A Slave

A historical fiction set in 1712 in The Slave Trade. Joseph is a young Englishman who is chosen to travel to Africa to trade goods for living people, who will eventually be used as slaves in America. He is happy to be there- it has always been his dream to travel to lands as foreign as this. He has no negative feelings about taking humans to forced labor in a distant place, until he meets Cela, a nineteen year old negro. This is the story of how a life with everything he could ever want clashes with the one with everything taken away from.

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3. Cela

I was told to look around the place, don't wander too far, my father said. A chance to explore. So I did. I walked to the village, where the people were still looking at me with fear & distaste. I couldn't help but feel nervousness creeping up within me. Within moments they were yelling abuse at me.

"Vi monstro! Vi monstro! You monster!"

I was less than 20 meters away from them, & their arms were gestured in aggressive ways. Not all of them, though. The girl I saw before had an older woman's hand on, as if holding her back, even though she didn't seem to hate me like the others. But all of their expressions had something in common that told me something: they were all scared...no, terrified! Of me!

Suddenly they were all quiet. Expectant & waiting for me to do something. Their fear was obvious now. It was then that I remembered what Mother once told me: 'First impressions are everything!'

"Hello everybody, my name is Joseph." I said with a confidence that scared me.

There were anxious murmurs throughout the crowd. The girl looked me in the eye. I saw that her's were hopeful.

"I really do like your country. It is very different to ...where I have come from." I had a feeling that telling them that I was English would frighten them even more. If that was possible.

 

I realized then that all my words were aimed at the young woman. A wave of awkwardness crashed into me, sending my legs trembling. The girl stepped forward. Suddenly all eyes were on her, including mine.

 

"Hello Joseph," she said with a hint of an accent. "My name is Cela. I will be going on your boat to ameri...Ameriko." She spoke that word as if it didn't belong in her mouth. Her chin wobbled. Then she bowed stiffly & strained a smile. I couldn't help but smile back.

The crowd cheered. A few minutes later, I was in her home with her mother, eating plain bread as they tearfully explained what would happen to Cela.

 

"I have never seen you before, you are new to the business?" asked her mother, who didn't wait for a reply. "Your people...they take us...they bring us different food & holy Bibles...& they take us afterwards. They...what you call...trade food & Bibles for people." she explained between sobs. "They take our people...to land called Ameriko. We do not know what you do to them...& thhis time they want my Cela." She burst into tears. All that time Cela was silent still, & I saw that she herself was on the verge of crying. Without thinking I stood & hugged Cela tightly. I wrapped my arms around her as she sobbed into my shoulder. I knew very well what would happen to her when she gets to America, but they did not. But soon, they will. Just then, there was a loud shout from one of my father's men.

 

"We are ready now! All appointed slaves come to the loading point! Whoever does not come will be taken by force!"

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