A dream of a thousand fish.
Part 2 of Heather Lawson’s previous story.
One of the lines that often echoed through Ophelia’s head during the darker hours happened to be a line that never actually belonged to her.
To sleep, perchance to dream.
Because for Hamlet sleep was all about death.
If Ophelia had ever bothered to stick around for the entire play she would have known that Hamlet was wrong and that he to was one of the many characters who died.
Unfortunately Hamlet only ever died at the end and there was an entire act in between and Ophelia had always been impatient.
When Ophelia dreamed her thoughts were filled with the fish in the stream where she had drowned. There has one been one at the time but in her subconscious it multiplied by the hundreds and thousand until all she could see were shiny silvery scales.
All she could smell was the choking rotting scent of dead fish.
“Don’t be ridiculous Bella these dreams they do not have smells” Juliet said indigently as they buried the body in a rose garden behind the theatre. Well to be fair it was Ophelia who buried the body Juliet just supervised her eyes occasionally flickering onto her fingernails.
“I know what I smell and it’s a rotting fish stench ok? Like this body” Ophelia snapped back her face bright red and flustered.
Juliet just stared at the body barely interested.
“He doesn’t smell that bad, more like wine then anything. Who was he?” she asked and as dirt showered through the air.
“The director of the play” Ophelia grunted, it was difficult attempting to dig a grave with a prop spade.
“I don’t see why we cant just dump the body behind a dumpster” sighed Juliet.
“This production happens to have the best Ophelia madness scene in over two decades Juliet and its not going to close just because the director killed himself with the bottle! The body will be buried and hopefully no one will search for him until tomorrow nights performance” Ophelia said wiping a streak of dirt off her chin.
“Oh and what about you Juliet? How about we talk about the time you hid the body of half a cast when they all died from the bubonic plague?” Ophelia asked and Juliet rolled her eyes.
“Can I at least kick the body down the hole?” she asked nudging it with the toe of her satin slippers.
“Have fun” Ophelia replied as Juliet giggled before kicking the body into the hole.
It made a faint splattering sound and then there was silence.
A few seconds later they heard the patter of footsteps and a small intake of breath.
“How did he die?” Desdemona asked quietly.
Ophelia glanced up irritably but then sighed when she saw the tear stained face and disheveled hair.
“Oh alcoholism, the usual” she replied.
“Then why is there blood all over his pants?” Desdemona asked and Ophelia’s hand clapped over her mouth.
Desdemona was right of course, when you spent your time skulking about shows it was hard to tell the prop blood from the real and Ophelia had ignored the stain seeping through the front of his shirt and the trousers.
The smell now however made sense, the horrible rotting fishy smell.
It was the smell of blood and dirt.
“Murder Murder Murder” Juliet cackled gleefully as Ophelia felt sick.
“Remember the last murder Des? When the jealous stagehand killed the man playing Othello because he was banging the seamstress? That was poison though so very dull,” Juliet added leaning over the crudely dug hole her pretty brown eyes lighting up with interest.
“Careful Juliet or your tits will make you topple over” Ophelia said snidely, still annoyed at her for bullying Desdemona.
Juliet made a huffing sound and crawled backwards her infamous cleavage now covered in streaks of mud.
“If it’s a murder we should bury the body, what if a talented actor did it? The last thing we’d need is for a talented actor to waste the next five years in prison” Ophelia said firmly.
“You’re absolutely right darling the show comes first” Desdemona agreed with her and Juliet just flicked a blade of grass of her left bosom with annoyance.
“I wonder what he dreamed about last night,” she said gruffly before her eyes trailed upwards locking with Ophelia’s.
“Don’t,” Desdemona warned her.
“Lets hoping it was fish” Juliet said her lips curling into an almost smile.
The last thing you dreamed about would always be the thing you dreamed about during death. If you were very lucky the night before you died you would dream of lands filled with chocolate or walking into a story where everything is free.
However if you dreamed while dying well then….
The scales were pressing against her skin yet again the slimy wet grazing her lovely white skin. The stench cloyed through the velvet of her dress as she struggled to swim upwards.
It was an accident she wanted to scream needlessly, it was never intentional. But instead she sank deeper and deeper until all the sunlight disappeared and there was nothing but an almost silvery darkness.
Then the dream ended the way it always did.
With complete and utter silence.
Ophelia’s eyes snapped open and instead of silvery scales she saw the slightly bumpy ceiling of the schools theatre.
Her body lay sprawled across the catwalk perfectly still as she waited for the smell to leave her nostrils.
The dead dreamed every night because even their subconscious needed to metaphorically deal with things.