What’s a father made of?

A Short Story from the Kemla Series, from her fathers point of view.

             “What are little girls made of? Rot and grot, and their fathers’ snot.”  The man sung, chugging ale and laughing at his own joke.

The rest of the household held little respect for any of his jokes, which perplexed his deep respect for his own authority. It was a building effect, as each moment passed he grew more and more angry, more determined to prove his point, more desperate to drink and not just the ale in his hand. He desired dominance, not that he saw it as any more than a god given right but the longer it was lacking the more he sought it.

“Ma,” the child called, it was the only word the two year old knew and that infuriated the man.

His foot jerked out from under the table, slamming into the bottom of the girl and sending her small body flying forwards and crashing into the cobbled floor.

“Silence you!”

“Zared she’s a child!”

Her words had no meaning but her tone changed everything.

“Women!” He roared, standing quickly and sending his chair flying.

There was still a large dinning table between him and his family but the distance could be easily covered. Retribution was only seconds away. The child clung in her mothers arms, tears and silent sobs were evidence of pain and fear but both factors alluded the man. Fear was not submission.

“Zared you keep your hands, and your feet, to yourself,” her tone held more force when used to convey a quiet resolution than he seemed to be able to muster in any of his growls or demands. Fury built higher in him, his fists already clenched.

Another little body ran into the room, not a full run, not the run of a happy child. She was meek and tentative and this amused her father. She huddles in beside her mother, risking a glance at the fuming man across the room. The depth in her eight year old eyes, the unfaltering comprehension of the situation, is lost on the man. Her trepidation, her misery, her angst are beyond him. His ideals, his view of the world is disjointed and misaligned, but from where he’s standing he’s right and everyone else somehow enjoys provoking him.

The older sibling slips her hands in around her sister, cradling her tight and running from the room, though it’s not without effort.

The man’s only thought is that wherever they go they’d best come back with something worth his time, something worth their keep. His mind quickly slips to the women before him, his mirth erupts, filling the house.

“You can’t run like your brats can you Ysabel? Or poor grandma upstairs will bare the brunt of your treachery.”

“I don’t need to run Zared.”

“You want to, you want to taunt me, you enjoy quarrelling with me, you live to incite me. I pay for your keep, I feed you, I keep you and those brats alive!”

“You were once a good man Zared,” Her tone slips lower, sorrowful, and for half an instant something stirs in the man.

Followed quickly by remorse and he buries the lot, slamming his fist on the table.

“You wait and see Ysabel, one of these day’s I’m not going to come home and then where will you and your brats be? Where would grandma be?” He pelts the mug across the room but she doesn’t flinch, resigned to his torments. If it hits her it hits her and if it doesn’t what’s it matter?

The  mug slams into the wall, spilling ale both on flight and impact.

“Clean that up wench!” He yells, slamming the front door open and following by slamming it shut after himself.

“Stupid wretched women, revolting kids…” he mumbles and grunts as he stomps down the street. Making a better impression of a tantrum than the kids he hates.

It’s in this state, half drunk and full of rage, that he finds an inn and downs his coin worth of mead.

With the added influence of intoxication, and the hatred for his lot in life still boiling in his veins, he turns the almost packed inn and shouts, “anyone care for a house, I’ve one going cheep.” There’s not a lot of thoughts floating around in his head, the desire to punish the wife and children who have wronged him and a vague notion of starting again, of starting fresh.

“Care to wager that house?” A gentleman asks, his attire not out of place in the inn, the centre of the slums still attracted many a wealthy man looking to engage in coin making enterprises that usually also inflict some manner of pain on the less well off of the population.

Zared didn’t care, he was good enough to play cards with a nobleman. He considered himself good enough to win and delighted in the coin that built up before him. His previous temper was nothing compared to the rage that overtook him as the coin begun to diminish. Stupid mistakes happened before his eyes, like he was dreaming and he knew the outcome of his next move but he still made it, he was watching himself loose and by late afternoon he found himself tossed out onto the street with nothing left but the clothes he was wearing.

He paced the ally behind the inn, actually his motions were more like stomping staggers. Movements that lightened when his path, by chance, crossed that of the noblemen who too all his money. Like the thieve he’d become he chased, unseen, after the man and scaled the wall surrounding his townhouse. There was little in the way of any connecting thought in the man. He wasn’t planning or scheming, just doing – enacting his rage, taking his retribution. He let himself into the kitchen and confronted with an angry nobleman things happened very quickly.

The nobleman was easily overpowered, unconscious on the floor his family came running. They weren’t like his own woman and children, they didn’t know how to be quiet, or when to run.

“You monster, get out of my house, you brute, you beast…”

The back of his hand met the face of the women and abruptly silenced her protests. He was none of those things, neither a monster, or a brute or a beast. His rage clouded judgement etched further from comprehension. The children he picked up and hung by the backs of their shirts on nearby pothooks.

“You leave my children,” the awakening noblemen demanded. “You filthy commoner.”

How the night unfolded Zared never fully recalled. His blood stained arms were testament to someone’s demise but who’s or how? He didn’t care either, not truly. For his memory loss yes but for their lives, any of them, they deserved whatever they got. One thing he did realise, not a block from his home, was that he couldn’t stay in the city. The noblemen did have the details of his home, and was perhaps dead, so trouble would come looking for Zared. Best he went where trouble couldn’t find him.

The sun was set but not by long, people were still about, giving Zared a wide birth. The man made his way out of town, hope unfolding within him. However it came about this was the fresh start he was after, he knew nothing of where he’d be in a few day’s time and that pleased him greatly. Perhaps he’s buy his own inn, become a working man? He forgot about the past, it wasn’t too hard to do, and just kept walking. All but himself elapsed, the same as he’d lived his whole life.

And of the women and children, his children, word came to them of what had passed. Good deeds often call more good deeds to themselves, they made their own freedom, overtime.

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