22: Mother’s daughter

They crashed through the branches, splintering wood breaking the drop, until a lucky bed of leaves cushioned the impact of the ground. The quartet were lucky, the hillside was broken into steps, no amount of foliage could have broken the the fall to the bottom. They were fortunate enough to have hit a ledge at the halfway mark.

Blake rolled, hugging Madison tightly to her womb, the mother’s body the only protection she could offer. Breathless, she unfurled the angel beneath her. Please, please…

Madison’s clear blue eyes shone up at her. They nodded to each other and Blake kissed her. She could almost feel a tear of relief damp her blank eyes. They were lucky – bruised, wounded, bleeding, but lucky. Neri, less so.

The island girl landed entwined within the full weight of Massif. The crash had not winded him enough, nor the drop curbed his fury. Instead, the momentary terror of near death only heightened his humiliation. His machete clattered to the ground, but he didn’t need it, his mighty paws would be enough.

Massif roared and grabbed Neri’s neck with both hands and squeezed tight.  He would throttle the anger from himself. Anger for the many snubs, the rejection from this island beauty he’d known since childhood, the insults he’d perceived over the years for his slow wit and lumbering bulk. It was not fair, he’d show her his real strength and that would be the last thing she’d know.

Blake patted Madison on the head to stay back as she picked herself up. Another man beating another woman. Not on her watch.

“Let. Her. Go.” Be clear, be swift. Blake threw herself at the dark giant. As gym toned as she was her weight was too slight to put a dent in Massif’s violent ardour. She still had her nails though, what was left of them after the last day’s battering.

Blake wrapped herself around his head and dug her claws into his face, scratching towards his eyes, tearing at his still sore nose. The giant roared again, released his grip on Neri and lurched back, throwing the alien to the ground, but now ready to give her his full attention.

He slammed his fist straight down into Blake’s face before she could move to her feet. The blow smashed her skull into the earth. Not enough. Again he raised his fist up and slammed it down. Blood gargled from the alien. Still not enough. Invaders must die.

Behind them Madison watched, her blue eyes soaking in the horror. Neri choking and spluttering, unable to rise to help. Her mother being pummelled by the screaming giant, blood soaking his fist with each blow.

No. What would her mother do? Madison looked down and saw the machete at her feet. Suddenly, everything was clear, she just knew. She picked up the giant knife, heavy in her small hands.

She screamed and ran full pelt at the man, machete raised high above her head. She didn’t have the strength, but she had speed. Massif started up at the curdling yell and his eyes bulged in horror. The blonde angel was now an angel of death.

Madison swung the blade with all her might at the giant’s head, the weapon flying out of her tender hands, but it was still enough. A blow swung by a full grown man would have decapitated Massif, a lurching swing from an 8 year old girl was still enough to slice his face open and scare the living shit from him.

Massif leapt back, nose ruptured yet again, reeling from the surprise of this fresh faced assault. He staggered back screaming, forgetting the narrowness of the ledge they’d dropped onto. He walked himself backwards straight off the edge, transfixed by the terrifying blank eyed stare of his prepubescent assailant. That horror engulfed him every inch of the way down to the rocky bottom of the gully.

Madison stood over the edge of the parapet. She had saved her mother, she had watched the man fall. She did not feel anger, she did not feel remorse, nor happiness save for the base relief of being alive. They had survived, ready to go on.

In that cold blank-eyed stare a simple truth was revealed. She really was her mother’s daughter.

TO BE CONTINUED

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