- Vol. 01
- Chapter 03
"If you don't quit that noise I'm gonna go right ahead and shoot you!"
Daddy knew how to make us stop. He was always popping off his gun at a moment's notice. Shooting loud and haphazard into the thick of the forest. We lived pretty much in the middle of nowhere, miles and miles away from the nearest town.
There was a rickety train line that connected us to the rest of civilisation but even that was two miles by foot.
Sometimes we'd board the slow moving train to Hope and take in the small wonders of people living alongside each other. Where we were, it was just the three of us, and sometimes that was too many.
He had a temper, Daddy; but he also knew how to laugh. He could tease out a smile from me just by calling me by my nickname. He used to call me his Little Owl I had these big round glasses, I would have learnt to hate them if I wasn't so blind.
My brother was always trying to get on the better side of Daddy, setting traps and making fires and doing all the things expected of a man, while I would go about my daughterly duties, mostly burying dead animals I'd found on our land or drawing pictures in the dirt with sticks. I wasn't very helpful and truth be told I'm sure he was pissed at how unremarkable I was. I could sense a dark anger when we were sat round the kitchen table for dinner. Me, my brother Dante and I. Mom wasn’t there for long. She left one day and never thought to say goodbye. Even in our own back yard in the middle of our no man's land there were rumors.
Dante and I would come up with a different story every day about what happened to mom. At first we liked to think it was a terrible illness that had taken her from us, I'd imagine her searching for treatment in the bigger towns, meeting doctors and getting looked after by nurses with starched caps. Illness was preferable. Illness was something you caught, involuntarily.
Dante was often of the opinion that she got kidnapped or worse, got finished off by a bear. There were hundreds of ways to explain it. Daddy used to say her heart turned to ice then the rest of her just froze to death one day. And that was a possibility. Our deep Canadian winters would get so cold and white. Nothing but bleak mountains and trees heavy with snow.
Once I found an injured rabbit, lying stomach up and stiff-limbed with frost-matted fur. As lifeless as Daddy's gun was live.
I didn't realize, not for a long time, the real reason mom left. I suppose Dante and I both entertained the same silent thought when our head's met the pillow at night, when we heard Daddy outside shooting and shouting. Taken over by a demon with no face.