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Kidd followed Daniel into the training grounds and looked around stunned. He had loved the ponds and wanted to go find Page and show her them. Dan had insisted in bringing him here first. Kidd was glad he listened. This looked just like the training grounds he had seen on a TV program back at the bunker.

‘Cool right?’ Dan asked grinning. Kidd nodded his agreement. ‘Look, Sargent Farley has a class starting. Let’s go watch.’ Kidd followed Dan to the other side of the training yard. There were sixteen boys lined up and standing at attention. All of them looked older than he did and they wore leather armor with helmets. A man was pacing before them lecturing them about the rippers and the best way to kill them. Kidd thought he was over dramatizing it a little. He was talking about sword techniques and finding weak spots. Those he had killed himself up close, were so brittle, a single blow with a blunt object would kill them. The boy than noticed something and frowned to Dan.

‘Why aren’t there any girls in the class?’ He asked. Before Dan could answer, the man Farley yelled.

‘Who dares talk during my class?’ He glared at the two.

‘Sorry Sargent Farley.’ Dan said as the man approached them. ‘Kidd is new here and I thought he would be interested in seeing some of the training we do.’ Farley peered at Kidd close, and then nodded.

‘You’re one of those traders that showed up yesterday.’ He said ‘Your mother gave me a good deal on a few books.’ He looked Kidd over. ‘You certainly are big enough and look strong. I imagine traveling outside you picked up some useful self defense skills.’ He motioned to the pile of extra armor and a rack of weapons. ‘Go on and put some armor on and we will see what you are made of.’

Dan helped him put the armor on explaining the straps. It was a little heavy, but sat comfortably on him. Kidd looked to the weapons rack and frowned at the swords. Besides the sword rack however, was a rack full of other weapons. Kidd smiled seeing a club at the end. Farley laughed when he picked it up.

‘We are training to kill rippers boy.’ He chuckled. ‘Not beat snakes in the fields.’ Kidd shrugged not changing his choice. He was comfortable with this weapon. When Martin tried to convince him to use a gun, Page had intervened. She told Kidd never to let anyone talk him into fighting with something he was not comfortable with. It would just get him killed. Farley shrugged. ‘Rodgers, step into the ring.’

A boy around Kidd’s age armed with a sword step into a small wooden ring. Kidd did as well and was surprised the boy attacked him with no warning. Kidd dodged the swing and swung his club getting the boy square in the ribs putting a halt to the fight.

‘Step out Rodgers.’ Farley said and looked to Kidd impressed. ‘Very nice indeed. You have some excellent instincts. Snipe, into the ring.’ The next boy was a little bigger than Kidd. As soon as he was past the wooden barrier, the boy attacked. Again, Kidd dodged. This boy was faster than the last and it took Kidd time to find his weakness. Moving like his mother taught him, Kidd came in fast and low tripping up the boy sending him sprawling onto the ground. Before he could get up, Kidd put the club to his head taping lightly. ‘Excellent. You are fast my boy. Come out here.’ Kidd left the ring and joined the others. ‘What was it you asked Daniel?’ Kidd shrugged.

‘I just noticed you had no girls in your class.’ He said frowning confused. ‘I wondered why not.’ Farley let out a deep laugh shaking his head.

‘Girls make weak fighters boy.’ Farley said and Kidd frowned seeing several of the boys give each other sideways looks. ‘It is best to leave the fighting up to the men.’ The Sargent thumped his own chest and grinned. ‘Let the girls stay home to make babies.’ The response annoyed Kidd and he could not stop his scowl.

‘My mom is a girl.’ He said defensive. ‘She is a strong and fast fighter.’ That stopped the man’s laughter and his eyes narrowed in annoyance. Kidd had seen that look before. This man was not used to people questioning him. He did not care. No one was going to call his mother weak.

‘Look here you impertinent little waif,’ he said straightening ‘Girls will always make poor fighters. They will always be weaker than men. Women do not hold the mental capacity to learn or implement war tactics let alone learn how to use a weapon. Every male in the history of the world ever taught how to fight by a female, is a weak and lacking fighter.’ Kidd shook his head.

