By: Maggie Crim
I remember it as though it was yesterday. I was young, a child, living in a small village on the edge of the continent of Saru-Fei. I would go down to the beach with my brothers and little sister from early morning to mid-day, we’d waste the day away with collecting shells and crawfish for Mother. When we came home, we’d give our ‘spoils’ to our beloved mother, who had to raise four children on her own. She taught us how to fish, make jewelry out of our shells, and many other things.
Our Uncle, would teach us mathematics and really anything else we showed interest in, including self defense. He’d come around in the afternoon, and stay for dinner. Our Uncle had no wife, nor did he have children, so he was technically a second parental figure.
But our village was very supersticious, or as Uncle would say ‘stupid-sticious’(<- my Dad says this every once and a while.). Our beloved Mother, living alone at the seaside with no husband and four children, was a recurring target of the villages’ schemes. Our home, on it’s lonesome at the seaside, was ravaged by storms just as often, so the villagers’ all thought Mother had done something to anger a god of sea or storms.
When my siblings and I heard it for the first time, I was seven. I was the youngest boy, the twins being nine already, and Persephone was only four. I remember being very angry then, and blacking out. When I came to, Mother and Persephone were by me, and my brothers, Perceus and Jason were cleaning up the yard from a sudden storm. Mother had this look on her face, frightened, but she hid it as carefully as she could. Later, I came to find out why she pulled such a face, why she looked so frightened when I asked what hadwhen happened.
I still remember those words, I hated them, but then I realized that no matter how much I came to hate them, they would never change.
“Killian. My beautiful baby boy. I still remember when I had you, it was during a storm, the sky was as dark as I had never seen it.” She looked at me, as if seeking reassurance, “Your grandmother, my mother, was there, and she told me something I would never forget.”
“Mother? What did she say? Why do you look so sad? I don’t like it when Mother is sad.” My youth-heavy voice filled the room, and something clawed at my heart. I later learned what that feeling was, pain. It has other words too, sorrow, grief, light heartbreak.
My Mother’s eyes glimmered with unshed tears. Her pale hand clutched to her chest, her light blond hair flowing in an almost halo-like shape around her shoulders.
“Persephone, go get your brothers, and go to Uncle’s home, understand?” She turned from me completely, leaving my questions unanswered to address my little sister.
“Yes Moma,” she waddled out to find the twins, and apparently visit our Uncle.
“Mother? Why don’t you answer? Why did you send Brother Percy, Brother Jason, and Sister Persephone to Uncle’s home?” My voice was clouded with confusion, and I heard a faint rumble of thunder in the distance not far from the cottage.
“My son. My gorgeous little boy, what my mother said that night, the night you were born… was strange, to say the least. She… she said you were the Stormbringer, a Harbinger of Death and Rebirth. Like your Father.” Now, until then, I had never heard of my Father, and I was too little when Persephone was conceived to remember who had visited Mother that year. The twins knew, I could see it in their eyes, but they would never tell me anything on the matter, they’d close up like a clam protecting it’s pearls.
“My Father?” My eyes seek hers, the honey-brown color of her eyes no longer veiled with tears. I heard the sky open up above us, it seemed to sob, and wailing winds hollered through the stone and wood walls of what has been my home since before I was born.
“Yes. You remind me of him sometimes. You have never looked like me, my child. That is not a bad thing, so do not cry. Your father was a very handsome man, very kind and a gentleman to all.” She admonished me, and held my face gently in her hands. Her hands are still as soft as the drizzle of rain, despite the hard work she commits herself to.
“What does this have to do with what Grandmama said?” I knew my Grandmother very briefly, the memory is still rather bitter-sweet, as she died the winter before last. I remember the looks she’d give me, before she seemed to shake herself then smile adoringly.
She doted on Persephone and I before she passed, but she loved us all till her death. She was beautiful, like an older version of Mother, who I would still testify to this day, that Mother got more beautiful as the years went on.
“Do you remember when we went to the village with your brothers, when Persephone was at the beach with Uncle Illios?” Her words shocked me, to ask about that day.
‘Of course I remember,’ I thought to myself, ‘those fools nearly hurt Mother that day.’ Mother had left us in the bookshop to get a few herbs for the coming winter. A few hours later, Mother had still not returned, and the bookshop was closing., the nice lady who ran the shop was Mrs. Freedmin. Mr. Freedmin went out to look for Mother about an hour before Mrs. Freedmin had to close the shop.
We found Mother before we found Mr. Freedmin. Her herbs were scattered across the street and she laid in a pool of her own blood. Mrs. Freedmin tried to cover our eyes, but the damage was already done, Mrs. Freedmin screamed for her husband, who came running when he heard.
They took her into the cottage behind their bookshop and called for the doctor. Mother ended up having a concussion, major blood loss, a punctured lung, and broken ribs. No one on the island was safe from the storm that night.
“Was that… because of me? That storm that night?” I felt my tears renew themselves, Mother took me in her arms and cradled me, like I was an infant. I didn’t mind, it was what I needed most.
“Yes, my little Storm.” The dam of tears behind my eyes broke.
The thunderstorm raged heavy that night.