Author: Luinae PM
A lone player, one with no name, watches another character, and everyone deals with the madness of the theatre. One-shot, mentions of violence, though very minorRated: Fiction K+ - English - Tragedy/Angst - & Bertie S. - Words: 793 - Reviews: 2 - Favs: 1 - Published: 06-13-10 - Status: Complete - id: 6050123
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We all watched her. At one point or another, everyone had watched her, like a fragile piece of china, ugly, yet too precious to loose. I had watched her, taking care that she would not hurt herself. Othello and Juliet and Bertie and the Wardrobe Mistress had all watched her.
Lady Capulet and Hamlet and Ophelia and the Pirates. Sometimes she didn't notice we were there. Yet, at other times she raged at us, screaming.
Now I was to watch her again. I dreaded it- it was like taking care of a child, all too grown up, yet so fragile it would break, and so young that she didn't know right from wrong, how to take care of herself.
"Lady Macbeth!" I begged, pulling on the hem of her green velvet dress. "You have to stop washing your hands. Please!" Submerging her hands in the hot water once more, she cried out in pain, but kept scrubbing. The capillaries had broken open, and her skin was splotchy and red. The cuticles around her fingernails had peeled back, and blood seeped from them, angrily crawling up her fingers.
"Lady Macbeth!" She didn't pull her hands out of the water, though she turned and glared at me.
"I am a Queen, wrench!" she screamed at me, the blood rising to her face. She calls everyone wrench- no matter if they are the highest player or the lowliest stage hand. I am no different to her- just another girl, another person, hovering around her, taking care of her.
I doubt she even knows that we take it upon ourselves to watch her, to take turns making sure nothing ever happens to her. I doubt she knows why we're here. I doubt she notices anyone but herself. She is washing her hands again.
I grab her hands out of the water.
"Lady Macbeth!" I cry, not for the last time. "Stop!"
She pulls a red, bloody, wet hand from my grasp and slaps it across my face, hard. I reel back, but I am not surprised. Clutching my hand to my face, anxious to stop the burning, I sigh. It is not surprising. She has done this before. It is like controlling a wild animal, a beautiful wild animal, a marred wild animal, but one that would kill you.
She is shaking now, sitting on the floor, clawing at her hands. There isn't a trace of blood on them. They are the purest white, marred from broken capillaries and over scrubbing, but there is no blood. I know that she sees blood there- everyone in the theatre knows it.
We have all heard her screams from late at night, raging about being the Queen, screaming about blood. One of us will rush to her room, but there is never any ghosts, never any blood. They is only ever Lady Macbeth, running around, screaming and terrified.
I sigh again.
Perhaps she resents that we pity her- our intense pity. But how unusual is it, really?
It's a madhouse. I rarely sleep anymore. Lady Macbeth screams, Ophelia tries to drown herself, and everything Bertie touches is stained with hair dye- Crimson Pagoda, Cobalt Flame. Everyone deals with the madness, the insanity, in their own separate way.
The fairies have knocked something over again. No, Tybalt and Mercutio are fighting, yelling at one another, the clash of swords ringing out backstage. Again.
"Lady Macbeth," I say again, no longer screaming or angry, merely resigned. "Your scene is almost on." She doesn't do much, simply allowing me to pick her up and guide her to where she's going.
I wipe the tears off her face, I fix her hair, I smooth her dress, like she is a small child, too small to take care of herself.
Then, suddenly, she starts to struggle, biting and thrashing and kicking. I hardly notice, like a lone rock in the middle of a storm, where the water crashes around it, but the rock remains. Still. Calm. Immovable.
I know that I will have bruises tomorrow from where she had struck me, clumps of hair missing from my head, angry red marks on my neck. But I take her to the edge of the stage, and someone else helps me soothe her.
Her scene has come.
I push her on the stage, and finally relax. It is exhausting, taking care of her, watching her.
Halfway through, I peer out onto the stage, as she acts out her part. Her life.
"Out damned spot!" she screams, then collapses onto the floor in loud, racketing sobs, her entire body shaking with madness, pity, grief, insanity. The crowd applauds her magnificent acting.
But she isn't acting.