TITLE: The Saint and the Smith
GENRE: Historical Fiction with strong elements of fantasy
Most claimed that I was a fair shadow of my willowy mother. So alike, apart from our eyes. Mine were the same odd silver as Grandmother’s. Mother’s were dark like that of a doe. Perhaps if she had been cursed with eyes like mine, the men would not bully her.
Men like Harold the baker.
In the rutted road stretching between my uncle’s farm and the village, Harold, cheeks ale-red and fists in knots, shouted into Mother’s upturned face. His voice was lightning in my ears.
Kneeling in the cracked earth, I concealed myself behind our cart, peeking between the stalks of wheat which we had bundled like sickly babes.
“I won’t pay it, woman!” Harold lurched closer to Mother, his spittle wetting the smooth skin of her forehead. “Your brother asks too much for his meager harvest! Do you want me to starve?” He bent to level his head to hers. “I know you call me ‘beast’ behind my back.” The hulking man swayed, bumped into the object of his discontent, and straightened himself, swearing like a horned devil. His ale breath rode the late summer air to my hiding place.
“No, I would never…” Mother held her hands, palms up, to him.
He blinked hard and focused his stare on her, his barrel chest rising and falling, faster and faster, just as it did when he beat his wife bloody in front of his young son not two days past. “Give. Me. My. Wheat.”