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Weeds and Flowers

Weeds and Flowers

A Story by Shadkim
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A different take on Shakespeare's Hamlet.

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I twirled a delicate finger through my knotted hair, grinning as I basked in the glory of my accomplished plan. My back and shoulders were sore from the heavy weight and my knuckles were still white from gripping his legs. The pain made me feel more alive than I did in a while. It meant that I was only minutes away from killing the man I thought I loved.

 
Under the protection of my willows, the sun barely broke through into my private grove. There would be no visitors, no witnesses, only the sun and I. The forest was silent; it seemed to be holding its breath, waiting for my next action. I would show it.
 
He lay crumpled, like a broken doll, under the largest patch of sun. His face was buried in the moss, limbs twitching, not yet conscious. “Well,” I whispered, standing above him, “we can’t have you miss the show.” I closed my eyes, holding the thought of vines in my mind. I saw them breaking the surface of moss, slithering over him and binding him in an earthy bed of my choosing. For dramatic effect, I snapped my fingers. A soft screech only I could hear came from deep in the ground. It was the vines, growing out of nothing at an alarming rate. I watched, impassive, as the green plants pushed upward. They surrounded him in a circle, almost a dozen, and four wrapped themselves securely around his wrists and ankles.
 
“That’s it,” I cooed, watching as they pulled him onto his back. The other vines slid under him, entwining themselves together in a sturdy, intricate design. The more they touched and curled, the higher he rose from the ground. Soon enough, the vines stopped and I admired my handy work. He was strapped to a bed of vines, laid out before me like a delicious meal. My lips split into a smirk.   
           
My toes dug into the mossy ground as I stepped away from my captive; leaving him be for the time being. He wasn’t going anywhere – I hit him pretty hard – and I had to get ready. I pushed back some hanging branches, looking over my shoulder one last time before disappearing into my room.
      
My ‘room’ was completely covered, sun be damned. I didn’t want to burn during the day. I tiptoed daintily across the moss, gliding over to the basin that doubled as my mirror. I peered over the top and stared into the rippling water. I looked at myself with grim satisfaction, touching my face with mud stained hands. What I saw before me was not the lady I once was… it brought me joy.
     
My face was partially covered by my matted hair. It used to be silky and shined like the sun; I had a maid that would brush my hair every day and every night. My hair used to be pleasant shade of dark blond but now it was more dirty and dark than ever. The last of the brightness glittered when I stepped into the sun. Having a long mane of hair became so tiring to upkeep… sometimes I just let it do what it wanted.
 
I used to be considered a beauty. I believe I had a plain face but bright, expressive eyes. I liked my eyes… never mind what other people thought. They called me a striking maiden and all looked upon me with an appraising eye. Glimpsing back on it now, I wonder how I was able to take it. Looking into the mirror, I find only satisfaction. I am no longer pretty. Dirt dusts my face like blush and my ‘perfect’ lips are cracked and dry. My green eyes burn back at me, blazing with several swirling shades of the color. The mark of an awakened Earth Witch.
           
A dagger glittered from behind me, hanging from one of the branches. I glided to it, all thoughts of myself gone. This night was not about me. It was about revenge, the balance of the universe…. Justice. I would inflict justice on this man. I brought the dagger at a fair a few weeks ago; it was then that I decided I would use not my magic, but a mortal weapon. The silver dagger called to me… pleading to be used. Now was it’s time.
 
I held it in my hand and the metal felt cool and comfortable against my skin. They say that Earth Witches shy away from such things. I must be the exception. My fingers closed tightly around the hilt as I danced gracefully back to the room with my captive. He was unconscious still, hanging loosely within the confines of my vines.
 
I stood above him, watching him, trying to dig deep into my memories. I hid them away, you see, but the bad ones are the memories that drive me.  I could remember the way he looked at me, calling me a w***e and other horrible words that stung my spirit. I recalled the hate in his eyes, the utter distrust, as he slowly pulled himself away from me. My love… how is that I can keep calling him that?
 
