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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4. The Loading Point

I let go of Cela. Her mother stared at me.

"Slaves? What are slaves?"

I told her truthfully about them, how they are forced into physical labor, kept under poor conditions & work without pay. How they are used to endure the worst kinds of jobs & agonizing the most terrible, painful punishments if not done as told to.

"Sklavoj? We will be turned into sklavoj in Ameriko?" Cela looked horrified.

I nodded sadly. And at that point I had to turn away because I knew this was the last time that she & her mother would see each other. They hugged & held on to each other for an infinite amount of time. I heard their tragic cries above all else. I moved towards the door, for I could bear it no longer, until I heard the same sounds from each & every house in the village.

 

They were shackled & tied at the wrists. Men with whips made them bleed, each drop of blood staining the beige, dusty road red. There were fit men & sick men, fine women & pregnant women, & even children on the loading point. Cela was near to the back, shackled with an even younger girl. She looked at me with desperation but I could do nothing. Nothing but watch her & hundreds of others suffer. But I could only see the outward pain of these innocent people; their emotional torment must be torturous & more! How could I have ever thought that trading cheap goods with human beings a fair trade? I glared at my Father across the line, but he dismissed it. He was too busy whipping a heavily pregnant woman on board. I stared. How would a newborn infant survive in such a ship, with such crowded conditions?

The simple answer to that is: it won't.

 

There were so many slaves that it took over six hours to get them all on board. Some men rebelled & tried to break the shackles. But that was impossible, & all they gained was a hard whip between their shoulder blades.

I stayed by Cela's side all throughout. I had held one of her wrists for comfort, but tear after tear silently rolled down her cheeks. I whispered reassuring words in her ear, but we both knew that it would do no good. At one point she could stand it no longer.

"MOTHER! MOTHER, COME! HELP ME!"

"No!" I scolded her. But the whipman on the other side of her decided to deliver a major whip to her spine anyway. Cela gritted her teeth. Blood dribbled out of the cut & her eyes spilled over with tears. I watched her close her eyes & felt her fingers searching for mine. So I let go of her wrist & held her fingers instead. Finally it was her turn to go on board the ship. Father said to me,

"Let go of her, Joseph."

"No!" I retorted. "Where she goes, I go. Whatever conditions she will live in for the next 4 months, I will be there with her!"

"Let..." Father grabbed my wrist which was holding Cela's. "Go..." He tried to prise my fingers off her, but I kept them there. "Of..." Still I refused to let go. "Her!" He hit my wrist as hard as he could. Pain rattled my bones. I let go with shock & cushioned them between my thighs. Cela was pushed down into the base of the ship, taking the poor girl who was with her down into the darkness.

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