Karma is a Bitch

Part 1

William, Aston and Edward were chirping away happily, nestled deep in the safety of their nest. The morning was cool, misty, and the first gleams of the sun could be made out in the far off horizon. The small family of crows was roosting in a tall, wide, and leafy green tree on the branches near the center for protection and camouflage. One never knew what might come about in the sky. A predator with a keen eye could spot them if they were further out in the branches, and so their home was in the cold shaded center of the tree. Underneath them was grass all around with trees planted every couple meters. Their roosting tree was in the middle of a nature park, with a dirt path running straight through the heart of the heavily forested area. There were also benches situated underneath the trees and in the grassy areas so that people could rest and enjoy the green, unrelenting beauty of nature during the wonderful spring that year.

“Kids, me and your mum will be back soon, you hear. Be quiet you little rascals, and make sure not to peep so loud. We’ll be back with seed, and maybe your favorite, worms!” father said to the hatchlings.
“Bye kids. I’ll be back soon.” mother said affectionately.
“Bye dad, bye mum!” The small month old chicks chirped happily.
And off went mum and dad to forage in the forest and the city buildings for the days meal.

The sun was arcing overhead in the path it had taken since time immemorial. The chicks were quiet and bathed in the little rays that got through to the center of their roosting tree. They all knew how austere and serious dad became if he heard chirping and loud noises when he came back from foraging. They had all learned that lesson the hard way. 2 weeks ago they had been squawking and chirping loudly between themselves at the funny looking dog under the tree.
“Looks like a fat caterpillar with legs!” William had said,
“hahaha, come here, come here, fat caterpillar, hahahaha” William chirped down below at the wiener dog.
“Its just a dog William. Leave it alone” reprimanded Edward.
“I’m just having fun, don’t spoil it hard ass.” William said in turn. Aston watched silently, he was the quiet one of the bunch.
The dog heard the chicks talking about her weird shaped body up above and she barked and scratched at the tree bark trying to get at the baby birds.
“HAHHAAHA, the caterpillar is too fat to climb. HAHAHA!”
William cried out in joy and amusement to the point that small tears had started to form in his eyes from so much laughing.

At that moment their father had swooped in next to the boys. They felt his presence and his stare directed at them, and they all looked down ashamed. They had been caught red handed by father in their loud chirping and cackling. He had told them before he left “Be quiet now boys. Promise me”, and they had given their solemn promise.

“Boys!” Father said in a hushed voice,
“What did I say! I saw a sparrow hawk not half a mile away, with eyes sharp, scanning the park, as I was coming back. Be glad he didn’t come and pay you a visit!” he said in truth, and also to scare the boys to listen to him next time.
He then gave each boy three hard pecks on the head, so that they would remember this day.
“Do you have to be so hard on them? They were just chirping and having fun. Look at them they’re crying now. There there boys, come here” mother crow said.
“NO. Don’t soothe them. You know damn well they broke the rules, and I won’t take any chances now with the sparrow hawk nearby. Let them cry, let them learn.”
“Boys” Father said.
“I did this because I care for you, do you understand. I hope you learned this lesson. I want you all to know that I won’t ever peck you again unless you deserve it, do you understand.”
“Ye, yu, yes father.” the boys managed to stammer out from behind their tears and cries.
“Good.”

Part 2

Two weeks after, on this sunny day,  the boys were stark quiet, not a peep, not a sound, for they had learned their lesson. They curiously viewed the scenery around with a pensive look, weary of the boogy hawk that father had mentioned.

Claire the sparrow hawk looked down below into the depth of a green leafy tree in the center of the park.
“Good they’re finally gone” she thought to herself.
She swooped down below and made her way into the heart of the tree and next to the nest. She looked into the depth of the nest and staring back were 6 big, and wide open eyes, but she heard not a peep or sound, as she had a couple weeks back.
“They do learn quick, these crows. Anyhow, much better now. Fluffier, bigger, and more meat on the bones.” Claire said out loud.
Unfortunately for Claire, she had only 2 sets of talons, she fluttered over into the nest and eyed the nestlings carefully for a second. She clutched 2 of the baby chicks in the tight and unrelenting grip of her talons and flew off.

William was quiet through the whole ordeal, he had shit himself, and peed a little when the hawk had landed next to the nest. The hawk took his two brothers and flew off, and at the sudden shock and adrenaline William had jumped down from the nest. William also sensed instinctively that the nest was no longer safe. He crashed and hit branches and leaves as he tumbled down from the heights of his home. He landed on his side down onto the cushion of the grass below. William shook his head, regaining his senses and stumbled back up. Instantly his feathers and ears pricked up with a new rush of adrenaline. He heard the low, guttural sound of a forming growl from behind him. William turned back and fell back onto the grass. His eyes widened with shock, surprise and irony. The fat caterpillar slowly made its way to William.

Mother had joined father in flight during their way back to the nest.
“They must be hungry by now” father said.
“Yes. They probably are.” mother said in reply.
The parents arrived at the nest, nestled deep between the branches and green leaves of a tall and wide tree.
“I got your favorite boys!” Mother exclaimed happily to the chicks welcoming her back.

The Last Daisy

A Fairy Tale

Part 1

Our story starts with a bee hive of negligible proportions and small beginnings. The bees from the hive worked tirelessly throughout the whole year. Small worker bees would wake up just as the sun was peeking over the horizon and set out in all direction for miles on out. They scoured the lands testing and sampling the air for a whiff of the scent of blooming flowers. Once they caught the scent they would whizz their way over to the flower, take pollen and nectar, and off to the next flower they’d go. After a hard days work of scouring and collecting pollen and nectar they would make their way to the hive to deposit all of their collected goods. The pollen and nectar collected was the lifeblood of the hive. The nectar and pollen would go through a process and transform into honey and other food stuff. It provided a rich and delicious food supply for the bees, some of which was used to feed the small and defenseless hatchlings. In time the new hatchlings would also take up arms and fly to the sky to collect alms for the great hive themselves. The hive itself was nestled carefully and tightly inside the trunk of a fallen pine tree. It kept the hive protected on all sides and provided shelter from the rain and the elements.

