The Compulsion of Bees

April 25, 2011

A European Honey Bee flew out of a hive. The first thing it noticed was a different light, a darker environment. There was far less sound and activity. Flatness described the world that lay before the bee, something that pulled out an emotion it had never experienced before. Its little wings buzzed, and it flew in a twisting path up and around invisible obstacles in the air. There were no flowers. So the bee flew home, after an unproductive day.
Disorder marked the atmosphere of the hive. The bee’s did not understand and worried for their queen. Starvation already affected the queen. The queen sent worker after worker out for food, and not one came back with it. The queen’s features grew worse, and its body thinned. This appearance worried the workers, causing much distress. But the queen laid its eggs, in spite of its condition, and probable future.
The queen died later. And the society once in place, broke down. The worker’s objective in life was gone forever. The worker buzzed into its hexagonal apartment. Many of the workers flew into their apartments and lay down to die. The worker did not comprehend the situation before it. What could it do? The room it had brought food to was empty, save for the rotting queen. Its workers, the same as it, did not know what to do. Many were simply dying.
The worker left the hive again. Flatness was easily apparent, just like the last visit. The darkness was peculiar, as the temperature of the world had not changed. Heat still poured out from the sky. The worker’s path was again a winding one. It buzzed for a long time, before it found a living flower. So the worker fed that day, and returned to the hive.
Its neighbors were mostly dead. Some lived. Most fed on the honey left in the hive. Many hoarded what was left. There was little fighting though. The workers kept to themselves, which seemed to work.
The worker flew into its hole. And it slept. When the worker woke, only a hundred or so bees remained from the once prosperous colony. Each had slept with a stash of honey to its own. All the worker bees now worked for themselves. The worker bee buzzed around the hive, searching for untaken honey, and surveying the lingering population. One worker had stood out from the rest, for its wings were ripped off, and with them, this worker’s ability to survive. The worker returned with honey, to leave with the crippled one. This was no trade; there was just recognition of aid, and thanks.
The worker left again, off to search for a flower. Its buzzing path brought it back to that one lone flower. So that day too, the worker fed. When it returned to the hive, all the workers were dancing in delight. Their bellies were full, and all were socializing. The worker danced with the others, her wings buzzing and sending her off in a twisting path. The worker had never felt this before; no objective had to be fulfilled, and what remained was a sense of peace and harmony. The food to be gathered was for her, and if the worker could help the weak, she might. And She was happy.

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