50 | 1st Place

Tending to her flower patch, BioBot #5338 counted 1,994 bees – up from last year. She greeted each one, commending them on jobs well done.

This story was awarded 1st place in our 48 HOUR FLASH FICTION CONTEST. Annabelle Woodger is worried about the bees. This story was inspired by her research into conservation efforts and the developments of bee robots to support organic bees. Giving this a positive twist, she has created a positive future where bees and robots live harmoniously. It made our judges wonder and imagine a world in which this was possible, just as a story seed should. Congratulations Annabelle! // Alex Massey

//Annabelle travels everywhere with a small bee toy in her bag named Beatrice. Sometimes she posts pictures of her on Twitter @yayannabelle//

49 | 2nd Place

“It’s not the neurons. They have minds like ours constrained by bee bodies.” To prevent future contamination Jim gassed the trained bees.

This story was awarded 2nd place in our 48 HOUR FLASH FICTION CONTEST. It was inspired by a piece of research co-authored by our judge Dr. Clint Perry. His team trained bees to score goals with a small ball. When these motivated bees solved cognitive tasks, it called into question previous suggestions that they had a small quantity of neurons. Frank Hubeny takes this concept and gives it a dystopian twist. The results? A story our judges thought was ‘intriguing, fun, and dark’. // Alex Massey

//Frank Hubeny lives north of Chicago.  He writes poetry and short prose.  He blogs at https://frankhubeny.blog.//

48 | 3rd Place

In this field ripe with death, I flourish – bitter nectar draws them in. We play pretend it’s mutual, but they can’t help but need the buzz.

This story was awarded 3rd place in our 48 HOUR FLASH FICTION CONTEST. Much like humans, it appears bees can’t resist a caffeinated beverage. In 2015, researchers reported that bees may select caffeinated nectar over an uncaffeinated but otherwise equal-quality alternative. In fact, flowers may be lacing their honey with extra caffeine to attract the bees. Liz Duck-Chong creates a poetic take on this research, speculating about the dark intent of flowers. // Alex Massey
//Liz is a writer, guitarist and photographer. She can be found at @lizduckchong, or signing photographs of random celebrities.//