One day as nature would have it, a wrathful bear happened to be tromping through the forest when he hit upon the scent of sweet honey. The bear searched high and low, going wherever his nose led him, until at last he came upon the log that housed the bee hive. He took a deep whiff and smelt the honey until at last he could no longer resist its draw. And so the great and prideful bear exclaimed to the bees.
“Small bees I’ve come to take your honey! Today I’ll take half of your comb, but make haste to rebuild. For in half a year I’ll be back to take from your hive again! hahaha”

Having forewarned the bees, the bear dived snout first into an opening in the log. He pried the dry and gnarled bark apart until the hive was naked and in full view before him. His eyes glistened and he lustfully tore at the hive and took exactly half as he had promised. The bees watched in horror as the events unfolded before their eyes, but in an instant they came out of their stupor and buzzed and writhed with hate and anger. The bees were tiny and small, but they were large in heart and courage. They stung and jabbed at the bear all over, though they quickly realized that the bears thick hide was too hard to get through. They quickly moved to the bears face which was bare and open for attack. So as the bear ravaged their home little by little, they stung and bit, until at last the bear left. The hive was littered with the small bodies of their fallen brethren. The bees buzzed above the remains of their home and they all felt shock and awe, but slowly these feelings gave way to a bitter anger at their inability to stop the bear.

The bear trotted away with a swollen, bruised and inflamed face. He tripped over stumps and bumps on the ground, and had a time trying to get back to his den. His eyes were almost completely shut due to the swelling, and his face and mouth were covered in the bee stingers which he tried to brush off with his paw, but their poison had already coursed through his body. The stingers were like scorching daggers digging and spreading their fire under his skin. The bear roared and stomped the ground in pain and anger, until he came upon a small pond. He saw his reflection in the water and saw his tongue and mouth ballooned to twice their size, he dipped his face in water but it didn’t relieve his pain in the least. So he tromped, paced and bared with the pain for a whole night. The bear hated it; the stinging, the pain, the swelling, but in all this he remembered that he had taken half of the bees honey, he remembered how delicious the honey had been, and that he had made a promise to take half later that year. The bear took respite in this thought and relished the idea of taking and ravaging from the bees again. “What joy!” the bear thought amidst the haziness of the pain and stingers. Then happiness suddenly overtook him and he gave a hearty laugh as he headed back into his den.

In this 6 month period the bees took no rest and continued as they did before the day of the attack. The small worker bees would go out each day in search of pollen from any tree, blossom, or flower. For 6 months they continued in this manner, growing and expanding their hive to the size greater than it ever was. The hive had even given rise to a new Queen! The queen bee soon took flight to make a new hive in the surrounding mountain range. The bees faintly remembered the promise given to them by the bear. They hoped it was a fluke, or perhaps that the bear would forget. In either case what could they do in the meantime but to concentrate at the task at hand each day? And so the bees waited in an anxiety that bordered the line of agony at the expectation of what would come. A day soon became a week, and each week a month, until soon 6 months had passed in time.

Around this time the great big bear remembered his promise to the little bees. He licked his chops at the idea of fresh honey and comb, and his mouth as if sensing the near future could do nothing but drool in rivers down his mouth. It was good he had given the bees his solemn promise to be back in 6 months he thought. The bear stood and lumbered back to the hive, guided by his memory and sharp nose, until he was in sight of the old log againe. He looked in awe and saw that the bees had been most diligent! The hive was no less than 3 times the size that he had left it!
“HAHAHA. Little bees I promised to be back in 6 months and here I am to keep good on that promise. I see that all of you have been dedicated to rebuilding the hive to its former size and more. Thank you, I’ll be enjoying myself, and know that after today it will be halved again. HAHAHAHA!” The bear plunged snout first into the log and took exactly half of the comb, but the bees were not sitting idle, by the time the bear was finished his face had swollen up like a balloon. The bear scampered off with the small piece he had left and roared back.
“Remember! Half a year. HAHAHA”

The bear scampered off away from the hive and towards his den. For the next couple hours he was in excruciating pain. It was a sharp needle like pain that gave his mind no other thought but on the pain itself. He paced back and forth in front of his home cursing the pain and his bees. His eyes were almost completely shut from the fiery stings and the swelling, but he had gotten the comb and still had some left. He clumsily scooped it in his mouth and chewed awkwardly. “Ahhh…. Delicious!” as the sweetness of the nectar over-flooded his taste buds. His anger, pain, pride, and want was tamed for as long he continued to enjoy the sweetness of the honey.

Part 2

Now as it was, a fox had been keeping his eye on the situation between the bees and the bear as it unfolded. Let it be known that the fox loved honey very much, but his hide was not as thick and resilient as the bears. But one thing he was. He was a keen and sly fox. So a day after the bear had left the bees, the fox approached the ravaged hive. A little less than half the little beasts were left alive and all were in high alert. They immediately surrounded the intruder.

“What do you want fox!”, they all cried out ready to sting at the slightest provocation.
“Hold, hold! I’ve been watching from the hill above, and I’ve seen how that evil bear takes half of your comb every half year. I’m here because I can get the bear to go away!”
The words of the fox struck the bees, and the small embers of hope had lit up in the hearts of each of these little creatures. What if? What if the fox really could get the bear to go away? What if their home needn’t be destroyed every couple months? These questions and more flashed by in the bees minds. After a short pause they cried out.
“Speak then.”

The fox responded
“I know a lot about the bear and about his weaknesses. You see there’s a pollen from a special flower that blooms high in the mountain, that on the first scent will positively put the bear in a trance. Its a very rare flower but I know the areas where they grow and bloom, it’s said the druid of the forest and his pixies tend to and give it its magical properties. The next time he comes around I’ll somehow waft the flower near his nose, I’ll ward him off and your honey will be safe from the bear.”

The fox paused for a moment to further the impact of his next words.
“All I ask in return is 40% of your comb whenever the bear comes over. But know that its for the danger I take upon myself and for the time and effort it takes me to find this special flower.”
Another pause.
“What do you say bees?”

The bees buzzed and discussed the offer. They were all one entity, and all had the very best intentions for their hive but there was a disconnect in how to protect it and move forward. There were many groups and trains of thoughts that emerged and the bees started to huddle with those that were like minded.