‘Then two of your students were beaten by a weak and lacking fighter.’ Kidd said defiant ‘My momma trained me how to protect myself.’

‘Why you smart mouth little,’ Farley snarled raising his fist to strike him. The man suddenly vanished however. Kidd blinked confused and a sharp scream drew his attention to the right.

Page stood, face twisted in rage, pinning Farley to the wall with the man’s arm twisted high behind his back. She used her free hand to press his face hard into the stonewall before leaning forward.

‘Can you hear me?’ She snarled.

‘Yes’ Farley whimpered standing on his tiptoes to try to relieve the pressure in his shoulder. Kidd knew it would not work.

‘Good.’ Page said ‘You listen close and take every word I say as gospel. That child you were about to hit is my son. That boy is the reason I crawl from bed every morning and take breath. He is my meaning of life. If you ever go near him again, I will break your fucking arm. You see him, and you run in the opposite direction. Understood?’ Farley was whimpering and did not answer. Page jacked his arm higher and he screamed. ‘I asked you a question!’ she snapped.

‘Understood!’ The Sargent squealed. Page snarled at him, and then let him go. He dropped to the ground and she glared at him as he slowly got to his feet and limped away cradling his arm. Page turned to Kidd worried.

‘You okay?’ she asked and he nodded.

‘I’m okay mom.’ He replied going to her and hugging her. He knew this was the only way to calm her down when she got this mad. Page let out a sigh and he could almost feel the anger drain from her.

‘That was so cool.’ Rodger said excited and several of the boys agreed. ‘I knew that crap Farley said about girls was wrong. My aunt was a cop in Detroit. She was scary strong and no one messed with her.’ Kidd let Page go and looked to the boys grinning.

‘I tried to warn him girls could fight.’ He said and the boys nodded.

‘Is that what happened?’ Martha asked joining them. Kidd told the two everything. Page rolled her eyes and smiled down to him and Dan.

‘Well since I am such a weak and terrible fighter,’ she said amused ‘why don’t we go check out that archery range and Daniel here can show me just how good he has gotten.’

‘He likes to be called Dan.’ Kidd told her and Page smiled.

‘Okay, Dan then.’ She said and motioned to the range.

 

Page giggled amused as the boys from the training class stared in slack jawed astonishment as Kidd and Dan both fired hitting the red center of the targets. She was impressed with how well Kidd did with the long bow. The boy’s natural talent was shining through with the weapon. Dan had advanced a great deal as well and she could not wait to see his new compound bow he had told her about.

‘You shoot mom.’ Kidd urged

‘Page doesn't shoot long bows.’ Dan said. Page just smiled and pick up one of the other bows on the rack. She tested the draw and found it too easy to pull. After checking two others, she found a good one. Before Page could fire, Helena and Steve joined them looking annoyed. Page set the bow down not wanting to look threatening. She had a feeling she knew what this was about.

‘Page,’ Helena said ‘you gave me your world you would harm none of my people.’ Page nodded her agreement.

‘I gave my word, so long as no one harmed us.’  Page stated. ‘This is about Farley?’

‘Of course it is.’ Steve said annoyed. ‘You dislocated his shoulder, and messed up his wrist.’ Before Page could explained, the boys all came forward and defended her. Martha threw in what she had witnessed as well. Helena shook her head annoyed.

‘He told me you attacked him with no provocation.’ She said frustrated. ‘I had no idea he taught that kind of rubbish.’ She looked to the boys. ‘You should have reported it to someone.’

‘It’s our first class with him.’ Jerry said ‘I was going to tell my dad when I got home.’ Helena nodded and sighed leaning against the fence.

‘Now what are we going to do?’ Farley was the only one other than Tucker and Martha with experience outside the walls.’

‘Not true.’ Martha said. ‘Tilly was out there for a while. I have no fighting experience, but she does. If we work together, we could teach the kids enough not to get killed their first time out.’

‘Mom can walk in ripper territory.’ Kidd said with pride. ‘She is good at killing them.’ Page smiled to the boy.

‘I thought we agreed we were on vacation little man?’ She teased.

‘You’re not staying anyway.’ Helena said sounding disappointed ‘We never would have asked you.’ She looked to Martha. ‘You said you would never want to go back outside. Trainers escort their students out into the wild for their graduation test.’

‘Since Page and Kidd arrived,’ Martha said frowning. ‘I have thought it over a lot. Just the looks on the people’s faces when they saw what Page and Kidd pulled out of their carts. We have security here, but we are lacking in basic needs. I want to help train the next generation so that we can thrive here.’

‘Well,’ Steve said amused. ‘If Tilly agrees, then I think we have our new trainers.’

Page was frowning at what Martha had said. She had thought these people had it made here. They had food shelter and security, but her friend had been right. Those at the trading village had very few modern items to trade and most trades were one sided in her and Kidd’s favor.

‘Helen,’ Page started ‘Can we talk in privet for a moment?’ Helena opened her mouth to answer but Farley walked up to them glaring at Page. His left arm was in a sling strapped tight to his body.

‘Well?’ He demanded ‘What are you going to do about this impertinent woman?’

‘Nothing.’ Steve snapped. ‘You failed to inform us that you were going to strike her son. You know it is against the law to start fights with traders or guest.’

‘You are also fired as a trainer.’ Helena added.

‘What?’ He asked shocked.

‘What did you think would happen when we found out that garbage you were teaching the kids about women being weak?’ Steve demanded.

‘History has proven women are weak and defenseless!’ Farley snapped outraged.

‘Really?’ Page chuckled. ‘Apparently your history and mine are different. Artemisia was one of the greatest naval commanders that helped Persia in the war against the Greeks. Even the Greeks respected her for her skill at commanding. Then there was Boudicca who gave the Roman army a hell of a run for their money. Then there is the obvious one, Joan of Arc. Should I go on?’ Page asked raising an eyebrow at the red faced man. ‘I can name more. That is just ancient times. There are hundreds of thousands more.’

‘Foolish girl!’ Farley snapped ‘You know nothing! He stuck his finger into her face as he yelled, ‘Women are weak and the lies you spew are dangerous! You only got the jump on me because my back was turned! You never would have,’

Page did not allow him to finish. If she hated anything more than an ass who thought men were better than women, it was an ass who stuck his finger in her face. She grabbed his hand and put into a powerful wristlock. Farley squealed in pain and again went up on his tippy toes.

‘Now,’ Page said calmly. ‘We were face to face, and I am using only one hand. Do we agree that it was a fair attack, and if you had any skill what so ever you could have stopped me from attacking you?’ Farley was too busy hyperventilating to answer. Page let a little pressure off his wrist. ‘Please answer.’

‘Yes.’

‘Yes what?’ Page demanded

‘It was fair!’ He yelled.

‘Good. Now I believe I told you to stay the hell away from my son or I would break your arm.’ Page growled. ‘Yet here you are with my son less than five feet away from us.’

‘Please,’ Farley whispered and the sharp smell of urine assaulted Page’s nose. She scowled annoyed.

‘I will not break your arm Farley,’ she assured the man and released him pushing him away from her. He lay on the ground cradling his hand to his chest. ‘You keep in mind next time you try to sprout your narrow minded ideas about women, that my parents were both Marines. My mother, who was a decorated Lieutenant, taught me how to brake a person’s arm from their finger to their shoulder. The world as we knew it is over. An injury like that is a slow and painful death sentence.’ She glared at him again. ‘Come near my son again, and I will show you.’ He scrambled to his feet and ran from the training yard. She looked to the boys. ‘And that is how you stand up to a bully.’

‘You made him pee himself.’ Kidd giggled and Dan snickered. Page looked to Helena who was frowning.

‘Sorry,’ Page said not really feeling sorry. ‘he needed a reality check before he gets himself killed. Helena nodded but still frowned to her.

‘Would you really of done it?’ She asked ‘Break his arm like that?’

‘Naw,’ Page chuckled. ‘I would need two hands for that.’ Helena flinched and Martha laughed.

‘Relax,’ Martha chuckled. ‘She is just joking.’ Page nodded and looked to Helena.

‘About that privet chat?’ She asked.

‘I am going.’ Steve insisted and Page just shrugged.


Submitted: January 17, 2016

© Copyright 2021 CJones. All rights reserved.

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