Then I lasted ALL DAY without writing a story about it, but then Keith and I started chatting about it, and it was a foregone conclusion from there, really. He did ask nicely if he and America could be minions and not die, so I made that happen. As for me, well I got to be the evil scientist.
So anyway, I scribbled this to make them both smile.
I do have an underground lair, by the way…
by Lee Hulme
The giant bee stomped across the city, leaving rubble in its wake. Screaming figures ran everywhere, stopping occasionally to point behind them or wave at an unmanned news camera, just in case it was still broadcasting.
The bee was a near-solid yellow, and as large as a city block. Everywhere it placed a foot, something crumbled. When its wings buzzed, their wind blew everything away.
From below, there was nothing to see but the giant shadow.
From above, the yellow colour was broken by, of all things, a three-man saddle and harness. Riding the bee was its creator and her two minions.
Malise was but a child when, fleeing from her abusive mother into the nearby woods, she stumbled across a hive of bees, yellow in colour, their home bored into the trunk of a tree. Instead of hurting her, the bees buzzed calmly around her for a few moments, turning angry only when her mother rampaged into the clearing.
Not seeing the bees, the mother reached out for Malise, grasping a handful of t-shirt and pulling her closer, toes dragging along the ground
When the first bee stung her, she dropped the young girl with a screech and slapped at her arm. The bees stung again and again, and the woman felt her skin begin to swell, her throat close up.
The young Malise had stared in horror as her mother dropped to the floor, gasping for breath and clawing at her neck. Frozen in fear she watched as her mother died. Around her, the bees buzzed soothingly.
The years that followed, Malise spent mostly in solitude, shunning other people in order to study bees. Studying science, genetics; becoming a known expert; moving into gene splicing; using the grant money people kept throwing her way to build herself a laboratory that covered the entire underground area of the property she had inherited on her mother’s death, left in trust until she was old enough to leave social care.
When the world above became too much, too full of violence and anger, she retreated permanently into the laboratory, allowing in only two assistants: Keith and America, both of whom she had used her knowledge on to offer wings, in exchange for their silence and loyalty. Both of whom had agreed eagerly, in order to venture into this new frontier.
One by one, Malise had created new versions of bees grew larger, more violent. Not all remained under her control, and she had the ugly scars to prove it, but eventually she built a destructive creature that would obey her command. Then she made it bigger. And bigger. And bigger. So big it barely fit through the specially constructed exit built out of the very ground.
But out it flew, with Malise and her minions on the back. The improvements in the bee had not stopped at brainpower: armoured skin now stopped all the attacks the public, and then the army, could throw at it. Step by step, the bee simply flattened the city, and moved onto the next.
In their respective places of power, world leaders were hastily conferencing, some advocating the use of nuclear weapons, others begging for the lives of those who would be harmed in the blast. Evacuation was too slow, the bee was too fast, and those safely tucked away in bunkers shook with fear as, one by one, the tv and radio stations stopped functioning and the outside world went deathly quiet.
On the surface, the dust from the rubble covered the world. In the midst of a ruined city sat a giant yellow bee, idly kicking at broken pieces of rock as it ambled aimlessly in circles.
In the centre of the idle circles were three figures. Two, their gossamer wings now covered in dust, knelt by a third.
Malise’s hands were hooked, her face twisted, her final moments spent clawing at her own throat, trying to breathe through the dust she had inhaled, the dust that had triggered the asthma so long dormant underground.