He wasn’t meant to be there.
And he knew it.
The fence was made of brick put together so smoothly that it was impossible to climb. It rose several metres into the air and encircled the entire property. While there were several signs posted around the perimeter warning against trespassing, he hadn’t found a single entrance actually leading inside.
Not a door, gate or window.
No breaches of any kind.
As his curiosity grew out of control, he finally decided to scale a grand old tree whose branches leaned wearily along the top of the fence. The drop on the other side wasn’t as far as he had expected. Leaping down into the garden bed below, he cushioned his fall by aiming for a lush patch of daisies.
He looked around at this strange new world.
He wasn’t in any way romantic or sentimental by nature, but the sight still managed to take his breath away. On this side of the fence was a beautiful garden teeming with life.
Tiny birds sang merrily in the treetops while flowers shivered with the movement of bees. Butterflies circled one another in an intricate dance. The air was sweet and heavy, dripping with golden sunlight and coating everything in a light that resembled a dreamscape more than real life.
He brushed the soil from his pants and stepped off the poor crushed daises. All around were flowers of every colour and form imaginable. Flowers which had no business blooming together. Irises and daffodils kept the dahlias company, while the peonies bloomed alongside citrus trees heavy with fruit.
He stepped onto the pebbled trail and walked its spiralling path towards the centre of the garden. As he walked along in a daze, he suddenly noticed that the air was filled with pollen. It dusted his hair and clothes. He felt it fill his nose and lungs. When he reached the clearing at the heart of the grounds, he froze, partially hidden behind a bank of lavender.
She was gathering honey in a small metal bucket.
She wore neither veil nor gloves, nor anything at all, yet the bees didn’t seem to bother her, or even mind when she plucked out segments of honeycomb directly from their hive.
He stood up straighter to catch a better glimpse of the beautiful creature. Her eyes were the same shade of amber as the rich dark honey she was gathering. Even her smooth, flawless skin shone with a warm caramel hue.
He craved her so suddenly, so unexpectedly, that he took several steps forward into the clearing before he could stop himself.
She paused at the hive, brushing away a strand of her long black hair. It was such a startling mass of darkness that it reminded him of an oil-spill, gleaming and impossibly black.
Her golden eyes flashed onto his.
A smile emerged from her lips, growing wider and wider until her teeth showed like a Cheshire cat’s. The yellow light of the afternoon seemed to falter and fade. The air changed hues. Swarms of clouds began to form behind her. Dark, angry clouds. They spread across the garden, filling the air until no sunlight could penetrate, and surrounded him in a wall more impenetrable than the one made from brick.
The clouds buzzed furiously as they closed in.
He realized with shock that they were bees, larger than any he had ever seen. Some were the size of grapes. Others were the size of predatory birds. While still others were as large as hunting hounds, and far more menacing.
He looked to her in a panic.
She opened her mouth, but no sound came out, at least none that he had ever heard come from a human mouth. It was a thick wall of noise, vibrating so intensely that he felt it deep in his stomach. The sound grew, drilling into his skull, buzzing, swallowing all other noise. It spread forth relentlessly before condensing into syllables, familiar enough to his terrified ears.
The last thing he heard in those strange furious tones were three simple words:
“Get him, boys!”