Afterwards, Rimbah left her lying there, next to the body of her husband. She lay there in her torn clothes making no move to cover herself, or to stop the bleeding from her nose where he’d struck her. At first, she’d fought, beating at him with her fists, elbows and knees. Then when they were as close as it was possible for a man and woman to be, she’d spat at him, tried to bite him and claw his eyes out.
Rimbah, though, knew his rights. He had killed her husband; so now she belonged to him, at least for this night. She had to learn, though, like all his other wives, that a woman never refused a warrior. He’d hit her enough to stop her fighting, but that was all. After all, he’d worked hard in the short brutal battle, killing several men and some of their sons before they’d won the women, and the other goods and chattels.
There was a baby crying somewhere in the hut. Rimbah’s hand went to his dagger, but the killing mood had left him now. They would leave the baby for the wolves, the wild dogs and the other scavengers that would come once the raiding party moved on, taking the captured women, the cattle and the other prizes with them.
Rimbah yawned, not noticing the woman had moved, not noticing anything until the sharp cooking knife slashed a wide red slash across his yawning throat. He turned, eyes wide in wonder, already dying, to see the woman smiling as he fell into the still hot embers of her cooking fire, next to the body of her husband.