A Vengeful Heart Sees No Love

By Alisa Joaquin


Peter Caine sat up in bed from the nightmare that ravaged his mind. Sweat formed on his brow and his breath came in gasps as he tried to take in air as if he was suffocating. The nightmare still plagued him after three years. Would it never end?

Over and over the image of his father seen from an opening came to him. Debris rained down on Peter and then he saw no more. Words of the traitorous Master Dao days earlier ran through the corridors of his mind . . .

"You and your father will not usurp my place. I am the weapons master. Your father's views are those of a coward. The world is a cruel place and only the strong will survive."

"My father says that to survive one must be like water."

"Water is weak boy. Your father will soon learn what power really is. I shall be Master of this temple then all will learn my ways. There will be no more coddling. All those who are weak will pay the price."

The cruelty in Master Dao's eyes frightened Peter.

"I . . . I need to get to class," Peter stammered.

"Remember my words boy. There is no love for your father. He will fall."

Peter bit back a retort, knowing that if he were to say something, the weapon's master would once again strike him as he had when Caine had been away for several days. When Caine returned Peter had sported a very deep bruise across a portion of his face. When his father questioned him, Peter replied that it had happened in class, but had not given a complete explanation. Caine did not question him further on the subject. Peter had never told his father that Master Dao had threatened his father's life and his if Peter was to say anything. It was the first time that Peter had held anything back from his father and the beginning of Peter's troubling behavior . . .

When Peter returned from his memories, the one memory of the vow that he had made at his father's gravesite remained. He had not fulfilled that vow as promised. He had not been able to because Master Ping Hai had sent him away. Peter was not able to go with the rest of the surviving children. Most had to be returned to their parents, some still living in China. It was a bitter and sad day for all. Now he was fostered to a man with two daughters and a blind wife. He still did not understand why Paul Blaisdell cared about him, why he took him in. Maybe it was just pity that the man felt, pity for the angry orphaned boy who could never be what his real father wanted.

The more Peter thought about his situation, the more he realized that perhaps this was the best thing that could happen to him. He was out of the orphanage and perhaps he now had a chance to fulfill a vow that he should have fulfilled three years ago. It would not be an easy thing to accomplish. The men who shot and killed his friends and his sifus had been masked. Only Master Dao showed his face, fighting his father for supremacy of the temple, killing all those he thought were weak.

Peter recalled hearing one of the other monks talking about how he witnessed Caine kicking Master Dao hard into a rack of candles. Dao's face had been burned, but he had not seen what had happened after that. An explosion had ensued. The monk had been hit from behind by falling debris. He had not seen what had happened to Peter's father. By the time he had come to, the monk was outside and the temple was ablaze with fire. He did not even remember how he had escaped.

Those memories filled his every being and the hate for what Master Dao had done rose to the surface. He had buried that hate at the orphanage, but now it rose in him once again fighting for supremacy, just as Master Dao had fought his father for the temple. His task would be daunting, but Peter had to find a way to fulfill that vow, even if it would mean leaving the Blaisdell home for good.

Continues with Part 1