Wild

A girl on the edge. Running. Running for her life. Running for her freedom. Can she escape the shackles of society to truly be wild?

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5. Workers

Travellers are beginning to arrive now, pouring in from the jungle that borders our camp. They mill around, surveying the goods, deciding trades. Although the caravans are not open for trading yet, there are people haggling, demanding. And leering. At me, and at the other workers that scurry around their feet.

One man in particular catches my eye. He is at the caravan next door to my own, enquiring after a leather hide that would make a very nice coat. He must be from one of the colder camps, or he would have no need of that. But leather is expensive, and you must have a very valuable item to be able to trade for it.

However, this traveller looks worn. All his clothes are frayed and he himself looks in need of a good wash. His lank hair hangs in matted strands, caked with mud, dust, and blood from his toils over the years, so much so that it is impossible to tell what colour his hair is any more. Whichever camp he comes from must not have the wealth to worry about hygiene. So then, how will he trade for such expensive leather?

The answer soon materialises. He pulls two workers from behind his back and pushes them towards the caravan, so that the seller might get a better look at them. The seller peers from under her shawl at the two, a wicked glint surfacing in her eyes. She looks them over, scrutinising them, bending over to peer in their faces. She is very picky about who she takes, normally taking hours to check every fold and crease in their body, making sure that they are in perfect condition.

Suddenly, she straightens, grabs the leather hide and chucks it at the traveller still standing there. He starts to object, but she makes a shooing gesture. When he does not leave immediately, she reveals a knife from up her sleeve and throws it with a practiced arm. It sails towards the traveller, spinning through the air, heading directly for his heart.

At the last second, the man ducks out the way and, with a sigh of discontent, strides off with the leather in his hands. With the threat out of the way, the seller emerges from the caravan and grabs the new workers by the shoulders. She turns them towards her, cackling madly, then drags them away towards the workers caravan. There their numbers' will be recorded, their chains' strapped on, then they will be taken to their new work here in the wastelands. Just like all the others were.

As they are dragged past me, one stumbles. A boy, about my age. Not that I know what age that is anymore. I reach out to help him up and earn a slash across my face for my troubles. The seller hisses at me, spittle flying from her decaying teeth, before proceeding to pull the boy through the dirt and mud, scratching his legs and arms with the sharp stones that litter the road.

He will have scars from this. I know, because I also have scars. Scars that show our punishments. Scars that show our work.

Scars that show the nature of our souls.

 

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