“Grab that machete for me”

The younger man lifted the crook of his arm from his eyes, peeking past the bright sunlight to the older man standing near him.


“Grab the damn machete, and get yourself up. We gotta get down to the beach as soon as. Parker is calling the Herd out.”

“What? Why is Parker all fired up?”

The older man stepped over the younger man’s frame and took the machete out of the flax it rested in. The urgency in his voice increased.

“There’s Ockers coming ashore down Tahi Bay way. The Herd is assembling down the valley to push them back. So get your useless carcass up, grab your sling, and, rattle, your, dags boy.”

He glanced around, stepped over the stunned look, leaned into the shed and looked inside.

“Where’s my buckler?”

“Hanging up on the porch up at the house. Should I send the girls up to the Pa?”

“Do it when you get the buckler. Where’s that stone?”

The younger man stood quickly, scampered into the shed he’d been napping on, and with minimal clanking brought out a small whetstone. Handing it to the older man, he took off at a jog up the long, slight hill to a stone cottage.

The older man wet the stone in a rain barrel before propping it on a small table and sharpening the machete in long, quick strokes.  Lifting the blade to the sunlight the edge glimmered, flickering under the slight shaking of his hands.

“Been a long time since Ockers came here…” he muttered.

“What’s that?” the younger man asked. He carried a small wooden buckler, a sling, a bag for stones, a helmet.

“Nothing boy, just wondering how those boats came so far down the coast without those bastards up in the Naki eating them.”

The younger man guffawed as he passed over the buckler and helmet. He slung the shepherds bag over this chest and shoulders, “We can get river stones on the way.”

The older man stopped, glanced up to see the women sweeping up a couple of small children, “Let’s go” he said quietly, and waved.

Be careful the words wafted on the breeze as he and the younger man ran through the bush, Kill them, kill them all dear ones.