When Hawk Donalds was five years old, her mother died. Her death was a loud death, one that took place behind closed doors, and behind the stern gaze of Hawk's father's glacier eyes. Hawk was relegated to the rug by the fireplace and charged with playing quietly, and she did so, trying hard not to listen to the screams and the heavy thumping of boots, the calls for hot water. She wanted desperately to help, though with what she was not quite sure, but even then she knew she was too small. Too small to heat the water hanging in the fireplace. Too small to boil the bloody rags.
Her father had ordered the midwives to hide those rags when they carried them out so that Hawk wouldn't see, but she saw anyway. They spilled from the frantic women's arms, bright red and dangerous, just as her brother spilled from Hawk's mother that night. His screams pierced the cold winter air. The screams of Hawk's mother weakly subsided.
The midwives and the doctor left with quick apologies and quicker feet,