"The African killer bees haven't come this far north, have they?" she said, trying to speak softly so only the oldest girls closest to her could hear.
Obviously, not the most sensible or mature of the oldest girls, because they immediately gabbled in Spanish. The only word Meg could understand was muerte -- death. More girls joined the screaming.
"Stop that!" Meg shouted, and waved her arms -- not smart to do, if there were swarms of bees in the area. She glanced around, waiting for the girls to quiet down and give her their attention. She could see lots of little moving objects in the air. Definitely a swarm, not just a few random bees out looking for flowers out here in the fields.
She and the girls wouldn't have been allowed out walking if there were killer bees in the area, would they? So they were safe. Right?
"We are all going to go back to the compound, okay?" She pointed at one of the older girls who usually translated for her. The girl spoke, even mimicking Meg's inflections.
"We are going to walk quietly and slowly and calmly. We are not going to irritate the bees. En silencio. Despacioso." At least, she hoped she was telling them to move slowly. She wanted to say perezoso, but she was pretty sure that meant lazy. "Do you understand? Poco a poco, las bocas cerrada. Comprende?" She used forefinger and thumb to press her lips together. A few little girls giggled nervously, but they copied her when she folded her hands at her waist and took small steps forward.
The girl doing the translating finished, and copied Meg. Other girls followed suit, and soon their group moved back the way they had come, pressed closer together on the path. Some still whispered and little shrieks erupted every dozen steps or so, little hands pointing at black specks of movement in the air.A loud scream erupted at the back of the group. Meg turned around, to see one of the older girls gyrating, swinging her arms. She didn't need translation -- the girls who could translate for her were too busy trying to calm the littler girls or doing their own screaming -- it was obvious the girl thought the bees were dive-bombing her.