{ Whale Dreams }
Margaret Emery
illustration by Pat Lewis

whaleIn most of my whale dreams I either hear them dying or smell them rotting. In one, I just hear the whales making the noises. I'm in the backseat of the car and I'm almost falling asleep when I hear them. Here are five of my more detailed whale dreams:

1. I fall out of a rowboat going to Chapel Island, Nova Scotia, where my old babysitter lived. Instead of whales, there are porpoises around me. The porpoises start nosing me, kind of bullying me, but not really being hurtful.

2. I am lost somewhere and I fall in the water. There is a big squid thing with tentacles in the water along with the whales. The whales are making a high-pitched shrieking noise again, and it makes everything in the water vibrate and echo. The whales and the squid thing and I keep on bumping into each other.

3. I am standing in line to go on the ferry in the St. Peter's Canal, also in Nova Scotia. I don't think the ferry goes through the canal in real life. The whales are beside the ferry. They're small. I fall off the ferry and into the water. The whales start making the lower noises, not the bad shrieking ones. They swim by me quickly, and the mini current they make pulls me through the water.

4. I am in the woods, and I'm running from a forest fire. I run down to the dock. The dock is vibrating, and the whales are making that high-pitched shrieking noise from the dock. I think they're upset because maybe they think it's going to be an oil-spill-type fire that might spread to the water. But it's not that, they're really upset because they are crowded. There are mermaids and unicorns and lots of other animals often seen in tapestries and bad cartoons running in the water, crowding the whales into a smaller space. The whales are panicking and going around in circles, kind of like sheep. They are in a lake and the sides of the lake have fjords. The whales hide in the cracks of the fjords and make the shrieking noise again.

5. I am walking alongside the St. Peter's Canal. My friends are on one side of the canal, and I am on the other side. I'm trying to get to their side so I walk up to where the drawbridge is. The bridge is out. There is a crossing-guard woman there with an orange outfit on, so I ask her what was up with the bridge. She says no one uses the bridge anymore. They use whales to shuttle people across the canal. I tell her that's stupid because the canal is too shallow and narrow for whales, the canal has no current. It just seems like a bad idea. She says it's okay because it gives them something to do and it protects them from poachers. Then she blows a whistle and a whale comes up. She and some other people stick a small hook in the whale with a rope attached to it. They slide me onto the whale and make me hold onto the rope. Then they blow the whistle again. We go underwater and I try to hold onto the lice and the scabs on the whale's skin. But the whale is so scared that I'm touching it that it makes a lot of noise-more noise than whales usually do in the dreams-and it throws me off of it. I land right back at the same place near the drawbridge. We try it again. The lady blows the whistle and the second whale swims up with two porpoises beside it. The porpoises are biting and shoving the whale around and squawking like blue jays. I hit them on the nose but they won't go away. The whistle blows and I hold onto the whale and it sinks to the bottom and makes a lower-pitched noise. I go up for air, and I end up just floating in the middle of the water, right in the middle of the drawbridge with my friends on the other side.

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