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.

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1. Trading

A bell. A bell and cries. Cries and frustration. They will not budge, even as their new master whips them. They are forced to leave their families, their home, their life. Why must it be so? If only for the blessing of white skin and not this hideous darkness that covers my body. Yes, I understand. I may not know my own age(although I believe to be around thirteen years old), but I do know that this has been and will be my life forever.

As their master, Master James, finally loads my sister, Christa, into the cart, tears silently run down my cheeks. She is barely seven. I learned to count early, thanks to Cook, and I was so excited about Christa's birth that I counted every day that she walked on this planet. Christa is a mute, and immensely frightened by the roughness with which she is tossed into the crate. I thank God when Master James does not nail a lid to the crate, but instead allows a  skylight to remain. He begins to round to the carriage when he spots me. I stand tall, so as not to seem a frail and young child. Master James approaches and examines me, analyzing a pondering thought unknown to all but him.

Master James turns to my master, Master Randolph. "I would like to trade one of my slaves for another," he demands. Master Randolph, previously wearing a smirk on his face, frowns dangerously.

"What is the meaning of this? You wish to trade? I have given you my best slaves!" Master Randolph shouts with anger.

"I understand this, Sir. However, I have noticed that all but one are fit to work my land." I know who he speaks of, although he is partially wrong. Master Randolph has not given his best slaves. John, Will, and Henry all remain. They are the strongest and most enduring of every slave on Master Randolph's land. "What if I trade the mute," he says as he turns to me and points, "for her?"

I freeze in fear. Although I had begged and pleaded with Master Randolph many times about sending me as a replacement for Christa, until now I had never expected to leave, especially considering how I am needed for my hard work and ability to last for long periods of time without breaks. At this, Master Randolph grows even more rigid. All eyes are focused sharply on the two men, waiting to see if Master Randolph responds. Slowly, he utters the word that will change everything: yes.

Inside me, a combined sense of dread and ecstasy twist and turn. My sister will stay with Master Randolph, although not too kind, a very patient and forgiving man. Yet, I do not wish to leave with this foul man with a glimmer of mischief in his eyes. I can tell that he will work us all harder than any of us have ever imagined. If not for Christa, I would ask Master Randolph to reconsider his sentence, but I promised my parents before they were sold to separate owners that I would guard her with my life.

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