Friday Fictioneers : Ariadne leaves the maze

PHOTO PROMPT © Roger Bultot


 

Ariadne wove along the tangled path, through nodding rosebay willowherb and scabious, nettles snatching at her skirts.

Her mind wandered ahead to the hive, the warm, sweet buzz of the comb then back to him, his warmth. He was often sweet but always tinged sour with beer or sweat, hard words, hard hands.

The sound reached her first, a thousand singular insect voices weaving to form a low hum. The brown cloud enveloped her as she drew close, furry bodies bouncing against her hands, her cheeks, welcoming her.

‘He’s dead,’ she whispered.

She turned and followed the path back home.

 


Written for Rochelle Wisoff-Field’s Friday Fictioneers. Join in, read and share here.

At first glance there may seem no connection between my story and the prompt photograph, but the shapes in the net reminded me of a honeycomb, which led my mind to bees and the tradition of telling them when someone in the family dies. To read more about this tradition take a look here.

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81 thoughts on “Friday Fictioneers : Ariadne leaves the maze

  1. Such a heart wrenching concept, whispering of a death to the bees, and sensitively introduced here, Lynn. It brought an equally moving short story by Joan Aiken to mind, from a collection called (I think) ‘The Faithless Lollybird’, which brought in the same motif. You’re in good company then! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Good company indeed! Love that idea, telling the bees all the important news. Not sure what they do if they’re not kept informed, but maybe there’s a story there too … Thanks Chris

      Liked by 1 person

  2. When I first read it I thought of the bees as flies on decomposing body… I would find that even harder to deal with in my face than bees… when i read it the second time I could see them more as giving comfort in her mourning… great word choice.

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    1. Thanks Bjorn! Yes, more comfort I think than anything else. They are her companions in their way and she does them the courtesy of keeping them informed. Thanks so much for reading.

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  3. This is a really interesting story. I wonder who “he” was to her: father; brother, spouse? In her thoughts I can’t quite pick up on whether she’s relieved or sad that he’s gone.

    Like you, I enjoy bees; we had a hive in the wall of a house we lived several years. People told us, “Poison them!” but the bees were peaceable neighbours, going about their business among my flowers. I might get a little nervous about so many surrounding me, though.

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    1. Ooh, all good questions, Christine. I think he was her spouse and you’re right to pick up on her mixed feelings. Perhaps she loved him despite what / who he could be at times. Now she will leave him behind I think, missing and not missing him at once.
      I’m so glad you kept your bees and didn’t have them poisoned. I know what you mean about them being intimidating though – walking near a lot of bees in unnerving to say the least. Thanks so much for reading

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I walked around them and worked in the flowerbeds around them all the time on a “live and let live” basis. Several times they swarmed; once they landed on a small plum tree in the garden and Bob walked by, his head about a metre away from the swarm and didn’t realize it — busy looking up in the higher trees for the swarm.
        Once out of the garden he looked back and saw this “football” caught on a branch of the small tree and realized how near he’d walked. Thankfully they are pretty much “minding their own business” creatures unless you start waving your arms around and menacing them.

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      2. They’re extraordinary to see swarm, aren’t they? Last summer I was walking in our city centre when a man in a high vis jacket in the middle of the road ahead of me waved me away. Behind him, filling the road was a dense cloud of bees – I could hear them from where I was standing, even though I was some distance away. Wonderful sight, though I’m glad I didn’t get too close! 🙂

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  4. You’ve written a beautiful story. The title suggests that Ariadne was trapped in a maze and can now leave. Given that you tell us that at times ‘he’ used hard hands and hard words, we might imagine that she was in an abusive relationship and would welcome the chance to leave. And yet he was warm, he was sweet, she thinks of him fondly in those terms. There is a dream-like quality to your writing. The emotions you depict are grown-up, ambiguous, real; and yet you’ve written a dream. I’m just gobsmacked. This seems to me to be very high-level writing indeed. Kudos, Lynn.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Ah, Penny, what a lovely comment to leave. Yes, I’m so glad you picked up on that ambiguity – I wanted that to come across. Not all relationships are easy or straghtforward and she has mixed feelings towards him to say the least. The fact she had feelings enough to tell the bees he’s gone says something. And you’re right about the title too – she found herself in a maze with him, unsure of where to turn for the best. now her way forward is clearer. Thank you so much for your thoughtfulness, your insight and you kindness x

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  5. …You know, I followed that link you added and when I was reading about the tradition of talking to bees a chat window opened up and a call centre agent asked if I’d like to talk to them!

    Liked by 2 people

  6. I really like the word ‘scabious’ it sounds almost Dickensian somehow but I’m confused, if you’re riffing off the Ariadne story, then the ‘he’ that’s dead is her monstrous brother, the Minotaur? Otherwise, yay, she’s free!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Well, it could be the Minotaur that;s died, or it could simply be a parallel story, a hint at the need for freedom from the maze all ‘Ariadnes’ need. Thanks for reading, pet 🙂

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    1. Thanks so much. I’m so glad you liked it! Yes, not entirely sure how the tradition came about but I know some beekeepers still adhere to it. Not sure what the bees would do if you didn’t tell them the news … Thanks for reading

      Liked by 1 person

  7. I wrote a lengthy comment yesterday, but there was a WordPress glitch and it didn’t take. Now, I can’t remember what witty remark I wrote. 🙂 Anyway, I loved the story, Lynn. Very creative and imaginative.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Agree v much with Clare, also thought that the bees might have helped her. Really liked this and the way the plants at the beginning pave the way for the bees.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Loved the feel of the countryside in another continent, thanks for the beautiful descriptions , Lynn. I love the tradition and a belief in the fact that bees are spiritual beings too. The last kind made me feel that she is more relieved to return home now, than ever before. Beautiful and descriptions of a conflicted spousal relationship. I find your writings awe- inspiring. So much to learn on these 100 words, for a one with the inclination and the required talents.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ah, thank you so much for the lovely comment Moon. I do love bees! I encourage them into my garden as much as possible – if a plant does not attract bees or butterflies, it most likely won’t make it into the border! Thank you so much for taking the time to read and leave such a beautiful comment

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