On the third day of Abril, Bativa emerged from the hole where she’d wintered, hunger ultimately pushing her past any concerns for late freezes. She navigated through layers of fallen leaves, the damp, rich insulation that protected her while she slept.
Once free, she vibrated and hummed, warming herself for flight; she needed food. Bativa found crocus and daffodil blooms along the banks of a nearby stream, and she quickly sated her appetite enough to begin her quest for a new home. She meandered, in no hurry, stopping frequently to lap the nectar of brilliant blooms.
As the sun set, she spied a log, nested among the tall grasses near the stream. She circled, coming closer, eager to discover a hollow in the shadows. She landed on the rough bark, then crawled in through a narrow opening, delighted to find a chamber within, perfectly suited to her needs. Satisfied, she ventured back out for another meal before returning to settle in for the night.
Over the next few days, Bativa busied herself, preparing her nursery. She created wax cells to hold eggs and wax pots for the pollen that would nourish her young. She ate frequently, growing fat and gaining energy to build and stock her home.
It wasn’t long before everything was ready. She began the arduous fulfillment of her destiny, laying eggs, one per cell, losing count. Finally, exhausted, she fell into a dreamless sleep. Later, she gathered nectar and pollen from clusters of flowers that rewarded her efforts, providing the protein and carbohydrates vital for the growth of her babies.
Days turned into weeks, with more rain, more flowers, and an exciting time of change in the nursery. Through a series of moultings the cells were near to bursting. Each of Bativa’s larvae spun their own silk cocoon, filling her with pride and anticipation.
Indeed, on the first day of Jvune, Bativa watched as her children chewed their way out of their cases, no longer pupae but young adults, ready to emerge from the chamber as Workers. She buzzed and vibrated, encouraging them, eager to rest and let them take over the business of food-gathering. The males went off to live on their own; the females remained, subject to the will of the Queen.
Jhuly passed much the same as Jvune, with the Workers flying in and out of the chamber, bringing nectar to Queen Bativa and filling the pollen pots for the nourishment of the eggs. The Queen’s increasing weariness, brought on by her continuous laying and nurturing of eggs, was not discussed.
By Auvust, the Workers, aware of the waning strength of Bativa, began taking liberties they’d not dared to take before; the female Workers lay eggs of their own, hidden among the massive array of the Queen’s eggs.
In Octobver, Queen Bativa was near the end of her life. Quilted fields of zinnias, red, pink, yellow, and fuchsia, drowned the lacy white of baby’s breath and asters, providing a ready source of pollen; a hedge of camellias offered a steady supply of nectar. The Workers droned on while Bativa hovered over the last of the eggs, giving extra care to one, in particular.
By the end of the season, Zebah, next year’s Queen, was born. Without fanfare she freed herself from her cocoon and greedily found the pollen pot, rich with protein and sugar. While she dined, she assessed her extended family. She eyed the male Workers, sizing them up.
Before the first freeze stole what life remained in the Workers, Queen Bativa was dead, and the new Queen, Zebah, ripe with fertilized eggs, slept snugly in an abandoned mouse-hole on the far side of the meadow.
And the days of Bativa were 210, chronicled by Bryce, son of Busz. As for the other events of Bativa’s life, they are written in the records of the prophet Zeeb. Bativa rested for eternity, having lived a good life. She was succeeded by her daughter Zebah, who mated with Zahbta, Sabtev, Bibsam, Zalmuna, and Izbak.
For the IndieInk Writing Challenge this week, SAM challenged me with “Write in any style using “The Bumblebee Chronicles” as your title.” and I challenged Billy Flynn with “You thought you were going to get away with it, but the guilt is killing you. “