This week’s #blogbattle word prompt is horde. This is run by Racheal Ritchey over on her blog Writing Rachael Ritchey. I encourage you to check out her blog, and this challenge.
As I said I would do in a comment to a reader, I have added an option to the menu above to a page that lists all the Winter #blogbattle story.
Here’s my entry for this week:
The Buzzing Horde
Winter bit the inside of her cheek as Layla disappeared from view. The gate closed behind her, and she was gone. To meet Emily.
Winter wished she was going with her, but the human world was too big for one lone little fairy like her. There were numerous ways she could get hurt, or lost. Or she could stray into another fairy’s territory.
Many, many bad things.
So she stayed home, to worry.
She fluttered her wings and lifted off the windowsill. She needed something to distract her. Worry wouldn’t change anything.
She spotted Cilla in the birdhouse, and went to join her. Layla had left some seed out.
“Just in case,” she’d said.
Cilla stopped pecking at it and regarded Winter. “You’re looking down.”
Winter ignored the ice that crackled from her feet. Then felt guilty. She wasn’t supposed to be ignoring it. She was supposed to be working out how she was doing it. Being aware of her thoughts while she was doing it. “I’m worrying about Layla. She’s gone to meet Emily.”
“Oh.” She sounded surprised.
“Well, I thought she was in.”
Cilla cocked her head to one side. “The kitchen window’s open.”
Winter turned. Cilla was right. The window was open, if only a crack. Layla usually closed them all when she was going out.
Winter didn’t really understand why, but it seemed important in the human world. “She must have forgotten.”
Cilla nodded. “Distracted.”
“Do you think we should try and close it?”
“I don’t think we could.”
Winter flew over to it, Cilla following.
Of course she was right. The window looked far too heavy for them to move.
Winter’s shoulders slumped.
“I’m sure it’ll be fine,” Cilla said. “I-”
A sharp buzzing sound cut her words off.
“That sounded like-”
“Bees!” they chorused.
Winter looked into the kitchen. A horde of yellow and black hovered over an open jam pot.
“They’re having a feast,” Cilla said, clearly bemused.
A scene from early spring flashed through Winter’s mind.
Layla getting rid of a colony of ants that had set up home in the house. “Insects don’t belong inside,” she’d told Winter.
“We have to get them out,” Winter said, squaring her shoulders.
Layla would probably be upset enough when she came home. She didn’t need confronting with bees as well.
“How exactly?” Cilla asked. “You know what bees are like. Bad-tempered little things. I certainly don’t want stinging.”
“I don’t know how,” Winter said, as she started to sidle through the window. “But I have to do something.”
The buzzing was louder inside. Winter’s pulse raced and her knees went wobbly. Bees. Their stings could seriously harm a fairy. But she had to do this. She glanced back over her shoulder at Cilla. She was watching, head cocked to the right. A moment passed, then she said, “I’ll go and find Nutkin, he’ll know what to do.”
Nutkin, of course! He always had clever solutions to problems.
Winter looked again at the bees. She had seen larger swarms, but they were still fast, and still sting-y.
The only opening to the house was the window. So that’s where the bees would have to exit.The question was how.
Drive them to the window somehow?
A sharp scuffle on the window drew Winter’s attention behind her. Nutkin. He poked his nose through the crack in the window, but it was too small for any more of him to get through. “Cilla tells me you have a bee problem,” he said.
“I need to get them out of the house,” she told him. “Any ideas?”
His quick eyes darted back and forth, taking in the layout and what he had to work with. “They have to come out the window,” he muttered. More darting, and then his eyes lit up with an idea. “That towel over there,” he pointed into the kitchen.
Winter turned to look. It was hanging on the oven door handle. “You and Cilla could use it to herd them over to the window.”
Excitement built. Winter could see it working. She looked at Cilla, who was looking cross. “And when did I volunteer to go near bees?” she chirped.
“Please?” Winter clasped her hands together and did her best pleading, hopefully sweet, look.
“I’ll show you where there are some early berries,” Nutkin offered.
Cilla looked at him sidelong, then her wings dipped. “Okay. I’ll do it, but they had better be extra sweet berries.”
“Oh they are,” Nutkin assured her.
Cilla shuffled over to the end of the sill and pushed herself through the crack. Stood next to Winter, she regarded the towel. “I hope they don’t notice us on the way over there.”
Winter bit the inside of her cheek. “Do you think they will?”
“Not if you’re careful,” Nutkin said. “Now get going, before they do see you.”
Winter met Cilla’s eyes, and they both leaped off the windowsill at the same time. Into battle with the buzzing horde.