Some of the bees were weary, tired, and resigned to the fact that the bear would take part of their livelihood every so often. These bees had a heavy heart and looking for any means to alleviate their feelings and their fate. So when the hope that the fox could ward off the bear was lighted inside of them, they dared not let that fire go out. They fanned the small ember and made it grow stronger and brighter by any means. The bees in this group started to become hopeful and some were even positively sure that the fox would stop the bear. Many in this group looked up to the fox as a good creature filled with only the best of intentions towards the bees.

“Why would the fox help us if not for his good intentions? We’ve all heard how cunning and keen the fox is, but all animals can have a change of heart, can they not? He’s willing to go through the trouble of finding this special flower, and for only 40% of our honey. The fox even brings up the druid of the forest, and no one in their right mind would use his name in vain or for personal gain! If we accept the offer and the fox keeps his end of the promise we won’t be harassed by the bear any more! We won’t have to suffer having our honey taken away from us. This is all good for us however you look at it. ” They thought to themselves.

Other bees from the same group were much more practical.
“40 percent is less than half, is it not?”
is what these bees thought.

There was also another group of bees that were against the idea of the fox helping them. These bees were also tired and weary, but for different reasons.

“Perhaps the fox could help us, but why would he put his life on the line for a bunch of bees? Also, we’ve all heard of how keen and cunning the fox is. Who’s to say this is not just another of his clever tricks? If we attack the bear in mass it could also be enough… Last time the bear could barely make his way out of the valley. If we aim for the face and eyes before he even gets close to our home we could get him to quit his game. We would make it so the pain we give him would not be worth the honey gets! We would lose more than half of our people though… But everything we make and build would be ours.” They thought to themselves.

There was also the more spirited and aggressive set of bees from this second group.
“Through jaw and stinger we’ll take from the bear what he took from us! He’s ravaged and taken from our home for the last year. How can we continue to live like this!? In constant fear and expectation of the paws of destruction. Knowing that another holds the keys to our livelihood and life… We’ll stop the bear whatever it takes!

There was a disconnect between the two groups of bees and what they thought best for the hive, so a vote was put out.
“Say aye, to give the fox his 40% in protection from the bear!”
The majority of the bees buzzed with furious approval and it was unnecessary to even hear the other side out. It was then decided that the fox would get his 40% as long as he kept his end of the bargain.

“We’ll take your offer fox!” the bee representatives cried out.
“Great” the fox said quietly,
“Then I’ll be back in 6 months time to stop the bear as I’ve promised.”
With that the fox turned to make his leave. As he walked away his lips twisted and formed a malicious and cunning smile.

Time passed and flew by, and a couple weeks before the destined date the fox went out in search of the bear. He found the bear lying in a heavy sleep near the entrance of a shallow den. The fox approached the entrance carefully, keeping a watchful eye on the movements of the bear.
“BEAR!”
The fox shouted into the den. His shrill voice rang and echoed throughout the cave until at last the bear heaved his eyes open to see the fox standing not 5 paces away in front of his home. The bear did not care to move and merely spoke from his position.
“And you? Who are you to wake me from my sleep?”
“Bear…” The fox started, quietly and calmly
“I’ve come because I know in 2 weeks time you’ll go to the bees. I’ve seen how much it pains and stings you to get the comb.  Your eyes and snout close shut from the poison of the bees, and I’ve seen you pace in delirium and pain for hours on end, waiting for the fire to subside. Dare I say that the honey you get is not worth the effort that you put out.”
The bear shuddered at these words and the thought, for the fox was not lying and what he said was true. But in one thing he was wrong. The bear enjoyed and loved to take the delicious honey, there was a joy and pride in his taking it, and he didn’t forget how amazing the honey had been afterwards. The whole ordeal was absolutely worth it, and he would continue it until the day he died. The fox continued.
“I’ve come to offer you a way to get to the comb with not 1 sting, no bites, no swollen face or fiery pain to speak of. If you do as I say I promise you 2 tenths of the comb. What do you say?”
The bear was caught by surprise as he continued to listen. He looked the fox over suspiciously. He knew all about the conniving foxes and their tricky ways.
“Fox, do you know that I enjoy taking the comb. Did this ever occur to you? I go the bees and see them shudder with fear and knowing. I go there knowing that every little soul in that hive will try to subdue me, but I’ll always triumph! HAHAHAHA, and they know! They know that they’ll live, that I’ll always leave half for them and not a cell of honey less! There’s much joy in it wouldn’t you say?” The bear said with a wide and happy grin.
“Of course the honey is delicious as well.” the bear said, almost as an afterthought, as he started to reminisce about his time at the hive.

“I understand Bear, but why would you want to suffer the fiery barrage of thousands of bees for taking half a comb of honey when I can offer you 2 tenths with not 1 sting. All you would need to do is walk to the hive! At the very least you have nothing to lose by taking the offer.” The fox retorted.
“HAHAHAHA The stings are not too bad Fox!” The bear laughed with amusement, and continued on.
“But you say I having nothing to lose. I say I do! I take 5 portions and you only offer me 2! I’m losing out on 3 tenths of comb and honey!”
The fox smiled, everything was going smoothly.
“How about this Bear. I’ll give you half of my cut. You take 3 portions and I’ll take 1. You’re getting three times as much as I do, hardly a fair deal for me. You also know I couldn’t bear the barrage of the bees, and so I have to resort to this. I just want a bit of honey!”
This intrigued the bear.  One thing he would miss would be the taking and the ravaging, but for all his fury and wrath, he was equally lazy and slothful, “The fox did mention I’d only have to walk there.” The bear also thought of  himself getting 3 portions of honey and comb while the fox would only get 1. This thought amused him and he felt a subtle joy the more he played and tossed with the idea in his mind. What the fox said about the bees was also true, the fox’s pelt and fur was much to thin to withstand the brunt of the bee stingers. “Theres nothing to lose in seeing where this goes” the bear thought.
The bear lifted himself to face the fox.
“This all sounds interesting fox. What would you have me do?…”

Part 3

It was a cool and misty day when the fox awoke. A chill had ran through the forest that made him shiver and he noticed that it had left a thin layer of dew on the forest floor. The fox extended his front paws out, stuck his rump out to the open sky, and let out a big yawn. As his senses came to him bit by bit, the thought of the bear and the bees came out to him from the fog of sleep. The fox scrambled up as it was almost mid day, the time the bees, the bear and he were supposed to meet. At once he started at a trot towards the hive. On the way, a small bunch of white dew covered daisies caught his eye. He plucked the bunch from out of the ground with his jaws and continued onward. The fox arrived at the hive before the appointed time and made his way towards the hive.
“Hello bees. These are the special flowers I was speaking of.”
As the fox said this he nestled the daisy bunch inside the log, right next to the hive.
“Don’t touch it, and let the bear make his way here to the hive, make sure to not antagonize or sting him!”

