Illustration for article titled This Short Story About Death and Bees Is the Strangest, Most Beautiful Thing in Ages

I was blown away by “Telling the Bees” by T. Kingfisher, newly published in Strange Horizons. To the point where I was kind of amazed that I’d never heard of the author before, until I realized it was a pseudonym for Ursula Vernon.


We already praised Vernon’s “Jackalope Wives,” and her comics work is also phenomenal. But “Telling the Bees”—which is a very short piece, and a pretty quick read—is something else entirely. Here’s how it begins:

There was a girl who died every morning, and it would not have been a problem except that she kept bees.

When her heart had shuddered back to life and she had clawed her way back from the lands beneath, she sat up and drew a long sucking breath into the silent caverns of her lungs. Her first breath was always very loud in the little cottage, but there was no one there to hear it.

She wrapped her robe around her. It was a dressing gown in the morning and winding sheet at night. Then she swung her feet over onto the floor and the cold tiles were no colder than the palms of the newly dead.


Go read the rest over at Strange Horizons. It’s worth it!

Top image: dasWebweib/Flickr.

Charlie Jane Anders is the author of All The Birds in the Sky, coming in January from Tor Books. Follow her on Twitter, and email her.

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