Faint laughing made me raise my eyes and flash them at Dalek, but he was darn serious and staring at Magnus huge shaky feet next to two skinny ones. Dalek’s face changed from frowning to cutting rage in split of a second and I pulled myself away just in time to witness him fly through the air and hit Magnus so hard I could hear his ribs shatter.
“WAS THERE SOMETHING FUNNY YOU HEARD?” He demanded, pulling him up, ready to strike again.
I wasn’t sure he’d survive the next blow and decided to intervene, but the look in Dalek’s eyes made me stiff and as long as he stared at me I couldn’t make myself move. Right on the moment he looked away I forced myself move and cling to his hand and started pulling him away.
“Stop it!” I demanded, agnizing there and then that there was nothing keeping him from using the same anger on me, so I lowered my tone. “He didn’t mean anything bad with it!”
Magnus sank back on the floor and rolled aside while Dalek turned his full attention to me, making me back off.
“He offends you, laughing over what you went through and all you can say is he didn’t mean it?!?”
I jolted back. I hadn’t thought of it that way. I was so stunned it hurt – not because he’d insulted me, but he was right. Magnus had no idea, what I went through, most of the people here had no idea what it was like, except the women, who shared my faith and only four had the courage to continue living.
I took a look around, both Erika and Viika were up and staring at me and Dalek, appalled. They had been too asleep to understand what happened just now and Magnus wasn’t up on any explanations yet.
“Many laugh and it amuses them if I pay heed to them.” I wheezed out from my sore throat and tugged him away “Must I amuse them every time?” I snatched my dress and hurried towards the hatch.
I skipped the part, how I got out of the barn in my mind, finding myself standing in the middle of the field, surrounded by fog and stinging dew leaching through my blue tunic. I sank on the cold grass and let it cool me and calm my beating heart.
I promised myself not to take offence every time I heard someone laughing. It was innocent joke and had nothing to do with me, I told myself. I spent the whole year beating it into my head, because my heart refused to believe that after such insult against the whole village someone would think what happened to the women was funny. Still I could hear them whisper when I passed them by or girls giggle among themselves when they thought I wasn’t near. Every insult said towards the women near me seemed to hit me directly.
After a year people started to calm down and we among them. We no longer spoke of it, leaving it behind us. Not forgetting, but leaving it in the past, so we could live on.
I think I had too much cold there, because some time later my hands started shivering and I was forced to stand up again, making myself viewable from the house. At least I think that’s how Dalek found me.
I heard him approach long before he reached my viewing range. I turned to see him and he stopped only few steps away.
“Now you know my flaws.” I said after a while, watching the smoke like fog draw back around his huge body. “I have nothing else to add.”
“I saw only one flaw.” He answered seriously. “May I approach?”
I frowned over such formality after the night he spent sleeping next to me. I hated those manners – I had seen it happen before, men coming back from long trips, acting weird. I nodded, not quite sure of why.
“If you are as full of power as you say, why do you let them laugh over you?”
Will it never end? I let out a low grunt and turned away, biting my lips to keep them shut. But he wasn’t going to leave without an answer. What was it with men? They just had to dig in old wounds and reopen them.
“There’s no power in me! Now, let it go!” I ordered and started towards the fences where the sheep were. I had no wish to repeat my humiliating story of how I was abused.
“Is that what you are?” his voice nailed me on my spot. “Do I marry with a coward?”
I gulped hard. He talked about revenge. What did I know about revenge? Absolutely nothing. But men did – they knew amazingly many ways to pay back someone. Only their ways were dull and often with one rule – sword against sword, eye for an eye.
“I should kill him, is that it?” He didn’t answer and that gave me courage. I swayed myself slightly to see his face. “Should I kill him?” I asked again, this time forcing him to answer. “Should I– as you call it – stand up and revenge every man and woman for trying to ease the pain we suffer with laughter? The pain that the only few men left in the village were outnumbered to protect us? You tell me I should kill him and take leave this village without another good swordsman because I stoop so low as revenging some foolish man on an angry whim?” I paused to see what he’d answer, but he said nothing.
Suddenly it dawned on me he didn’t sound angry on me or in any way aggravated. Thousand thoughts ran through my head, but none of them stuck, only heart managed to capture a sinking feeling that something wasn’t right here.
“Magnus said you had you had your head on the right place.” He said, not able to keep smile creeping up on his face.
I didn’t feel amused, but mortified, not able to move any muscle in my body.
“You planned this.” I asked moistening my lips. “To try me out.”
Silence – that’s what it felt like to be insulted. I turned my eyes towards the sky behind him and the cold pink and blue that filled the eastern sky slink in my chest. I hugged myself to give my body some warmth, but it didn’t help. I waited for my mind to come up with some reply to this…, but it staid empty.
Finally, when seeing the first real sunrays penetrating the sky, I had my answer. I sighed and turned back to his waiting face. He wasn’t laughing anymore. Good, because what I was about to say would have wiped off his amusement anyway.
I didn’t even feel like getting upset, but I was sad in my heart. Dalek had been so nice man and so caring and handsome and then he managed to change in this weasel. Just as Magnus had been good brother once. Some days there really was no reason to get up from the hays.
“I passed your test?” I asked coldly, slowly closing the distance between us.
I stretched up and reached his lips. His breathing eased a bit and so I let my hands fall over his muscled chest to reach around his hips. I smiled slightly, kissed him cutely on his chin and then hit him so hard to his manhood he crumbled down, letting out only one long painful moan.
“Good.” I gave him my approval and walked away, slowly, so he could watch my swinging hips from where he had landed.