Whale Blood
I buried my face into my sleeve, the water splashing against the side of the boat dampening the hide of my parka. The swollen waters of the arctic was vast and turbulent. The sharp glaciers in the water jutting out from below, threatening to jab the bottom of our seal skin umiak. My face was numb from the bitter cold, that each lash from the wind felt no more than a gentle pulse. The palms of my hands were slick from perspiration, the webbing of my hand was sweaty though my fingers were cold. Even buried in my caribou mittens I could feel the cold seeping through the fur where my hands rested on the bow.
I could hear my father’s deep voice murmuring. “Amaqjuaq, we’ve got a whale.” Suddenly there was a shadow of a gigantic fish uprising. I cocked my head and tried to imitate my brother Amaqjuaq’s voice. “Yes, father I see it now.” My father gave a hearty laugh, “My old eyes have spotted it before your young ones. Perhaps your eyes are not as practiced as you think.” I bit my lip. What would Amaqjuaq say? Something cocky? Or respectful? My father seemed to wait for my answer. “I suppose my eyes not as big as yours,” I replied, imitating my brothers deeper voice. “Ah yes, I suppose my eyes are rather big.”
Suddenly a stream of water broke the surface. My father grabbed the harpoon. I winced. Must we kill the whale? He secured the thick rope binding with his bare hands. “Amaqjuaq, hold this end!” He tossed me a thick rope, though it was attached to the boat he wanted it to be secure. I sat on the rope and held it firmly with one of my mittened hands. The other gripping the side of our little umiak. Oh boy! My father took a careful look at the whale, then shot.

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