Sins of the Fathers
The tale of Meunchbek Van Der Haag
Born in Marienburg.
Eldest of three siblings. Brother Christiaan, sister Johanna ‘Hannie’.
Grandfather a successful merchant sea captain.
Father inherits the family business.
Father, having spent many years at sea, has become a prolofic gambler.
Encounters a strange, masked merchant while in port in L’Anguille. Sells the father a ‘lucky’ deck of cards that always deal a good hand to their owner.
Father wins many games with the cards and amasses even more wealth.
But the cards betray him in one fateful, high stakes game.
Loses family fortune. Business collapses and driven into the ground until only one dilapidated ship left.
Father grows more depressed as debts grow. Takes to his cups heavily. Becomes a violent drunk. Beats their mother black and blue, often forcing himself upon her. Takes a belt to meunchbek at the least provocation.
Until one night, when meunchbek is 15 years old, he is awoken by raised voices and sobbing. His father is attempting to sell Hannie, just 5 years old, to two vile looking men. His mother receives a punch to her face for her protestations. She collapses heavily to the floor while the men look on laughing. Hannie’s crying wakes her baby brother as one of the men strokes her face with a grubby finger, handing a dirty pouch of coins to her father.
Unable to bear it any longer, Meunchbek quickly pulled on his tattered clothes and scrambled hastily from the loft to rescue his sister.
“How much for that one?” the other man asked Meunchbek’s father, leering at the young boy who had appeared at the bottom of the steps.
“That one? You can take that annoying bastard for free” his father slurred, drawing cackles laughter from the two men.
“Take your hands off my sister” the young man demanded, but his wavering voice betrayed his fear.
“And why would he do that” the leering man sneered mockingly, “she’s almost as tasty lookin’ as you my boy” he said, advancing towards the fearful Meunchbek. The other men laughed.
With a sudden outburst of rage, born of desperation, Meunchbek pulled his fish scaling knife from his tunic pocket and rammed the jagged blade into the man’s inner thigh. He ripped the blade free with a sickening squelch, plunging it again and again into the man’s crotch, thick strings of dark blood splaying across the wooden floor. The man stared wide eyed at his ruined crotch, stunned at the ferocity of the child’s attack. With a pitiful whimper he collapsed sideways before sliding down against the wall, blood still oozing from the viscous wounds.
“Why you little…” roared Meunchbek’s father as he made a grab for the boy. But Muenchbek was ducked away, flailing the knife wildly about him. His father shrieked and fell backwards, bright crimson blood spraying across Meunchbek and the ceiling. His mother, sprawled against an overturned table began to scream, her hysterical wailing matching that of the babe awakened upstairs.
Meunchbek stared at the bloodied knife in his hand through tear streaked eyes,the shock of it all paralysing him momentarily. But that was all the first man needed. He grabbed the boy by the throat,lifting him from the floor and pinning him forcibly against the wall.