Let it Bee

Week one of The Craft of Setting and Description focuses on slowing down time and looking at the small moments which can be very large and important in writing.

The exercise is to do just that by opening a window on about ten seconds of time.

Let me know what you think.

He brushed his hand against the lavender flowers trying to release their savory sweet scent and it took several seconds for him to realize something was wrong.

The honeybee seemed to be almost glued to his finger and he registered the oddness of this before the signals of pain reached and were processed in his brain.

He had enough time to actually see the bee struggle to fly away as the barbed stinger tore from its small body and remained firmly inserted in his skin.

He started to scream – more out of shock than the actual pain – but his throat was already itching and tightening. His breath started to rattle in his throat and he struggled just to stand upright.

He was alone. His phone was over thirty feet away in his car. But what he really needed was immediate medical intervention.

The novelty of being stung by a bee had passed in a flash and he struggled to get enough air through his swollen lips and to his lungs.

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Photograph courtesy of Shilpa Suchak Photography, all rights reserved.

Exhaling was just as difficult, leaving him feeling as if his eyes were going to burst from their sockets under the pressure. He closed his eyes tightly, only seeing the soft glow of the sun through them as he fell backwards on the pavement next to the garden.

Did the neighbor see him? A passing motorist? Did he hear a bicycle bell nearby? Or was that the jingle and shamble of the local ice cream truck?

He heard something – a voice – but could not make out the words over the thunderous rumbling of blood in his ears. Then a sharp pressure against his thigh and a waive of cold and heat.

He registered that the sidewalk was hot enough that the prolonged contact with the bare skin on his forearms was burning them.

And then the voice ripped into clarity and a woman was telling him that he would be all right and that help was on the way.

Softer behind her voice and only a few feet away, he could hear the buzz of dozens of honeybees going about their rounds in the lavender and other flowers of the yard.

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