We’d heard the stories, but we had always just thought of them as myth, urban legend, folklore, or fairy-tale…
This particular day we were just trying to catch a bumblebee. We should have thought better of it, especially when it landed on the sunflower, but we were so involved. Fae’s voice drove us like an orchestra, “I’m catching up my baby bumblebee…” It just got so out of control that nobody noticed two important things.
First, the bumblebee was not a regular bumblebee. It was some sort of bumblebee fairy, and it was out scouting. If we had slowed down and looked at it a bit closer we might have noticed the tiny discrepancies hidden in its form. For example, a tiny human like body folded delicately beneath the hump of black and yellow hair. Perhaps we might have given a thought to the fact that it perched on that sunflower knowing we were chasing it. Regardless, we paid no heed.
The second thing we failed to notice was that our bumblebee landed on a sunflower. Our Granny called sunflowers Hard-work Flowers. She said each seed in the center represented a hard lesson learned, or a hard lesson lost, and sometimes a seed represented the trapped spirit of the learner itself. Granny said sometimes the land of milk and honey was just too much for some learners, and they never came back.
Granny described the land of milk and honey as a magnificent place of comfort and extravagance. She loved to describe the waterfall; its golden waters flowed downward slowly, rolling over itself in flaxen waves. Occasionally, tiny air bubbles got trapped inside a wave making it look as if tiny diamonds were being washed down the waterfall in a gold ripple of honey. She always washed her hands after she talked about it saying that she just felt sticky. Regardless, the image Granny created was no less vivid then the one we experienced when we fell through the flower.
It was like seeing through golden lenses, and no matter how many times I blinked everything had a rich syrup yellow fog over it. The air tasted like grandma’s oatmeal in the fall when she has flavoured it with honey crystals and warm milk. However, a surreal lazy feel was present marking something as stagnant.
Fae had always been described as an old soul, one of the old folk. Granny said Fae’s name has links to the fairies. I think maybe she sang us through that day, and I think she sang herself back. She was the youngest of us, but she always learned her lessons fast and even taught them to us on occasion. This day though, she just looked at us. She said, “Wynter, I cannot stay.” She started to sing, and a bumblebee swooped down and grabbed her under the arms and lifted her into the sky. She never stopped singing as the two of them became smaller and smaller objects on the molten horizon. That was the best view we got of the bumblebee fairy, very human like under that bumblebee bump.
Anyway, that left Belladonna and I standing on the bank of a milky river growing more intoxicated with our surroundings by the moment. Everything felt sickly sweet. It was as we stood there staring at the spot where Fae had been that I became aware that our feet were sinking into the ground the same way a spoon sinks into the pot of pure creamed honey when it starts to warm up.
It came to me then, but it was slow at first like those first rays of rising light that pepper the skyline. Just like those radiant lemon coloured rays that grow to be a dazzling ball of fiery yellow light illuminating everything, my conscious did the same. It started with Fae; Fae saved herself. We must save ourselves. I must save myself.
My motions felt heavy, laden with something warm and sticky, as I push my neck toward Belladonna forcing my discovery past my tongue. Even as I did this I became aware of a lessening of warmth and oppression. A bzzzz sound, faint but steadily growing louder filled my head.
Belladonna was in front of me submerged to the ankles in a thick amber liquid. As if this wasn’t enough, she was bent over leaning on the surface with her left hand. She was using her right hand to scoop at the sweet nectar. I was taken under the arms and up into the air at this point, so completely at a loss. One of the bumblebee fairies had come to whisk me home. I screamed out to her, called her name, urged her to stop and save herself. She looked up at me, this was the last I saw of her and I knew then that I would never see her again. The light in her eyes had turned a light coloured honey…
By Shari Marshall – 2016
Written in response to The Daily Post’s one-word prompt – today’s word is luxury. The definition of luxury is “the state of great comfort and extravagant living” included in the synonyms was “(the land) of milk and honey.”