 
 
 
My ears picked up a sound; the trees were groaning in protest. I asked them why and they said that someone was trying to enter my home. I closed my eyes and I could hear the pounding of fists against the sturdy trunks of my trees. I could hear the whispers of a spells, so different but the same, creep from someone’s lips. A strong wind blew in, slapping me in the face with an astounding force. The wind carried a voice, “Ophelia!” he screamed, “let him go!”
 
I laughed, harsh and brittle. My voice was carried through the leaves, “So you have come, have you, Horatio?”
 
His wind replied, “That’s right. I saw what you did!” He pounded on the trunks, “I’ll blow these trees away, I’ll stop you myself, if you refuse me!”
 
“Why shouldn’t I kill him?” I asked, my voice dripping with venom, “He is the one who brought me my pain. It was him that broke my mind and my heart. Peace can only come with his death.”
 
“You still want revenge?” Horatio asked, his voice cracking, “Even after all this time? Ophelia, you don’t know the truth. You weren’t supposed to get hurt. It was an accident.”
 
“A-accident?” My voice cracked too, only with fury. The ground beneath me shook as my body did. I squeezed the dagger, focusing on its shining light. “You call my father’s death an accident? And what of my own state of being?” I shouted, “I lost my mind, Horatio! If it weren’t for this magic, I would surely be dead.” My voice dropped to a whisper as the sound of flooding water filled my ears, “Either by my own hand… or someone else’s.”
 
“Please, Ophelia!” Horatio pleaded.
 
“No,” I growled back. With new determination, I lifted the dagger in front of me. My hand shook, and the dagger trembled in my hand. It looked excited.
 
My plants, my home, started to screech in union as a fierce gale struck. The leaves of my roof rained down around me, whispering encouragement and warnings. I couldn’t hear them. As Horatio summoned up his most powerful winds, I took my last look at him.
 
I heard him moan and silence flooded my ears. He shifted in his bed of vines, not yet fighting against them. My eyes sweeped over his body, collecting this final image. He still wore all black, an honorable memory of his father. Tights, shorts, a vest – he lived for the past. His shock of blond hair, full of playful cowlicks, was dampened by the blood that stuck to his skull. A tiny, sweet memory of twisting those cowlicks around my fingers rose in my mind. It faded like a dream.
 
The strong, old trees that blocked Horatio’s way finally broke, screaming their last screams in my ear. The excess wind lifted my hair as I steadied my gaze. I was sure Horatio was too late.
 
How did I ever love this man? What was it I loved about him? I didn’t want to remember. All I knew were the dark times when everything I came to know fell apart around me. The world as I knew had shown me its true colors. He played me… used my heart for his own games. There was no truth. He never trusted me. He had to die.
 
Horatio pushed his way through the branches, rushing into my home. I could hear his heavy footsteps, his labored breathing. He would see us any second.
 
I raised the dagger above my head. I held on with two hands and my head was pounding. A drop of sweat trickled down my throat.
 
He stirred. His eyes, as blue as the ocean, stared up at mean with confusion and recognition. I didn’t see him look at the dagger. He was only looking at me. His voice, broken and weak, sent a knife through my own heart. “…O...Ophelia?”
 
Hamlet.
 
Horatio, a second too late as predicted, watched in horror as I brought down my shining blade.

© 2008 Shadkim


Author's Note

Shadkim
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Featured Review

My first thought was "Hamlet? Really?" Then I read on. And I caught on. Even if I had stopped before it was revealed that the dead (or just before death?) Ophelia had the man of the hour, I would still be able to say that this is a truly wonderful piece, and I expect that there will be more? (I may be of mind to hound you until there is). Your descriptions are wonderful and vivid, the reading was wholly enjoyable. (Hamlet is my favorite, too. There is something about a desperate man seeking revenge)

Posted 13 Years Ago


6 of 6 people found this review constructive.




