My Mama was a wise woman. She loved us only the way a country gal of blood relation could.
If I cried, she would slap me 'round the head with a iron pan warm off the stove and tell me- in the rough, beaten tones which told of her age- that I, in her exact words, was a "Belly buttoned eyed pork ready for the slaughter."
Even to this day I have no clue what she was on about, and I shall never find out.
Yet she was not just a rough'n'tumble type. Like any good Mama she would teach me the vital skills of hunting and tracking, leading me through dense undergrowth in search of a deer or fox to capture, kill, then cook in a good 'ld stew for dinner. As the furry skin of one kind or another was peeled away with my Mama's switchblade, a rare yet beautiful smile stretched across Mama's face- her eyes creasing in their corners and her lips curving upwards in a warm smile.
"This'll make a fillin' meal, Laddy!" She would boast in that way of hers, "We'll make a man outta you yet!"
Then we got back to the cottage.
By the time we got back the sun usually had begun its steady decline into the burrows of the hills, creeping away as the shadow returned- yet the shadows did not exist only out in the lands, but also in the heart of my Father. Father was not one to be called Papa like most parents in the area for he was not from the Greenlands. He was a Bluesea man- born and bred in the fresh salty air, and the moment he moved with my Mama to the Greenlands his Blue heart met the Green air- turning him sour to the core.
He claimed he hated what my Mama had become- hated her wrinkles and weather beaten features, hated her smile and laugh- but most of all he claimed to hate me. Mama had me before she met Father but the man beat her. She had escaped in the hope there was still a man in the world to look after us and at first she was certain Father was the one to save us. Her knight in shinning tin she called him and I remember his laugh.
But the air of Greenlands destroyed his smile, crushed his laugh and shattered the heart my Mama had hoped for. He was no better than the one who had created me. He had turned to the shadow.
I was twelve when IT happened, the evening my Mama was atken from me.
We had arrive from our hunt for a deer for supper when we noticed the proch light was on. Both of our smiles faded. Father was home. As we entered the kitchen, he was standingg there, his eyes red and bloodshot; his breath reeking of the demon drink- a substance banned from Greenlands due to the violent nature it caused.
Father had an entire cabnit full of the stuff.
"Betty! I remember him yelling, "Where the bloody 'ell were you?!"
"Getting your dinner!" My Mama snapped. This was the moment i hid behind the table- desperately attempting to hide from my Father's drunken rage. Usually this allowed me to escape any violence yet on this particular evening, i was caught.
"And look at your son!" My Father mocked, "Not man enough to stay and fight! Put 'em up lad!" He then began a merry jig in front of the table, his bloodied fists raised at the ready.
"Danniel- don't do this!" My mother ordered, firmly placing her knife upon the kitchen counter, the gore of the deer all gone- wiped clean. A clean blade is a mean blade was my Mama's phyilosophy and as it entered my head, i smiled. Father thought i was smiling at him, so smashed me straight in the nose.
To my deepest shame, I began to cry.
"Blubberin' like a baby! Is that the son you should be proud of?!" My father teased, slamming his hand upon the counter- his finger catching the knife.
His smile widened.
"DON'T YOU DARE!!" My Mama screamed as Father fingered the blade. She made a desperate grab for it yet only succeding in angering him. He slapped her, bringing a wide hand print onto her startled face.
"Come out Sonny boy!" He ran the knife along the counter, peeling away the surface in thick curls, "You wannna be a man? Well do ya?"
Finally I found my voice.
"NO!" I cried, tears pouring down my cheeks, "I want ta be like my Mama!"
"THAT'S IT!" Father cried and with that he charged at me- the blade pointing to wards my eyes.
"NO!" My Mama screamed and i closed my eyes for the end. I heard the impact, yet strangely there was no pain. I guessed I must have died instantly and gone to a better place.o protect me.
As i opened my eyes, i though of my poor Mama i had left behind and- I screamed. I hadn't died- reality was still there. There had been no pain as i hadn't been stabbed.
But Mama had.
Father and plunged the blade right into her heart as she had stepped in to protect me.
"... Do..n't listen... ta... 'im...." She looked down at me and smiled, "I'm... prou...d of... you... my little... Hunter..."
Then she gasped and her soul left this life. Her body crumpled to the side, blood pooling around her.
I glared at my Father who appeared to have sobered up.
"YOU MONSTER!"I screamed at him. He just stood there. "You... You..." My twelve year old innocence did not allow me to pull up any curses or insults which suited teh occasion. "I HATE YOU! I screamed, running towards him. Fear flashed in his darkened pupils yet i only succedding in kicking him where it hurts. I grabbed thde knife, yet i was not able to do anything with it. True, i had killed deep and other animals- but this was a man who had raised me- though badly- so it was not just a matter of doing the deed so he would not feel it.
I then realised i wanted him to suffer, and suffer badly.
I left Father on the floor, clutching at his crotch- as I moved towards my dead Mama. I touched her woud, letting the blood collect in my hand, the sticky crimson was still warm. I turned back to my Father.
"I will be back." I growled, picking up the knife which had fallen. "I will come back and make you pay for what you've done. You will suffer." I cut my own finger and my blood mixed with my Mama's. "The blood of the Mamas are the strongest types of blood. When a promise is made with a son and a Mama's blood- hell hath no fury."
I turned and left the house.
I never went back.