Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: The Great White North (NOT Alaska)
Ophelia: Part I
I was happy with my family at my first home, but before I knew it I was in a tiny plastic pyramid, being drugged and shipped away from everything I knew. I found myself in a larger bag surrounded by other pyramids containing more of my siblings and all were just as distressed. My brother was always a nervous eater, but in the absence of our normal food he tried to soothe himself by biting his tail instead; his frantic screams occasionally broken by quick yelps as he took another bite of his tail. When we came out of the darkness, our bag was floating in a large pool of water and those near the surface of the water could see a small forest of plants below. We all hoped that this would be our new home, but we all knew full well that our brothers would not get along at all. Humans came and opened the large bag. All the pyramids scattered across the surface of the pool and I finally believed my brothers about the plants below: perhaps we had all died on our journey and this was paradise? I could see other fish moving through the blue haze of the drugged water, but could not approach them to find out what they were. The only thing I was sure of is that they weren't bettas.
Our pyramids were gently placed in a large bucket and taken over to a much darker corner of this strange building than the pool we had previously been floating in. One by one, our plastic prisons were torn open and drained over a large net: I dreaded my time coming, but could not fight my fall through the air into the net. Below me I could see the blue pool of water from the others before gentle hands lifted me and dropped me into a small bowl of warm, clear water. Once I had overcome the shock of being moved around and handled time and again, I found myself on a brightly lit glass shelf with some of my sisters lined up in a row beside me. They were all plain: their normally dark bodies and red fins were stress striped and pale, but in their plainness, my wild-type sisters were also in a way very beautiful. They flitted about in their own bowls, signaling to one another to assess the new situation when the humans came in. The large one saw me first and picked up my bowl with an excited sound.
"Oooh! They have females! Come here!"
"She's pretty," said the smaller human that came over from her survey of my brothers.
"We have to take her: she won't be here long if we don't."
"Why don't we go see when your mother's bus comes in and come back?"
They spoke briefly with the human that put us in the bowls and left, but returned after a short interval. Once again I found myself in a bag, wrapped up in paper and being transported yet again. When I was finally exposed to the light again, it was not the fluorescent glow of the shelves that greeted me, but a soft and gentle light that fell on a rather chaotic nest of furniture and papers strewn about. The little human looked at me with concern and wonder before holding me close to her body so I could feel her warmth, but they were in a hurry: before I could properly enjoy the heat, I found myself floating again. This time, I could see below me a rather large red blur that took the shape of a male betta. When his angry remarks subsided, I noticed a soft blue sheen that covered his body and felt my own colour begin to rise, but I was still afraid. I hoped against hope that the humans weren't putting me in with him.
"Hello," he said softly.
"He-hello?" I replied, frustrated that my voice quivered when I tried to speak.
"Have they given you a name?"
"Have the Keepers given you a name?"
"What are the Keepers?"
"The humans that brought you here."
"What is a name?"
"They call me 'Hamlet,' for example. Every time I hear it I know they're talking about me."
"Oh," I replied, trying to remember if the humans had called me by any sort of name. "I think they called me...Ophelia?"
"Ophelia?" Hamlet said softly as the humans quickly left, dimming the light in their wake. "I'm glad to see you Ophelia."
"And you, Hamlet."
"How did you come to be here?"
In the dark I told him my story...