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Rei
I never read that play but I am sure shakespeare would applaud you my fair lady. This was a masterpiece if nothing else. The description you use are like artworks all of their own. Your imagery is magnificient! This story was a very well written revenge story with the end I was kinda of hoping for yet not hoping for. I like how you were able to give enough of the characters and the story to make this easy to understand for anyone who had never read the play...me! You are a genius! Thank you for writing this!

Posted 10 Years Ago


I liked this piece, tackling the works of the Bard is not easy, but you've done well with this piece. The beginning could afford a little work, it's a bit hard to get into, and for a reader the hook needs to be cast with the first opening lines. Other than that, this has wonderful imagery, intelligent dialogue, and a smart twist. Keep up the good work, I look forward to reading more of your writing in the future. In the meantime, have a wonderful and creative day. Ciao!

BJH

Posted 12 Years Ago


It's always interesting when people tackle the Bard. It's been done for years, but then again he does have the best stories. The imagery you used was very poewrful and inteligent, the use of nature reclaiming things was intruiging. I have to agree with others that the begining was a little sticky, but once you got into it it flowed very well.

Just for interest, my favourite Shakespeare play is Othello.

Posted 13 Years Ago


4 of 4 people found this review constructive.

The beginning of the story was a littl awkward, but after that it flows nicely. I love that this is Ophelia and Hamlet you're writing about. What a twist!

Posted 13 Years Ago


4 of 4 people found this review constructive.

hmmm. not bad, an enjoyable read

Posted 13 Years Ago


4 of 4 people found this review constructive.

I really liked this. I am often very sceptical about reading takes on Shakespeare's plays, but this I found to be a very interesting spin on the Bard's story. I found your use of imagery beautiful. I did feel sorry for Hamlet though. I've seen over half of Shakespeare's plays and he's my favourite character, but then Ophelia is my favourite female character. My heart breaks for both of them.

I have always found Ophelia one of the most interesting of Shakespeare's women. And after having studied the play, researched it, and watched it several times I have come to the conclusion that she does not commit suicide. I researched the death of a young woman who lived in a village just along the river from Stratford, and the events of her death seemed to have played a crucial part in Ophelia's death. At the time of this woman's death Shakespeare would have been about 16/17. Anyhow, I'm deviating from your story.

I would be very happy to read any of your takes on Shakespeare's works. I thoroughly enjoyed this.

Posted 13 Years Ago


4 of 4 people found this review constructive.

Off to a good start.

Posted 13 Years Ago


4 of 4 people found this review constructive.

Ahhh, now THIS is good. I enjoyed this thoroughly, your use of descriptive terms create a wonderfully vivid piece of work that plays out perfectly in the mind. One small thing I noticed (and it is only small - hope you don't mind me pointing it out... ;-))

Your hair: 'The last of the brightness glittered when I stepped into the sun'. (I would have perhaps used 'gleamed' or 'shined' or something like that to convey your hair's glossiness - especially as you have used the word to describe the dagger two paragraphs on - consequently you could use the word 'glinted' for the dagger - that stops the word repeating).

Other than that, I thought this was great, the best of your work I have read so far - look forward to reading more! Cheers HoWiE ;-)



Posted 13 Years Ago


4 of 4 people found this review constructive.

This holds your attention. I look forward to more.

Posted 13 Years Ago


4 of 4 people found this review constructive.

A beautiful take on Shakespeare with plenty of drama and strong descriptions to keep the reader interested. Unfortunately, you dull some of those descriptions by using the word "was", which is a weak verb and should be avoided at all costs amongst writers (even though plenty of the most undeservingly famous still do). Sometimes I also feel as if you mention things that the reader might have already picked up on, but I can't think of a specific point now. These are certainly minor problems however.

Posted 13 Years Ago


5 of 5 people found this review constructive.


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Added on June 14, 2008
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Author

Shadkim
Shadkim

Tampa, FL



About
I'm 21, and I am a senior English Major at FSC. I don't usually write poetry - my passion is prose, specifcially things like fantasy, adventure, romance and mystery. However, I like to try out all dif.. more..

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