Sample from "Warrior Monk"
My mother kneeled by his side, leaned over and kissed his forehead. "Sleep well, my darling," she whispered, "I'll be close by if you need me."
"When I wake I will be as fit as a ram in ... "
"I'm sure you will," she interrupted him. "Now get some sleep and remember the children are here."
He smiled as he closed his eyes. Within a few minutes the sound of heavy snoring filled the room.
With all that had happened with father, the dead Normans lying fifty feet from us, were completely forgotten-that is until Geoffrey said, "What are we going to do with those soldiers'"
My mother clasped her head in her hands. "Oh, dear, I had forgotten all about them. Ayden, what must we do'" Her eyes pierced right into me expecting an immediate answer.
"I don't know." I suddenly felt useless. I am the eldest and I should know what to do, but I didn't.
"Maybe we should dig a big hole and bury them." Geoffrey was always very simplistic with his ideas. You dare not joke around with him for he will take whatever you say seriously. When he asked father where babies came from he was told that a Stork dropped them through the smoke hole in the roof. Mother had a difficult time convincing him of the truth even though he knew very well how baby lambs and puppies were born.
"I think we should load them in the cart and take them to the Norman camp in Hastings."
Oswald's idea had merit. One of father's more wise instructions was to always tell the truth. Lies will always come back and "bite you in your sit-upon." If you lie to one person you will have to lie to others, then you will forget which lie you told to whom.
"That is all very well and good," I replied. "However, if they see us hauling a dozen dead Normans they will probably throw us in the dungeons and throw away the key. Can we take that chance'"
"I think we should bury them." Geoffrey stuck to his suggestion. "Nobody knows they are here so why should they come here looking for them'"
"Should we wake your father' He will know what to do." Mother looked over to where her husband slept very quietly. In our concern of what to do with the Normans we had not noticed he had stopped snoring.
"Let's put them in the barn and wait for father to wake up. They are not going anywhere, are they' Oswald and Geoffrey, come and help me."
"That is a good idea, Ayden. Then we can wait for father to awaken. He will know what to do." Mother's face relaxed and she took a deep sigh.
My brothers and I went outside and for the first time looked closely at the mass of flesh and blood that lay in our yard. Flies already were taking their fill of blood and remained on the bodies even when we went close to them.
"I can't do this," Geoffrey cried. "I'm going to be sick."
"Oh, come on," Oswald mocked him. "For once in your life pretend you are a man."
At that Geoffrey wretched and lost his last meal.
"That's just great," Oswald continued to deride him. "You're more like a little girl than a man."
"Grow up yourself and leave your brother alone. He can't help it. This is enough to make anyone vomit." My patience with Oswald was growing thin. "Grab this one's feet and help me drag him to the barn."
Oswald spit on the nearest Norman and reluctantly grabbed his feet. As we lifted the third corpse we quickly dropped him when he groaned.
"My god, this one is still alive," Oswald jumped backward.
"Not for long," I sneered through gritted teeth and withdrew my dagger and slit his throat. "There, you have heard the last groan out of him."
I cannot believe the pleasure this gave me; my hatred for Normans was kindled to new heights after what they had done to my father.
"Let's get these demons from hell into the barn so we can wash their blood off our bodies."
As we dropped the last corpse Geoffrey asked, "What about the horses' We now have twelve more."
"And we'd better get busy and round them up. There is no telling where they have wandered." Horses are very valuable and people will wonder how we have suddenly obtained so many. Not only that, we cannot afford to feed them.
"This is but one more thing we need to ask father when he awakens." I am the eldest and I desperately wished I could make these decisions without waiting for my father.
It took us an hour but we eventually had twelve Norman horses tied up in the barn. We stripped them of anything that tied them to the Normans and hid it all in the loft.
"We will bury that stuff in the morning," I said, pleased at finally making a decision.
The following morning found my brothers and I awake and fully dressed, anxious to continue the saga of the previous day. We tried to be quiet but, even when sleeping, my mother's ears were tuned for any unusual sound. Three young men shuffling around in unexpected hours qualified as unusual. She awakened without us knowing and finally said, "Will you boys either go back to bed or leave the house so I can continue with my beauty sleep."
Father, who has the reputation of being able to sleep through anything, remained asleep. Kara, on the other hand, was wide awake and suddenly appeared fully dressed.
"What do you think you are doing'" I asked disdainfully. "If you think you are coming with us, think again."
"I may be the youngest and a girl, but that does not mean I should be left out. I am as much a part of this family as you."
She stood defiantly with her shoulders back, arms folded and her jaw pushed forward. "Now then, where are we going and what are we going to do'"
"We are going nowhere and we are doing nothing," I responded, laying great emphasis on the word 'we'. "You are important to this family and mother needs you to help her when father awakens. There is nothing you can do to help us, in fact, you will slow us down. When I think you can be of help I will include you."
"Oh, we are haughty today, aren't we'"
"That's a big word for a little girl," I teased childishly.
"I hate being a girl. It's not fair." Kara stomped her foot, grunted emphatically, and returned to her bed area.
It was still dark outside and we made our way cautiously to the barn. I will admit to some nervousness knowing that twelve Norman corpses awaited our arrival. Upon later reflection I considered my feelings strange for, after all, what can corpses do other than just lay there' I suppose it is the same reason why most people are reluctant to walk through a cemetery at night. We made sure the horses heard us coming for, after all, there were sixteen squeezed into a small area.
"What man of you, having a hundred sheep, if he loses one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness, and go after the one which is lost until he finds it' And when he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing"