The Long Winter- Bad news, Good news and more bad news.

by Aug 18, 2004Stories

Rein now went up to the caves every morning to find out news. He saw many of his friends there, on the same errand. All of them were well, apart from the youngest and smallest in their group of friends who had died quite early on. All of Rein’s friends had similar situations to him. They were all concerned for Maina, and not altogether comforting.
“She is working herself too hard Rein. Why does she do so much? She will end up killing herself.”
These words stuck in Rein’s brain. He did not want to think about them but they rang true. Maina did look exhausted. He could not help but worry about her.
However, worries of Maina, food and warmth all went out of Rein’s head when he went down to the caves and recieved a big shock. As he arrived he saw a procession coming up to the caves. A big crpwd surrounded it. In the middle there was a body. It was Hama, the youngest son of the king.
Rein slipped into the crowd beside Bendal, one of his friends.
“What is going on? How did he die?” asked Rein quietly.
“He went out last night, against his father’s will. He perished from the cold.” Bendal replied in an equally quiet voice.
The two watched in silence as the body passed them on a stretcher. Rein could see Helm standing on his own with a strange look on his face. As his son’s body passed him he looked away.
Rein went back to Maina. He told her everything he had seen. Maina looked upset.
“Poor Helm. He must feel wretched, losing his only other son. Haleth dieing was a great blow to him. Poor Hama, he should have listened to his father.”
Maina didn’t seem as upset as she should have been. Or was it something else? Was it possible that Maina’s voice had regained some hope in it?
Maina smiled at his puzzled face.
“While you were up at the caves I looked through Mother and Father’s bags. I found this.”
She pointed to a small bundle Rein hadn’t noticed on the floor. Rein opened it.
It was food!
“The cold has kept them edible. We should be able to ration them and still get what we need. There’s also something else.” Maina trailed off.
Rein looked at her. Something else? Maybe luck had come at last.
“Mother’s getting better.”
It was the first time Maina had looked happy for an age. Once Rein had got over the rush of emotions that flooded his body after hearing that he looked over at his mother. She opened her eyes.
“Rein. Come herre my boy.” She said.
Rein knelt and she put her motherly arm around him. Then she held the other arm for Maina.
“Where are Kaina and Taina? And where is my husband?” She asked.
Maina looked upset again.
“Mother. He fell against the enemy.” She answered brokenly.
Their mother was silent for a moment.
“And you two have tended us on your own?”
Maina nodded.
Rein moved closer to his mother.
“Maina has not slept in ages.” He told her.
Maina scowled at him but said nothing.
“Oh, my children.” Their mother’s voice was full of love and admiration for her children. There was a pause.
“Bring Taina and Kaina.”
Rein went over to Taina and brought her over to his mother. Maina let out a choked sob.
“What is it?” Rein asked anxiously.
“Kaina…….she is…”
Rein did not need Maina to finish that sentence, he could guess the last word.
“Dead?” he said after a pause.
Maina nodded.


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