Hello there, my name is Bailey. I am a bumblebee. I have a round yellow and black striped coat, two furry back legs and four small wings. My mum, Beatrice, is a nurse bee, Her job is to care for the baby bees in the colony by giving them all they need to grow up and leave their cells. My dad, Nathaniel, is a Field bee. He’s job is to gather hunny in the field and bring it back to the bee hive. I also have a brother, Mark, who’s the spitting image of dad and wants to grow up to be just like him.
Today is the first day of school, and today I’ll tell my mum that I want to enrol in field training classes in school. My brother, Mark, has already spoken to mum and dad that he wants to enrol in all field classes, and they were happy to give him a big yes. They said they were proud of him and would grow with big, broad wings, just right to be a field bee.
Zzzzzzzz! Zzzzzz! Zzzzzzz! My alarm rang and I hear my mother’s voice coming from downstairs.
“Bailey, you’ll be late for your first day of school. Your brother is already downstairs! “
I jumped out of bed, put on my fluffy yellow slippers before running out of my room.
“I’m coming, mum!”
“I can’t hear you, Bailey!”
“I’m coming, mum.”
She sees me still in my pyjamas.
“What were you still doing in bed? Classes start at 9 am!”
I caught my breath.
“I’m sorry, mum.”
She looks at me with her heavy eyes. I look down at the kitchen floor.
It’s time to tell her. I take a long breath in, hold it and let it out. Mum, I have to tell you something. I practice it in my head a couple of times.
I paused, quickly blinking.
“I need to tell you something.”
“What is it, Bailey?”
“Well, you know today I have to choose my classes for school.”
All of a sudden, her eyes, like two fires, flared up at me.
“Oh, yes, yes. You don’t have to worry about choosing your classes. I’ve already spoken to your dad, and we decided nursing would be a good option for you.”
I couldn’t believe it. I stepped back. How could she?
“What? What do you mean, mum?”
“What’s wrong, sweetie?”
“I never wanted to choose Nurse Training. I…I wanted to do Field Training.”
“Oh, bunny, you know field training is not for you. Girl bees don’t pick field training because they’re not right for them.”
“What about Mark? He’s enrolled in Field Training. Why can’t I be like him?”
“You’re built differently than your brother. He’s got wide, long wings for flying and broad, strong frame, like all do boy bee do.”
“What about me?”
“You have little wings and small claws for caring for the young eggs, like other girl bees.”
“But that’s not fair! I thought I could choose my classes.”
“You can pick your classes. You can choose to study nursing. Sweetheart, you’ll quickly see that nursing is for you, and you’ll love it as I did. Now enough of this silliness.”
She came closer, put her hand on my head.
” Eat your honey toast.”
I let out a deep sigh and tucked into the honey toast on my plate.”
The building was a giant, round yellow globe. Next to the school entrance stood the Principal Pauline, a bee with round, short wings and a plump tummy.
“You’re late, young lady. Quickly, hurry along and find where you’re supposed to be.”
I held out my note which read:
Student: Bailey Flower Dawn
Tutor: Mr Diana
Nobody came late, expect me. Looking down, I ran to an empty seat at the corner of the room, but the teacher already spotted me.
“Excuse me; you are late, young lady. Have you got anything to say for yourself?”
“That’s much better.”
“Next time, please get here on time, so you don’t disturb your peers.”
The room, it was set up in rows of five. On the walls was a map of the Big Cell. It showed little young eggs in small pentagon cells. Nothing about it was interesting. In the corner of a room was a big dusty, hazy window. But when I inspected closer, I saw a row of bees flapping their wings in unison. The instructor had a yellow t-shirt that read: Lead Field Trainer, Michael. He carried a yellow whistle around his neck. Even though I really wanted too, I couldn’t hear anything.
“Can you answer what is Royal Jelly?”
” Can anyone please help Bailey. She was too busy daydreaming than paying attention to us.”
A bee with a bright yellow dress answered, “It’s a substance we give baby bees during their first days.”
Finally, the school bell rang—finally, home time.
I come through the door; it smelt of honey pancakes – my favourite. I went to check the kitchen. There was only one burnt pancake in the middle of a plate. It smelt succulent, and my tummy was rumbling. I caught a tall shadow of my brother in the corner of my eye.
“Hey, Bailey! How was your first day of nursing?” Like he doesn’t know that I would rather get eaten by a hungry dog then attend another nursing class.
“It was not too bad. I guess. My teacher seems nice. I just don’t know if -.”
“You don’t know what?” I hate when he does that.
“I don’t know if nursing is for me.”
“I’d love to learn what you do.”
“What is it exactly that you love about what I do?”
“You get to see the world. Go out there and explore the world – be somebody.”
“I thought you liked nursing. What about all the doll baby bee mum got you for Christmas? You carried that thing everywhere you went?”
“No, I never liked that doll I got for Christmas. I played with it because mum wanted me to. “It was all mum’s idea. I did not like any of it.”
“But you never told me. I thought you changed your mind about nursing.”
My throat was as swollen as a balloon.
“I’m sorry I never told you. I should have.”
