Pollen

(2 minute read)
by D.C. Houston

(Canada)

They knew better than to cut down the last standing rainforest on earth. They were warned that the consequences would be cataclysmic. But greed knows only one currency. The world sat silent and still, as the creatures emerged from their slumber.

In ancient mythology, honeybees were born from the tears of Ra, the Sun God. Believed to be the messengers between the world of the living and the world of the dead. These monstrosities however, were a bridge to death itself.

In the following months, people died en masse, their thoughts and prayers posted to every social media platform, before they too went dark.

I have not seen another human in 43 days. I live in a bunker outside my hometown of Kincardine. Each day, I wait until the sun sheds its golden glow. It is then that I hunt my food, in the cover of darkness. Meat is scarce, but fish is plentiful and my muscles thank the goodness of my new pescatarian diet.  

I’m careful to avoid all sources of pollen, its delicate perfume an intoxicating death sentence. It’s late August, not that time has any real meaning. But the daytime air is thick as honey and nighttime offers  me sweet, cool relief. 

The crickets sing their high-pitched song, nature relishing its hard-earned victory over man. I surface slowly, listening for sound above the celebratory insects. The silence is deafening. I crawl the first few meters. When it’s safe, I walk slowly to the river at the edge of the forest. The salmon population is booming. I secure my net quickly, I never linger. I wish my father were here. He’d say I wasn’t patient enough, that the best fish were found in the long game. 

The gentle rhythm of the water puts me at ease and I daringly sit at the edge of the bank. The soil is soft and sandy beneath my palms. I hear a wild thumping in the distance, it catches my breath. My instincts urge me to flee, but I cannot. That sound is running feet; human feet. My heart races as I weigh all possible scenarios. I conclude the nearest and best chance of survival would be old Fred’s barn across the bridge.

The shape of a young man materializes over the crest of the hill, his breath is loud. His face twisted, he is running for his life. I want to point out the million things he could be doing differently. His carelessness endangers us both. But I’m too late. I watch helplessly as the flying nightmare overtakes him. Its razor-sharp teeth more beast than bee. I’ve never actually seen one in person before, though I’ve heard them described as both beautiful and sinister. In this moment, I think that’s a very apt description. 

I cry softly, hiding behind the long branch of a weeping willow. The irony is not lost on me. I hear the rapid hum of its wings as it departs. 

I am alone once more.

Copyright © 2022 – D.C. Houston. All rights reserved.

About the Author 

D.C. Houston

D.C. Houston is a fledgling writer and poet from Kincardine, Ontario, Canada. There, she owns a Children’s Eco-Friendly Boutique with her sister. She is fortunate to be surrounded by creative souls, who push her to find her voice. Her published works can be found on her Instagram page. 

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