Light and Dark

During the middle 1800s in the southern United States of America, black people were forced into slavery due to the belief of white people having superiority over them. Not all white people felt this was right, however. This story is about a young slave named Anna and the friendship she develops with her new master's son, Jacob. The two look out for each other, and learn the value of true loyalty, especially when one of them is put to the ultimate test.


5. Introductions

Griselda leads me into the manor. It had appeared to be large and majestic from afar, when I first arrived. Now, however, it is clear to me that it needs a new coat of paint and washing. "Does no one tend to the outside?" I ask.

Griselda raises her head, trying to look at whatever I see. "No, I'm afraid. Shame that Master James can't afford any paint. Seems like a waste to let the old place fall to shambles." She shrugs. "But, I guess that's the way things are, huh?" She chuckles to herself.

Inside, Griselda leads me to the dining room. "Here, the family eats their supper." We continue upstairs. "Now, we'll see all of the bedrooms." I nod. Griselda is very specific when it comes to which room is Master Jacob's and which is the bedroom of the older masters. "Master James gets really upset by slaves going into rooms that they shouldn't. Always remember which room to enter." I nod, again.

We go back downstairs. "You ready to meet Mistress Caroline and her son?"

I take a deep breath. "Yes." Griselda takes me into the sitting room. There, fanning herself, sits the lovely Mistress Caroline. Sitting in a chair opposite her, Master Jacobs considers making a move in a very intense board game that they play. I do not know what it is or how it is played, but I can see that he has made a terrible mistake. Mistress Caroline can also see this, but she pretends to make a worse mistake, and they are tied, again.

"Mistress Caroline?" Griselda whispers. The mistress ceases her silent fit of amusement, for her son has just ruined any chances of winning. She finishes him off and stands to listen to Griselda's announcement. "This is Anna." Griselda gestures as if presenting me.

Mistress Caroline studies my face. She barely takes in what I am capable of doing physically and instead focuses on looking directly and deeply into my eyes. I try not to blink, an unspoken conversation passing between us. I had never had a good oppurtunity to really look at Mistress Caroline, but now I see how beautiful she really is. Her porcelain skin, her golden hair, and her eyes - her gorgeous blue eyes - make me feel as if everything is going to be okay. She smiles and I can't help but do the same. "Hello, Anna. It is nice to meet you." She extends her hand and I take it. "This is my son, Jacob." Mistress Caroline releases and beckons for her son to stand.

Jacob is not very tall and quite scrawny. Assuming that he is a year or two older than me at most, he still has a long way to go before becoming the man that his father appears to be. Jacob nods at me as a sort of greeting, but looks to his mother before I can return the gesture. "May I go to Allan's house? His father is away and he said that we are free to go anywhere around the plantation."

Mistress Caroline's smile falters for a moment, replaced by hesistance. "Well, I do not think that Mrs. Volam will want two-"

"Please, Mother," Jacob begs. I can see that he rarely has an oppurtunity to explore adventurous places with this friend of his. "I promise that I will be back in time for dinner, and Allan's cook always makes more than enough lunch for an army."

Mistress Caroline sighs, before nodding her head. "I suppose that you could go over there for a few hours..."

"Yes!" Jacob exclaimes, jumping into the air before landing and hugging his mother. "Thank you so much! I promise that you will not regret it." He kisses her cheek and runs out the door and across the field to the Volam plantation before Mistress Caroline can change her mind. She sighs. Then, she turns to me.

"Now, I shall show you what your daily duties are, Anna." Mistress Caroline faces Griselda. "As for you, I have a pile of laundry that is in dire need of washing."

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