His father died one overcast morning. The heavy gray silence of fog had muffled his father's cries as effectively as a wet blanket on a fire. When Prissy got it in her mind to kick she moved like lightning. Maybe she'd caught him unaware. Maybe he'd been too slow from a long night of drinking. Or maybe he'd seen it as the best thing to ever happen, Behrin hadn't known or cared.
He'd found him out in the barn with his head stove in like a rotted pumpkin. His eyes had been rolled up into his head until the only whites had shown.
"Well now, look at you, you spook-eyed shit." Behrin had whispered, filled with a savage joy. He had dug the grave with more alacrity then he'd every applied to anything before and the only regret he had was he should have been the one to do the honors instead of Prissy.
His mother had followed soon after and once Behrin had shoveled the last bit of dirt in, he'd left and never looked back. He was grateful to them though. He had finally figured it out. They had hated him because they knew he wasn't one of them; he was destined for better things.
They lacked the ability to understand. This was a revelation that he instantly recognised to be the definition of his destiny. Everywhere he went, people stared at his white eyes and white hair but that was all right: They lacked the ability to understand.
In some towns they asked him to leave because they thought he was a premonition of death and he'd simply left because: They lacked the ability to understand. It was a simple jump to apply this philosophy to comparing those around him to his horse or to the pigs that rooted in the mud alongside the roads. And, he soon found, that people, like pigs, were just as easily rounded up and trotted off to market.
Once he realized this, the pattern of his life started down the path it should have taken twenty-eight years before but he dismissed this as nothing more than spilled milk. What mattered was now. He was one of the most feared of warlords and known for his dealings in high quality flesh. His money had bought him the finest steel-plated leathers, the best horses, and the most loyal of men. Yet if he had to name the greatest joy in his life it would be none of those.
It would be that morning in the barn with dank fog the color of bone. How he'd walked in there. His steps loud and wet on the morning grass. Fog had a way of intensifying everything. It wrapped sound and scent in a strong box that, when opened, overwhelmed and enveloped every memory he had of that day. The unique scent of sweet hay, Prissy's flesh, blood, and, somewhere off in the brambles,the wild blaze of roses.
Yes,he'd been scared. (hell,he'd only been twelve) His fear had magnified with each step. As he had drawn closer he'd been nothing but fear: all gibbering, pants-wetting, heart-pounding fear. But he'd kept walking. Because beneath the fear that raced crazily just below his blanched skin was a calmer expression called expectation.
He'd looked at his father for a long time. The left side of his head was dented in a perfect impression of one of Prissy's hooves and something that looked like his mother's oatmeal had spilled out of one of the creases. Blood had puddled on the ground around his father's ears with some sort of white fluid that Behrin had found particularly fascinating. (Got snot running out his ears!). This had struck him as wildly funny.
At first, he'd thought Prissy had kicked his father in the head so hard that the little brown colors in his eyes had been knocked out. He'd glanced cautiously around, wondering if he could find them, but,on closer inspection, he discovered they were just rolled up in his head.
This was pretty fascinating too and he could have poked and prodded all day but he had chores to do. He'd reluctantly turned away and gone over to feed Prissy before the realization swept over him that he didn't have to do his chores. He didn't have to do anything any more.
He decided that, right then and there, the spook-eyed, lily-white peckerwood had died as well and would be thrown in the hole along with his father. A wild exhilaration had filled him. It had flowed up and out, unfettered, and drenched with possibility. He remembered laughing like a boy toeing the line at the top of the world and knowing nothing could ever be any better.
"So,whose the peckerwood now?" He secretly thought and the words were sweet as his eyes swept the tavern like two empty spheres. He mentally touted up the expensive steel swords and the aloof look of money wanting to be spent and separated these from the browsers and just plain curious. The sale would be one of his most profitable, judging from the look of things.
He decided to just enjoy the atmosphere and not engage in his usual verbal stroking of what he had to sell. His herd spoke for itself. He made a mental note to send one of his men back to Bushman's barn to check the chains one last time. He couldn't afford to have his money escape.