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The Man with the Beehive

Updated: Aug 5, 2018

By Kemal Onor

Tarkan walked down the middle of the road holding a beehive. Placing one foot after the other, he went slowly, doing his best not to wake the bees. Most people who drove past looked at the man in his tightrope act. People on the sidewalk stared at him, not daring to come too close for fear of bees. He had made it down Lester Road and to the bank on Barrow Drive when the first of the bees began to wake. The jostled rocking had lulled most of them to sleep, but now several began popping their heads out to see where they were going. The entire idea of being carried anywhere was new to bees. And they were interested to see what force was carrying them, if it was not the wind. Tarkan continued, not slowing his gait. Even when the bees began to swarm his hands, landing on his skin and his eyes, he continued calmly. He tripped while crossing Danover Bridge and nearly dropped the beehive entirely. The hive erupted and the bees swarmed Tarkan’s eyes, nose, and mouth. He was choking on bees now. The familiar smells of pollen and wildflowers filled his mouth. The bees created a high-frequency buzzing about his head. The thought of death filled his mind. He was reminded of high mountains where he had once gone with a woman to have a picnic. As the bees filled his throat, seeking the empty stomach, he remembered the entire climb. She had insisted that they reach the top before sunset. They had made it to the mountain’s peak, and there they had shared a sunset together. His body was humming now, like it had when the two had kissed on the mountaintop. He tried to remember some word she had said. Something to focus on as his brain began to close off at the edges. What he was able to grasp from his burning mind was this: “Lovely is.” He couldn’t remember the rest of the words. A phrase incomplete without hope of being finished. The bees had darkened his brain, and the edges of his mind were gray, like burned paper in the wind.

About the author: Kemal Onor has an MFA in Writing from the Solstice MFA in Writing Program at Pine Manor College. His work has been published in West Texas Literary Review, The Chrononichle, Pamplemousse, and is forthcoming in Fictive Dream, as well as The Tishman Review. He has twice received the JSC/VSC fellowship. He currently lives in Michigan.

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