Latest Post: The Bad Seed
Immin Grada turned away from the others to snatch a rest. His toil was alive in the cramp of his muscles, and he closed his eyes, stretching his back.
‘Looks like he’s worn out, lads. She won’t want such a weakling, eh?’
Immin almost turned, but could think of no retort. That much Bello speaks true. Instead, he wiped a dusty sleeve across his brow and stared out over the fields towards the distant barrow mound, grim in the darkening of the late afternoon. Soon. When my courage overtakes my cowardice. I swear it will be soon.
‘So much the better for my chances, eh Grada? I reckon she’s not known a real man up close.’
And now Immin did turn. There he was, Bello standing and smirking at him. More a boy than a man, he was a good couple of years younger than Immin, but already thought himself cock o’ the walk. The others in the work gang were looking and waiting as if the dusk wasn’t drawing nigh. ‘We have work to finish, Bello. All of us.’
Immin picked up his scythe and continued to cut through the corn. Bello just stood there, and Immin felt the lad’s grin get wider still.
‘Don’t get me wrong, Immin. Bronwen is a fine lass, and I’d be as keen on her as you, so I would. It’s just that old witch of a grandmother she lives with. I don’t know how you stomach knowing that’s what the lass will age into.’
Squaring up to Bello, Immin gripped the boy’s tunic. ‘Don’t speak of either of them again, do you hear?’ Stay away from Bronwen.
Knocking Immin away, the arrogant muck sprout raised his fist. ‘You are a loser, Grada. Always were, always will be. She won’t want you.’
Bello was not ready for Immin’s kick, which caught him on the thigh. As he stumbled, his muttered curses became a roar. Fists whirled, connecting with face, chest, stomach. Then the two of them were grappling among the corn stalks, the others cheering them on.
When it was over, they stood bloodied and bruised, the fight gone from them both. Immin ignored the sneers of the other lads and focused only on Bello. He will jeer no more. At least not today.
He wiped blood from his mouth and caught sight of the barrow mound again. Now it was no more than a dark shape in the distance, and as he watched it, Immin’s good sense faded with the light. That is how I will stop the jeers for good and all. And make Bronwen mine.
Anthologia is available here.
Books set in the world of Eald Cearo
© 2012 Lee Donoghue