“It’s okay.” He went quiet for a second. He narrowed his big head down. I could tell something was bothering him. I could always tell.
“What is it, Mark?”
“What is it. Please tell me?”
“I just don’t know if I want to be a field bee.”
“My eyes widened, and I took a step back.”
“I… I don’t understand,” I replied in a low voice.
“What about the field bee superhero costume you wore everywhere? I swear you even slept in it.”
“I did it all to please dad. He wanted me to be a field bee since I first learnt how to crawl. It was his big idea. He took a deep breath.
“You know, I used to get jealous when mum too you to work. Once I asked her, she just laughed at me. Told me I was silly.”
‘I never knew that.”
“I never told anyone. I thought if I did, everyone would hate me. Don’t tell anyone, but I really don’t want to go back to field training. Dad and Mum would never understand.”
The next day dawned upon the bee world. I don’t want to bore you with the details. Let’s say mum was happy I told her I enjoyed my first day of nursing classes, and my dad was glad that Mark enjoyed Field Training and that today he was going on his first-ever trip to the human world. Of course, none of this was true. The night before, Mark came into my room and said he’s prettified of heights and that he’s going to tell dad that he’s not feeling well. That was the plan. But when it came to breakfast, nobody said anything. He smiled. I smiled. We all smiled and ate our breakfast like everything was dandy.
The school bell played its merry song. Happy go lucky bee faces flooded the hallways, and Miss Pauline welcomed in her students. Day in and day out, I went into class, trying to be a good bee, just like my brother who pretended to like all his classes. Whist my brother was good at making friends, and played football with the other boys at lunch time,I wasn’t any good at making friends, so I sat by myself at lunchtime alone. One week turned into a month, and I still sat alone, not knowing what to do or how to make friends.
Today was no different. I quickly found my usual spot, in the corner of the canteen, where nobody went. I sat down, unzipped my bag and took a honey roll out of my bag, (which I had made for lunch earlier that morning), along with my cartoon book, nobody knew about.
All of a sudden, a tall shadow hovered over me. I jolted up and turned around to see who it was.
It was a boy bee.”
Hey, you. Is this seat taken?” A sweet voice rings in my ear.
I gazed up at him. The boy bee had curly black hair and pointy nose.
“Yes. I am no.”
“May I sit here?”
Taking his sweet-smelling sandwiches out of her orange bag, he peered deeply into my eyes and smiled.
“How come you’re not sitting next to the other bees?”
“I don’t know. I guess I just don’t.”
” Am I disturbing you? I could go.”
“You can stay.”
“My name is Skyler. What’s yours?”
“What are you reading?”
“Is that the Flower Power book you got there?”
“Would you like to the fields?”
“I’m supposed to say I don’t. But I do.”
He scratched his head and looked straight into my eyes.
“Well, what if I could take you to the fields?”
“You’re talking crazy. I’m not allowed to go.”
“I can take you there today if you’d like. There is an after-school trip to the Fields.
After class, meet me outside the school entrance.
He was right there, waiting for me at the entrance of the school.
“Hey, you’re here, good. How was class?”
It went by slowly.
“Alright, let’s go.”
“Where are you taking me?”
He nearly flew across the school playground. I followed him.
The bell rang again. He looked to see if anyone was around, but the car park was empty apart from the bus driver, standing beside the long yellow bus. By now, we were behind a bench.
“Okay, when I tell, follow me.”
My stinger was wiggling, like it does every time I’m nervious.
We ran to the back of the bus.
“Okay, now, I’m going to chat to the driver to distract him, giving you a chance to get into the bus unseen.”
“I’m not sure I can do this?” I wanted to run home.
“Common, Bailey, are you going to follow the rules all your life or make your own rules?”
I wanted to ask him why he wanted to help me. What was in it for him, but I couldn’t. All I could do is say nothing.
“You should give yourself a chance to do what you want to do.” He looked me deeper in the eyes, coming closer.
You’re a strange boy, you know?
He let out a cracked giggle.
“Are you in?”
I nodded my head, smiling.
A plump bee with a long moustache and a cigar stood by the left corner wide-open bus doors.
With a bright, cheeky smile, he approached the bee.
“Hello, you’re not supposed to be here, young man.”
“I was sent here by my form tutor. My class will join us shortly.”
“Is that right? Well, how long will I have to wait for your class? I’ve got places to be.”
“I think they will be here very soon. So, tell me, where are we going today.”
Well, we’re going to Edge Hive. He continued.
As the man continued to talk, I slowly approached the bus until I reached the entrance. I clenched my fists and got on the bus. I walked towards the back before noticing a large box. Inside it was lots of sweaty jumpers and muddy, smelly boots.
Soon the boy bees gathered in rows before they all got it. In a few swift minutes, the bus driver got on and drove past my school.
The bus stopped, and a tall, broad, pointy wings blew his whistle. In an instant, all the boisterous chatter turned to silence. My heart began to pound like a drum in a bee circus. I was always scared of clowns, which made me think of their round, red noses and big red smiles. I crunched down like a turtle, covering my head under layers of field ware.