The bees were no fools for they knew most of the flowers and their scent, and what they made the flowers out to be was unmistakably a daisy bunch!
“FOX! What trickery is this, these are daisies! These are just daisies! What will these do, what nonsense is this!” The bees yelled out in unison. They all buzzed in confusion, fear, and anger for they knew they were being made fools of.
“Have faith you fools! Here he comes.”
They quickly made quiet under the state of utter confusion that they were in. The only thing they were capable of now was to let time unfold the events before them.

The figure of a great beast appeared in the hill beyond. The shape slowly made its way toward the hive until the figure of the bear could be made out.
“I’ve come to take half your honey bees! And you fox, what are you doing here? Don’t antagonize me and make way!”
“There will be no taking of honey today!” The fox yelped out in seriousness.
“Says who? You the fox! HAHAHA”
The bear guffawed out loud, for in all reality what could the fox do to stop his advance. Yet this was all part of a carefully planned facade and the bear remembered the foxes instructions well.
“I’ll antagonize you bear and you laugh it off, as what could I, a fox, really do to stop a bear. Remember though, the flowers. They’ll be placed next to the hive, and as you make your way to take a bite, make sure to inhale and to take a deep whiff. Then the crux of our plan! At that moment act dumbfounded. Then listen to me and my instruction and do as I say. Simple no? After this I promise you your honey!”

The fox couldn’t help but let out a smirk at the pure excitement and irony of everything taking place. No taking of honey would take place today, but there would be giving of honey!

Step by the step the bear made his way toward the hive, paying the fox no mind. The fox made way for the bear as he got closer to him and towards the hive. Meanwhile the bees watched dumbfounded at the events now unfolding. As the bear went to take his first bite, he noticed the daisies and took a deep whiff of their sweet scent, they were fresh and smelled beautifully. The bear then stepped back as if in a daze and fell back on his haunches. He stared forward pensively, with mouth ajar and without a mark of emotion as if put under a state of trance. Then the fox started.

“Now get up bear and leave this place, go filch some other hive!”
At once the bear got up, slowly turned, and made his way back towards the hill beyond. Once the bear had cleared the hill, fox approached the bees.

“There, as I promised bees. I’ve kept the bear away, now my cut of the comb.” he said.

Some of the bees were mesmerized at the performance, and others at the audacity of it all. They huddled together and all agreed that however they looked at it, he had kept the bear away, and so they consented on giving the fox his cut.

“Fox, your performance was great. We will give you 4 tenths of the comb today but in the future we will give only 2 tenths for your service. You’ve cheated us, and you know it well yourself!” The bees cried out in indignation. The fox paid no heed to the bees, he quickly came to the hive and gently took the section that was cordoned off. He walked a bit away then sat and looked pensively back at the bees. He had foreseen the bees making a fuss and in seconds many thoughts and ideas rushed the space in his mind, until at last one caught his fancy and taste. Many months ago while he was carefully eyeing the bees and the bear, he had made note that a queen bee had left this hive to make her home in the mountain range near by. The fox now had the seed of a plan, now he need only to plant it, tend to it, and watch it grow. So the fox turned up to the bees and exclaimed.
“Bees, don’t you see the value of what I’ve done for you! I protected you from the ravages of the bear who would have taken half and perhaps even more of your home! And now you try to pull the wool over my eyes! How can you be so ungracious!”
The fox had stammered over his words, and the more he talked the more he believed his own anger and reproach over the treatment of the bees.
“I came here to help you against this bear, and I only asked for 4 tenths of your comb in return as is only right for a service done! You say I’ve tricked you and cheated you, but I’ve kept my promise and my word! The bear came with the intention to take your honey by force and he left with not a paw on your hive, what else do you ask for! Tell me, what else could I have done.”
As he finished he turned tails in anger and stormed off with his prize in jaw.

The fox loped over the hill beyond and continued on until he met up with bear. He handed over 3 tenths of the comb that was promised while he gnawed on and enjoyed his tenth.
“HAHAHAHA!” The big bear bellowed out with a mouth full of comb and honey.
“You took the comb as you said, and you even came here when you could have taken it all. All this and without 1 sting. HAHAHA! What an honest thief you are!”
“I’m no thief!” The fox snapped back sharply.
“You’re even sly with yourself! HAHAHAHkakaka” The bear cried out to the point of choking with a mouth full of comb.
“Be quiet Bear, you talk too much gibberish. Anyways, I’ve need of you. You’ve seen the other hive that appeared nearby not so long ago, no?”
“Yes Fox, I’ve seen it. What about them?”
“Well, I’ve got a plan and I promise you 4 tenths combs of the hive from now on. You need only do 1 thing for me just this once. It might hurt for a bit, but I’ll make it worth your while.”
This grabbed the bears attention, and the bear quickly thought.
“The fox has come through and he’s kept his word on all he’s said till now…”
The bear replied.
“What would you have me do?…”

The next day the bear came over to the old hive in the log and shouted out to the bees.
“Yesterday the fox made a fool of me, he tricked me with those strange flowers, it dulled my wits and I left without taking any comb! After coming to my senses I made my way to your sister hive and devoured it all, there’s nothing left, and today I’ll make you a new promise! In 6 months time I’ll be back to do as I did to your sister hive, and gone you’ll be!”
“It was all a trick Bear, we know.” The bees shouted back. “There’s no way we’ll be tricked by you again.”
“I’ve made my promise bees, go see for yourselves. Just know that I’ll be back.” The bear turned and marched off away in real fury, with a face full of stingers and bites.

The bees were taken by surprise at the sudden appearance of the bear and his speech. A bee scout was sent and found that their sister hive had been eaten and done away with completely. Only scraps and pieces of comb were left in the after math of the carnage. Shortly after, the bee scout came back to inform the hive of the disaster. After the sudden news, the bees were bewildered and a fear of total annihilation 6 months from then had stung their hearts, sharply and acutely. There was one hope, and even most of those that were against the foxes help at first were swayed. The bees buzzed over the decision and decided by an overwhelming majority this time. Another bee scout was immediately sent to find Fox.

