Maggie Blackbird

Romancing Canada's Indigenous People


Just as Billy lifted his head, Hoyt clocked René square in the jaw. René never flinched, even though what he’d tasted should’ve broken a bone because a crack had echoed through the air. They charged each other, both swinging.

Billy raced forward. Paul and Aaron seized each of his arms. He fought to wrench himself free, but they wrestled him to the ground.

Aaron sat on top of Billy. Billy’s chest heaved up and down. He attempted to buck his cousin off. Paul captured Billy’s ankles, which stopped him from kicking his way to freedom.

“Let me the fuck go,” Billy shouted.

The sounds of cursing and flesh connecting with flesh carried to where Billy lay pinned. No matter which way he twisted and turned, he couldn’t throw his cousins off. They were Redskys, too, and might not be the size of Hoyt, but they were as heavy and as tall as Billy.

Finally, he managed to squirm enough over to witness what was going down. To Billy’s astonishment, Hoyt was staggering backward after taking another punch from René. Blood covered his brother’s face. Half his jacket was off. When he received another solid hit to his face, his big body trembled. He dropped to his knees.

“Stay down.” René’s words carried a splatter of warning. “Stay the fuck down.” Blood leaked from his nose. A welt covered his right eye.

“Fuck you.” The words Hoyt let loose carried his bloody spit. He sprang forward and locked himself around René’s knees. “No faggot is taking me.” Heavy breaths filled his voice, as if he fought for air.

Having his knees gripped sent René tumbling to the ground. The two wrestled back and forth while Billy continued to try to wrench himself free.

“Even drunk you can bust him up good.” This came from Aaron, who also reeked of booze

“You can waste him, man. He’s nothing but a fag.” Paul kept a tight lock on Billy’s ankles.

The fists kept flying. Hoyt was on his back and struggling to get up.

From out of nowhere, a loud bang almost broke Billy’s eardrums.

“Holy motherfucker!”

Billy had no idea who’d cursed.

Hoyt shoved a slumped René off him. He bolted to his feet, yelling, “Let’s go. Let’s go. Now.” He half staggered and half ran for the truck.

Billy was freed from the death grip. His cousins chased after Hoyt. Without looking anywhere else, his heart standing still, Billy scrambled to where René lay curled on the ground. Blood stained the mess of snow and gravel beneath him.

“J-Jesus!” Teeth clacking, Billy leaned down. He rolled René over. A wail of disbelief screeched from his throat.