends!
Anxious to read the next episode.
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I thought I was going to finish it today, but I’ll need one more installment! 🙂
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