“Fox” they exclaimed.
“We apologize for yesterday and we know now that we were in the wrong. We will continue to give you 4 tenths of our comb if you protect us from Bear.”
“Bees” The fox said trying to hold back a smile of joy.
“You’ll have to offer more than that. I’ll take no less than half of your comb for reparation this time.”
The bees had already talked this situation over and were prepared to give much more to prevent their total destruction. After a short back and forth with Fox about the terms of their agreement they accepted protection for half of their comb every 6 months.

And so our story is almost at its close. Generations and generations of bees came and went. With time the fox and the bees of the hive became good acquaintances, not quite friends, but neither were they enemies nor on bad terms. The ritual with what soon became the good and helpful fox was re-enacted twice a year for many years. The fox would come to lay a small bushel of daisies in front of the hive as a token of good will and protection against the evils of the world, the bear would then come and show himself, and afterwards the bees would gift the fox half of their comb. It became a routine that embedded itself deeply into the lives of these creatures, one that they could not be taken away. The bees, the fox, and the bear all lived comfortably in the peace of routine for many years there after.

The bear died of old age many years later, yet the ritual continued unimpeded between the bees and the fox, as if it was the most natural thing in the world. The only thing that changed was the fox now accepted only 1 tenth of their comb. At first he had tried to take nothing from the bees, but they had asked him to take his tenth, if only he continued coming every 6 months with his flower and protection. Many of the wrongs and deeds of the past were forgiven and forgotten by the ongoing generation of bees, especially after the bear had left from this world to the next. The bees still had an ethereal and genetic memory of the bear. He had one day come to take and destroy the bees, sweeping away everything to naught like a raging fire through a forest. And now. Now the bear was gone.

One might imagine the bees of the hive as unhappy and reproachful for the difficult situations that mother nature had put it under, but this was not so, the bees managed to live and survive through the hardest of times. The small creatures were strong and resilient, yet small and meek. They cruised through the fresh open skies in continuous pursuit of the delicate scent of blooming flowers and blossoms, even while knowing that their efforts would be taken away every couple months. Now it was different. Yet, like clockwork the bees continued to collect pollen and nectar, day after day, and the hive as if a living and breathing creature grew in size with the care and nurture of the bees.

Part 4

Many years passed and the fox had become old and ill. He knew his time was fast approaching. It was still 3 months away until he would visit his friends the bees again for their 6 month reunion. He was sure by then he’d be nestled back into the dark embrace of the green hills beyond, back with his conspirator the bear. The waning of his years had taken much of his keenness, sneakiness, and gusto and now he looked back at his long life and wondered how everything with the bees had unfolded. The fox thought of the powerlessness and the innocence of the small and meek bees. The things that were done to the bees are undeniable, but now he was on his last leg and the bees were not. The hive would continue to live and prosper long after he was gone.

It was a beautiful morning. Birds were chirping and swimming happily through the cool breeze running through the forest. Only an inkling of light had spilled into the horizon beyond, and the forest floor was still covered in a thin layer of dew left over by the chilly night before. The fox quickly stretched his legs and started at a trot towards the hive. On the way a small bushel of dew covered daisies caught his eye. He plucked a single daisy from the bunch with his jaws and made his way to the hive.

“Hello bees.” Fox said with a smile.
“Hi Fox! How are you, are you doing well?” The bees replied. They noticed that Fox was limping a little. His eyes were sallow, dark and sunken into their sockets.
“Hahaha. I’m feeling better than ever bees. I came because I wanted to give you something special.” The fox gently set the fresh, beautiful and dew covered daisy inside the log.
“This is a very rare and magical flower, there’s not another like it in the world. Not even the druid up in his high mountain could conjure this up.” the fox said softly.
The bees buzzed around the flower, and they could only make it out to be a daisy, though very fresh and beautiful. But in their small hearts they knew that fox was telling the truth. They looked at the ailing fox over once again and their hearts tightened with premonition.
“I’m going now bees… Goodbye.”
“Wait! Come here and take a little honey.” They yelled out in unison.
“No, no, no.” The fox said as he turned away. Then the fox yelped and jumped in pain. A couple bees had stung him in the romp. They fell limply to the ground.
“Come here fox. Take this small piece at least…. Please.”
The fox could only stare back dumbfounded and in awe at the little bees fluttering in the air.
“Come.” the bees said with finality.
He came to the hive and took the piece cordoned off. He turned and ran off into the green hills beyond. Not once did the fox dare to look back. The sun was rising in the sky overhead, and like a wave over the sea, it flooded the forest in its morning warmth. The fox kept running, and still he ran until he collapsed in an open clearing, exhausted and out of breath. He eyed the piece of comb given to him. A tear streamed down his eye as he nuzzled and ate a piece of the comb and honey. It was the most delicious thing that the fox had tasted in his life.

The Short Journey to Heaven

WHOOSH… PPPFFFFF!! So much noise it was deafening, and so much light rushing through the sliver of a window that it was blinding. My heart starts pumping faster, its racing now. I want to move but it feels as if my body was commanded to stay in place, pressured down by an invisible hand. My eyes are wide open, but I want to close them and run away. But to where! Its cramped, and I can barely move around the mess of wires and equipment around me.

Ohhh I’m afraid! I’m so so afraid. Its as if a blanket of fear and darkness suddenly envelops you, and no matter what you do your heart and senses have already embraced its warmth. But I’m most afraid because I don’t know. I don’t know where I am, I don’t where I’m going, I don’t know what’s going to happen, and worst yet there’s not a thing I can do about it but to let it happen.

The rattling, and the anxiety inducing shaking subsides. Ohhh and what a monster of a thing to replace all the scary noise. Now it’s silent, its completely and utterly silent. Now I see how much I took for granted my little home, the sound of wind, the birds, the cars, of people, and of his voice, especially his voice. The only thing I could hear now is the loud thump of my scared heart, my faltering breath, and the agonizing high pitched ding that rang every couple seconds.