“Right, boys, we’ve gone through this, but I’m going to repeat this one more time for those of you who want to play clever. The fields are bursting with blossoms of all colours, shapes and sizes that carry lots of sweet nectar. But don’t be fooled. Deadly dogs that chase us down open-mouthed, the wildflower field is no place for the fragile, faint-hearted bees. So, if I catch anyone not listening, we’re all going back to class. Is that understood?”
“Yes, sir!” all the boys replied in unison.
“Alright, everybody, when I say your name, get off the bus and wait for everyone else.”
I began to panic. Something shook the cardboard box.
“Hey, I’m Danzy. I’m a friend of Skyner.”
“Listen…when everybody gets off the bus, sneak out and hide.”
“What about the bus driver? He’ll see –.”
“Don’t worry about him. He usually leaves the door open and goes for a cigar.”
“Where is Skyner?”
“He said he’s going to ditch my class and find you.”
“I don’t know what’s going through his head these days. I have to go.”
Then he left with the rest of the boys. I felt funny tingles in my stomach.
“Now, as we practised, we’re going to fly to our first spot. So, let’s form a line.”
Just as Danny had said, when everybody left the bus, the door wide open. Shivers went down my yellow and black hairs as I rushed out of the bus. I felt all rational thought left. I had no idea what waited for me outside.
The sun nearly blinded my eyes. It was a great, round – like a honey ball, hanging in-between a vast blue strange blanket. In the far distance, I saw the group of boys standing in rows. I skimmed the place with my eyes. Everything was bright, glowing with sunlight light. In the corner of my eye, I spotted a pile of logs. I quickly zoomed to it to hide. It was like a dream, but I did not know if it was a good one or a bad one. Not yet, anyway.
“Ahh!” The nerve of the boy to scare me. Who does he think he is?
“Hello, Bailey. He gave me a pretty smile.”
“Sorry for coming late. I had to do something.”
“Are you ready to see the fields, even though they may not be like you pictured them?” His eyes were soft, much like a child’s.
All the other questions I had escaped my mind.
“What do you mean?”
Follow me. I’ll show you.
We got to the edge of our hive.
“Wait, I can’t fly.”
“You can, every bee can fly, so forget what you’ve been taught.”
“But my wings are tiny.”
“None of that matters. Every bee can fly. All you have to do is flap your wings as fast you can and lift off.”
“What if I fall? You’ll not fall?”
“Do you trust me?”
He got to the edge, flapping his wings and lifted off the ground. Faith, like a flame, rose inside me. I forgot everything around me. I closed my eyes, and flapping my wings, jumped down a cliff.
“Skyner! Skyner! I’m falling!”
“No, you’re not. You’re flying. Look!”
“Yes, you are, now, follow me!”
Poppies, daffodils, roses, lilies – I spotted them all from my brother’s comic books. I spotted the lump flowers of all shapes and sized blue in the breezy wind. Scattered around were great, big trees. The sunshine tickled my nose as we flew further and further along with the fields that I only saw in picture books. I followed Skyner across the endless meadow. I was quiet; he was too.
Soon we came close to large, spider-shaped bushes. They looked out of place.
“I did not bring you here to impress you. You need to see this.”
He did not reply.
Only when we flew over the spooky bushes, I saw it.
“This is what they don’t want us to see.”
What’s happened to all these bees? I covered my eyes with my hands. The smell of something foul hit my nose. A huge, monstruous lump formed inside my throat. Nothing truly mattered before this moment. Everything was mediocre. Every fact I lived by did not matter as much as fact that bees were dying under our nose and nobody knew about it.
“They all died, Bailey. Every last one of them.”
“How? How? Who did this?”
“I’m sorry, but you had to see this. Someone has to see this.”
“What happened to the bees?”
“On every plant, a bee lay still around it was a green-like, hazy substance.”
“What’s on the bees?”
Skyler lowered his head, pointing to a dead bee, meters away.
“That’s a bee-killing pesticide. Humans spray it to keep insects, like us, off plants. Do you realise what would happen if humans carry spraying it everywhere? We would all die, Bailey.”
“No, Skyler, how did we let this happen to us?”
“We have no say in any of this, don’t you understand. We live in a human world. There were millions of bee colonies worldwide, but quickly, are species is shrinking.”
“We must do something. We must tell others and warn them.”
“Nobody would believe us.”
His voice cracked in a way I never heard a boy’s voice crack.
“I want you to meet a human that can help us. His name is George. He can tell you about our plan to save the bees all over the world.”
“What about my parents? My family? I need to go back to them.”
“Bailey? Look at me. If you go back to your family, it will be too late. We must act now.”
“No, this is all too much. I just met you. I don’t know anything about you. How can I trust you?”
“You can go back if you want to but know this if you go back, it might be too late. I need you. I can’t trust anyone else at school. You’re the only one that thinks different. Together we can do this. Together we can save the bees. Will you do help me, Bailey?”
I turned back, flying away from away, scared and confused until something inside me broke. What am I doing? I flew back to him with falling tears.
He cracked open a smile, hugged me tight and told me.
“Bailey, we’ll be okay, you are clever and brave, unlike any one girl I’ve ever met we’ll fight through this. I swear.”