My wife was an apicologist. Bees were her life. She even had hives and a lab set up in our backyard so she could study them all year round.
One day, she came running into the house, almost hysterical. Her right arm was covered by a writhing, seething mass of yellow and black. She’d done it. She’d managed to create a pheromone the little critters couldn’t resist. Like moths to a flame.
I was so proud of her, so happy that her years of hard work had finally borne fruit. Maybe we could celebrate, even venture out for dinner at her favourite restaurant, I suggested. But she wanted to keep working.
She locked herself in the lab, only emerging to shower and to eat, leaving me to go to bed each night without her by my side. Eventually, I was having dinner alone, days passing without me seeing my wife. When she did appear, always in a rush, she looked detached and distracted, her eyes bloodshot and crazy. She smelled awful and her hair clumped up in dirty, ugly knots.
As she spent more and more time with her bees, we stopped speaking, only texting one another. Bella sent me videos, clips which grew increasingly more disturbing. I watched, aghast, as she grew bolder with her pheromones, lathering progressively more and more of herself with it. The bees, driven to a frenzy, swarmed her naked body. Hundreds crawled all over her, buzzing and waggling in unison, as if in a trance.
Eventually, she stopped replying to my messages.
I decided to go down to the lab myself, to see if she was okay. The place was overrun with bees. Thousands upon thousands of them. Rows of honeycombs covered the walls and the ceiling, like some sort of alien infestation.
The air was filled with a rhythmic, angry buzzing.
There, she was, in the center of the room, an almost human-shaped mass of tiny legs and wings sitting on a chair, bees covering her every inch. As I moved closer, her head turned, a few bees shifting to reveal her eyes. She hissed at me to get out, before the workers reorganised, filling the gaps. Making her whole once more.
I begged Bella come to her senses and come back home with me. But she said she was home. That the bees were her sisters, she was their queen.
And so, I left her with her bees. My life was in tatters, my wife gone. But I told myself she sounded so happy, so content, so complete. That this was for the best.
Before I moved on with my life, I swung by the shed days later to say goodbye to my dear Bella. But I saw no bees flying around, only a few dead and dying ones about.
Bella was on the ground, convulsing, her body covered with swells. She breathed in wheezing, tortured gasps.
“They wanted babies, baby bees but I just couldn’t give them any,” she sobbed.