Beep… Beep… Beep… Beep… Beep… Beep…

It was a countdown of sorts, I’m sure of it. It was torture! It was agony to know that this was the only sound left for me. The grim reaper himself was counting down the very seconds left of my life. Then I thought something funny. Death, what a guy, what a chap, that he would give me such personal treatment! But I bet he does so with everyone. He’s made friends with everybody and everything, every dog, cow, human, cat, and mouse. What a likable fellow Death is!

At this moment I looked out from the only looking glass I had of the outside world, that sliver of a window that I mentioned before. It wasn’t bright anymore so it was clear outside, but what I saw was no world that I ever knew.

Three beautiful spheres were in my view,
And every single one of a different kind of hue.
Oh, the first was the strongest of them all,
So bright, yellow, proud and with the gall
To steal and command the attention of my eyes.

But its brother blue, was so instinctually familiar.
It felt so close and oh so dear.
It was pulling at my heartstrings and making song,
That it was clear,
My very dear home was there indeed.

And the runt of litter was there too.
A little gray, but well to do.
Not so bright as its eldest brother,
But bigger it was,
and dearer it was to brother blue.

These three brothers danced round and round,
Each holding each, in a tight embrace,
This it seemed the case.
They were inseparable these three,
Until the end of time.

That big blue giant! My memories of home consumed me and my situation. But alerted I realized the heat building up in my little coffin. It was warm, then warmer, and now hot. I missed water right now, ahh I wanted just a sip, just a taste, enough to wet my tongue. How grateful for everything I would be then, if they would have only left some water. I knew with despondency that in short time it would be my last. Now what comfort was there but in the past? I remembered the good beautiful times and the memories I had. Then I thought of him and only him.

I remember the steak and little potatoes that he cooked for me! He only did this once, but it was my very favorite. One time he took me to his home. He let me go outside and I would play and jump in the snow. He always kept watch over me. Then all of a sudden he would surprise me and give chase. I’d run and run, I was so alive and it was so fun. I loved him. Sometimes I would let him catch me on purpose so he wouldn’t feel bad that he couldn’t run as fast as I.

Then all the memories of the bad things I’d done rushed over me. I was mad and angry once and attacked him in a fit of passion, it was nothing serious. I hope he realized that it was just in the moment, I didn’t really mean it. Another time my tummy hurt so much and I threw up on the floor, I couldn’t hold it in, they had given me strange food. He saw me, and I lowered my eyes, I was sorry, I really was. I think that’s why I’m here.

I start to wonder why they left the window closed, back home he took me in his car and he drove with the windows open. I’d stick my head out and WHOOSH, the rush of the wind would land on my face…

Its hotter now. The very air is boiling and its hard to breathe… Before I got in this car he said “You’re going to heaven now Laika, don’t worry, I’ll join you very soon” I want to warn him somehow, because heaven isn’t fun, I don’t want him to go here.

The only thing I want now is him. Just to hear his voice one last time. “Laika! Come here you mutt!” he would yell. Ohh, I would run over so fast and lay in his lap, he’d stroke my head and scratch behind my ears and tell me “good boy”. I wonder what I did wrong, because thats why I’m here.

I wish he would tell me “good boy” one last time.

My eyes close shut, I’m tired…

Laika The Space Dog
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Laika

Dedicated to Little Laika the Space Dog, and little Bambuya.

Man

Chapter 1

The man woke up with a start. He grabbed the warm sheets and tossed them away from his body, swiveled his legs away from the bed and slowly sat down. He placed his forearms on his thighs. The beads of sweat glimmered from the back of his hands as the dim morning rays pierced into his room.

He looked about. It was a soft white color all around. He faced a flat screen tv sitting on top of a wooden and chestnut colored tv stand. It was around 4 ft across, with 2 small doors in the center. One was partially swiveled open and within you could see a neat stack of books. Peering to his left he saw his closet doors closed shut. With a sigh and a little rub of the eyes he stood and walked over to the bathroom. Here he would start his day, as he did every other day.

The man peered into the mirror. Reflected back he saw his charcoal black hair, and soft dim blue eyes, the kind you see in the early winter morning sky. Low set cheekbones, a sharp jawline, and bags under his eyes, made his eyes appear cold, and sharp.

The man brushed his teeth in circles for 2 minutes, rinsed his brush and entered the shower. He turned on the shower head and used the water to rinse out his mouth. The shower was quick, he dried himself and walked over to his closet.

The man dressed rather plainly, a pair of jeans, a blue long sleeve, and some red vans is all he needed. During this time the sun had come up quite a bit, he opened up the blinds and the sun burst in unimpeded. The man walked over to his satchel, picked it up, and and went out closing the room behind him. Down the stairs he went, 3 floors.

After reaching foot outside he continued on his way. It was the month of May, the sun was bright and the temperature perfect, not to cold not to warm. With the sun behind, his apartment building cast a shadow in front, reaching the building on the opposing side.

The first stop of the day would be his favorite coffee shop, Elis Cafe it was called. He walked to the edge of the block and in the far distance he could see the lumbering giants occupying downtown. He would soon be there for work, but for now, coffee awaited. The man walked 2 blocks soaking in the sun. There was people everywhere. Numbingly he heard the honking of vehicles all about, and construction here and there. Finally the man had reached his destination.

He entered Elis Cafe, and being as it was still quite early, the place was empty. Elizabeth caught his gaze, and he caught hers.

‘Good morning Liz, how are you today’,
Perhaps this was the best part of his day.


‘I’m doing good today, another great day, what can I say. Will you be having the usual’ She said with a smile,
‘Ya, the usual.’
‘Coming right up.’

It was a long and fairly narrow space, the coffee counter was closest to the door, and the pungent aroma of freshly ground coffee pierced the air. The man took a deep breath. He sat close to the entrance and faced the window.

He took quick glances at Elizabeth as she made his cappuccino. She was short with red hair, tied back in a ponytail. She was thin, with a fair complexion and round face, freckles all around. Her cheeks were full, and were died in a lively pink color, she had small lips, and a fair nose. She had deep green colored emeralds for eyes, twinkling and full of life. To him, she was beautiful. He thought of her as wild, untamable, fiery and so full of life.

The man heard the milk steamer stop, signaling that his drink was ready. For some reason he remembered the sweat on his hands that morning. Elizabeth glanced over and with a friendly looking face,

‘Your cappuccino is ready’,

The man walked over, grabbed the cup

‘Thank you’,
‘Have a great day now, I’ll see you next week’

That was the end of his conversation. He never stood long at the coffee shop, he preferred to drink on the go. He had more than enough time to sit down and enjoy his coffee, and sometimes he wondered why he didn’t.

The man marched on, towards where the lumbering giants stood tall. They looked overbearing in the cool and foggy morning. Standing there as if they were the overseers of the city, continuously keeping watch over all its inhabitants. He continued on toward the subway.

Chapter 2

The man was never the first one to work, but he was never the last either. He arrived at his desk and readied himself mentally for another day. He couldn’t say why, but it was Friday and he was happy. He sat down in his chair. It was a rather expensive one that was supposed to help with posture. The company had decided to buy these chairs a couple months back along with stand up desks. When he had sat down for too long he could stretch his legs out a little then sit back down. It was great, he thought to himself.

The man went to the company kitchen for breakfast. If there was a perk he liked it was the free food. Eggs, strawberries, sausage, apples, biscuits, blackberries… The man always had eggs, a couple pieces of bacon, and some apple slices.

He sat down and slowly ate, it was good for his digestion to thoroughly chew his food, he thought. The man remembered the dream that had startled him awake that morning. He had dreamt that he was a wild dog, a wolf. It was hyper realistic, he had been a wolf himself within the dream. He remembered the beginning.

‘’’
The winds were stabbing at his body like tiny icicles, it was relentless but his coat protected him from everything but the sharpest of gusts. The many winters he had lived through had hardened him, he felt comfortable as the cold and sharp winds whipped as his body. He trotted about, and could feel the cold in his paws, the snow had packed during night time and it was almost a foot high. Pines, and brush surrounded him, they created shadows of different sizes, colors and shapes on the ground. He came in full view of the sun as he came to a stop near the edge of the clearing. He closed his eyes and felt the energy of the rays permeate his coat, down to his inner being. He let this kind and gentle wave of warmth overtake him.

He stood looking toward the center of the clearing, three of his pack members were feeding on a young deer, killed just the day before. The dead animal was on its side, ribs sticking outward, with only a few pieces of flesh left. The three wolves fought between what little meat was left on the ribs.

They were all hungry and desperate, but for that very reason they felt much more alive, alert and ready. Soon a boon would come. The great elk migrations were only a couple moons away or so his instincts told him. “They would only need to wait until t…”

The moment of peace came to a crashing halt. The air seemed to split in two as a deafening crack reverberated throughout the misty air.
‘’’

The man worked in one of the new style offices, they called them open space offices. He wasn’t sure about their purpose but the company was very excited about them. They were a big part of the culture as they’re supposed to foster interaction between team members.

His team was working on a new project. It was an extremely important one. The new system they were building would completely revamp the payment system for customers. The new system would make the payment process faster, quicker, and more transparent, both easier for the company and for the customer.

The thing he was most excited for was the new reward system that was being incorporated into payments. It was a system that perhaps hundreds of other companies had already built, but not his company. The company had recently noticed the reward system trend and decided it was best to build one out. One of the benefits was customer retention. The customers would keep coming back for more, because the more they bought the more they could earn in rewards. The man was very excited to be part of something new.

He worked throughout the morning until lunch time. He usually got food with Ryan, his team mate. The man almost never had the opportunity to talk to Ryan casually during work, but it was finally lunch time. They walked together to the company cafeteria, got food and sat down.

Ryan was a bright and cheerful guy, he was also extremely adept at his job. Ryan had a masters degree from Stanford, and everyone on the team had given him a subtle sense of respect, both for his qualifications, but also because of his easy going and cheerful personality. He was well liked by everyone.

Whenever the man had ideas or questions about work he would always talk to Ryan about them. He felt that Ryan could always give him a good opinion.

Ryan started to talk about the weekend. He was going to a club on Saturday, one of his favorite dj’s was playing. On Sunday he would be going to an Italian culture festival. It would be 10 blocks of food, drink, rides and fun. Ryan asked the man if he wanted to go.

The man thought for a moment. On Sundays he usually spent part of his day at Central Park. He liked to walk and get away from the city once in while. He would pretend that he was in the woods in some far off place. It never lasted long but he always felt renewed somehow. The man would not give this up for anything or anyone.

‘Not this time Ryan.’

‘Its ok, maybe next time.’

The man thought he saw sadness and exhaustion in Ryan’s complexion if only for a second before his cheerful attitude took over again. They talked some more before heading back to work.

Chapter 3

It was near the end of the day. Friday was great. The man could leave just a bit earlier and he never felt bad about it. His whole team would do the same.

The man packed his things. He didn’t have much, his work laptop, a notebook, and some pens. He said goodbye to everyone and bid them all a good weekend. He walked to the elevator. He would need to go down 24 floors to get to the bottom.

The elevator stopped on floor 16, 3 people came in.
The elevator stopped on floor 7, 5 people came in.

They reached the bottom floor, and they all moved out one by one. The man thought they seemed similar to ants. They were all part of the same colony, and they both moved in single file. He also felt his coworkers and himself were part of something bigger, together they contributed to the success and the health of the company. The man was glad he had a place where he belonged.

The man had been the first one in and was near the back, he was the last to get out.

As the man walked he thought about the rest of his day, he had made no plans for tonight. He usually read, played video games, and once in a while he would go to the pub to have a drink or two. “First things first”, the man thought, “I need to get home before I do anything”. He took the same route that he had taken on his way to work. He passed Elis cafe and took a glance inside. It was empty now but he remembered his time there that morning.

The man arrived home. He took off a shoe and threw it into the corner, he did the same with his other shoe. The man then placed his satchel near the bed, and threw himself onto the mattress.

The man felt himself sink, like a sinking ship being submerged into the ocean, becoming one with the surrounding water. The mans worries, joys, fears, and responsibilities all melted away as the man lost himself to sleep. It lasted only half an hour. The man sat up on his bed, and grabbed the book on his night stand. Again he lost himself for 2 hours.

It was Friday night now. The man was comfortable, he was relaxing in his apartment. After much back and forth about plans for that tonight, he decided to go to the pub. It was nearby, and it was his favorite pub. The man put the book on the stand, he got up and put his shoes on. He had slept with what he had put on for work, “its still clean, why change”, he thought as he went out the door.

Chapter 4

The man took a sip of his beer. It was quiet, and not many people were there. It was a small bar. There were two pool tables behind him and the orange sheen of the incandescent light bulbs flooded the area. The place seemed a little dirty and grungy, but the man liked it, “its nice if its like this” the man thought to himself. It was ran by an old lady, Mary was her name.

The mans thoughts started to wander, he thought about his week at work, then he remembered his conversation with Ryan that morning. He remembered the glint of sadness and exhaustion that had completely overtaken Ryan. He had seen it before and it always troubled him. It didn’t make sense, Ryan was great in so many aspects, and he had it all it seemed. Ryan had graduated from one of the best colleges in the United States, he was loved by everyone, he was extremely knowledgeable in his trade, and he held a high position within his organization, yet why did he have bouts of melancholy and struggle within himself? What did Ryan have, was he sick, maybe he was just tired, was he bored with his position? The man kept wondering about these questions for a while longer until a man seated himself next to him.

He was tall and handsome. The man had dark hair, short and slicked back. He was a man blessed with good looks, his features were sharp and refined. He wore a white long sleeve button up with slacks and dress shoes, it seemed that he had removed his tie for comfort before hand, yet he was still tucked in. The man thought to himself that this newcomer, seemingly from the upper echelons of society, was out of place in the bar, but was he in a position to make such a claim? The man himself worked for a high tier company. He himself didn’t need to dress so sharply, but he certainly earned enough to be considered upper society. Was he though, did money itself make him upper society? Did money itself make him a better human being? Absolutely not, the notion itself was ridiculous, or was it? The ideal world and the real world were not one and the same.

The man let these thoughts go. He didn’t mind the newcomer, he was going to relax and enjoy his beer. Unexpectedly the newcomer started to talk to him, but deep in the back of his mind the man expected it, almost anticipating the moment that this snazzy man would start talking to him.

“How’s it going buddy.”

“Its going good, pal.”

The man didn’t like the newcomers tone, so he had responded in kind. This sort of situation had never occurred to him, everyone usually kept to their own here.

“Nice shoes you got there, flashy color”,

“Ya, reds my favorite color”,

“No shit, reds my favorite color as well! My names Dmitri by the way. Yours?“

“I’m Adrian, good to meet you”, the man responded.

This was a battle, Adrian thought immediately. Dmitri’s tone of voice, words, poise and body language all led to the same conclusion. A battle to see who could win the other over. Adrian sensed no malevolence, or bad intentions, but he neither sensed benevolence or good intentions. This was a game for Dmitri, and Adrian instinctively knew this.

Adrian was curious about the man. He felt drawn to him, more so they were both drawn to each other. Both knew the game they were playing, and both were willing to play.

Mary interjected.
“Hey honey, are you having the usual.” She asked Dmitri.
“Ya, thank you Mary.”

Adrians phone started to vibrate. He took a quick glance. His boss had sent him a text telling him to take over weekend job duties that Sunday.

“Ahh”, Adrian thought to himself. Memories of his dream that morning started to flood him.

‘’’
It wasn’t thunder, it was gunfire. He recoiled for a second, then quickly scanned the area. Lying next to the deer carcass was one the younger members of the pack. His chest was heaving and struggling to expand out, the pure white snow below him was already being stained bright red.

Through the brush and the pine trees he had spotted moving bodies in the distance. They were about 150m out, with 2 upright creatures, as well as 5 domesticated wolves alongside with them. These domestic wolves were helping the upright creatures hunt their own kind. “Were they traitors?” He thought. “No. They were born and given a place. I was also born and given a place on this earth.” It wasn’t his place to judge who was in the right and who in the wrong, his only responsibility and care in the world were to protect and ensure the survival of his pack. To protect his young who would make up the next generation and to protect those who would teach them. That was his place and responsibility.

He had analyzed his surroundings and had thought these thoughts within a fraction of a second. His mind was running at a pace unknown to him previously before. His muscles started to twitch and spasm as the adrenaline flooded into his system. His movements no longer needed thought, his muscles contracted and expanded naturally, by instinct and experience. He felt an immense increase of pressure in his chest. At this moment life was no longer a passive exercise, it required of him his absolute and undivided attention, his body and actions, his immediate decisions, it demanded of him his whole being.

The air beside him cracked and bent as a gunshot went past him. He took another glance at the party that was pursuing them, their goal was to kill. The hunting dogs were let loose. This would be his final act.

There are 11 pack members, now 10. 3 cubs, 2 older members, 1 youngster, and 4 able hunters including himself. His pack needed to move now to avoid gunfire.

“Could they outrun the hunting dogs while carrying the cubs? No.”

They couldn’t sit still and defend the area either, they would be picked off by the hunters one by one.

“What if they all ran in the same direction and fought only when the hunting dogs came close? No, 3 of us need to carry cubs which would slow us down, that leaves 4 to fight against their 5, but what if their 5th decided to attack the ones carrying the cubs, this would allow the 2 legged hunters to close in on all of us.”

“3 of us will stay and delay the hunting dogs. This would allow the rest of the pack to move toward safety. All 5 of the hunting dogs would attack us as well, they wouldn’t chase the others. 5 against 3 are odds to tempting to let go.”

He looked at the members of his pack. He didn’t need to give out orders. With a look they knew his intentions and his command. The older members and the youngster each grabbed a cub by the scruff, they started to run off in the distance along with his best hunter.

He ran over to the fallen member. His chest slowly heaving, with misty and glossed over eyes. He was at the boundary of this realm and the next. He tapped the fallen members nose with his nose, a solemn and quick goodbye was all he could give. As if waiting for that moment the fallen member closed his eyes, and the heaving stopped. Peace. The deer from yesterday and his friend today, they were different creatures altogether when alive, but here next to each other and in death they were all too similar. No, he thought, they are the same.

As bullet after bullet passed by, he and his 2 hunters moved intentionally and slowly toward a nearby mound, baiting the dogs to that location. The 2 legged hunters would have no clear shot, no line of site. “This will give them 3. No, 2 minutes at most to fight and kill off as many of the dogs as they could”. He snarled and growled, his muscles twisted and wound up ready to explode, anticipating the next second. The dogs were now 20m away.
‘’’

Adrian awoke with a start.