Because Of Me

This is a historical fiction about slavery. Warning: there is dark and brutal things in this story. It teaches about the horror that was black slavery.

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5. Stirrings

Two months later, I sit inside my slave cabin alone, waiting for Katrine. For the last month, I’ve been getting morning sickness, cramping, and my breasts feel bloated. And because of my suspicions, I went to the plantation’s doctor. I was right. I already told Andre, but I want Katrine to be the second person I tell. Despite what she’s going to say, and what she’s going to throw.

I wait for a few more minutes before Katrine walks through our wooden door.

“Hi.” she says, laying down on her bed. “Oh, I have had a day! And I do NOT mean a good one. That jerk, Dan-”

“I’m pregnant.” I interrupt. I just want to get her meltdown over with as fast as possible. I know that she’s going to be angry because of an… incident that happened about ten months ago. One of our dorm mates, Abigail, got pregnant, and she was fine until a couple of months later, when she found out that it was Dan’s kid. She was screaming at Abigail that she had made the biggest mistake of her life. Abigail was crying so hard. This is because Dan is a slave from our plantation that hits on every over-the-shoulder boulder holder he sees. It’s pretty ridiculous. I agree with Katrine that Dan is bad, (or in her words, “slicker than owl shit”) but she shouldn’t scream at someone like that. Especially someone whose hormones are out of whack.

“-Is hitting on me again! I mean seriously, he has a child and is doing this? I swear, I will- … Wait what?” she says, realizing I had said something.

“I- I’m pregnant.” I say, scared at the undoubtable fact that she’s going to go crazy. I wouldn’t have told her, but my soon-to-be-bulging stomach will betray me. I notice she’s holding back tears. I thought that she would yell, but I’m getting a completely different reaction.

“Oh my god!” she says, unable to control to control herself any longer. She pulls me close and we sob together with happiness and fear.

“You- you know, I heard about a- a trick that helps you figure out what sex your- your- your baby will be.” she sputters, and on the word baby she starts crying again.

“That- that sounds good.” we cry for a few more minutes before wiping our tears away. “So, what’s the trick?”

“Well, you take a ring, tie some string around it and dangle it above your belly-button while you lay on your back.” she says while sniffing.

“Okay, let’s try it.”

Katrine runs over to the cabin next to us to get a ring from July. She’s a slave whose husband carves lots of things from wood with a small knife he stole. Katrine comes back with a little wooden ring with little flowers and hearts carved into the outer side.

“Okay, lay down on your back and pull up your shirt.” she says, biting her lip. “Before we do this, I have to know. What sex do you want it to be?”

“Well I hadn’t really thought about it. But… I kinda want it to be a girl.”

“Hm.” says Katrine, thinking about my response. “Then all I have to say is that if it turns out to be a boy after this test, I will be teasing you about it for the rest of your life.”

“Ugh, you are so mean!” I say, but I am smiling.

“Hey, wait a second. Who is the father? I swear, if it’s Dan…” she says, her voice rising.

“No! Why would I ever fall for that? It’s… Well, it’s… it’s Andre.” I say, more than a little afraid that she’ll be mad.

“Andre? Really? Well, it’s your own death. I mean, you guys have liked each other for a while. But, well… Nevermind.”

“What? What is it?”

“I dunno, it’s just, I never saw him as a committed type.”

“I already talked to him! He was scared, but he’s going to be here with me the whole way!” I say, angry at her for insulting Andre.

“Okay then, where is he now?”

“He’s thinking things over. He already say he would stay and be the father, but he wants to decide how to do that.” I say.

“Listen, I don’t think he’s going to leave you alone like that good-for-nothing, low-life, piece of-”

“Katrine!”

“Oh, sorry. But as I was saying… I don’t think he’s going to leave you. But I’m just saying… that there’s… a possibility… that… he might.” She says cautiously, trying to not get me riled up.

“Well, I know there’s a possibility. But I also know that he loves me.” I say.

“Wait, did he seriously tell you that?” Katrine says, genuinely surprised.

“Yes, he did.” I say, smiling at her proudly.

“OH MY GOD! YOU’RE GONNA GET MARRIED! AND HAVE MORE KIDS! AND-”

“What? No-no-no-no-no-no-no-no-NO. That is NOT going to happen!” I say, suddenly scared of what is to come.

“Why not?”

“Because… Just because.”

“But he loves you.”

“Yeah.”

“And you love him.”

“I guess so.”

“Then why not?” Her face shows signs of confusion. But she should know why.

“Because I couldn’t do that to them! I can’t even sleep anymore, Katrine! I haven’t closed my eyes in weeks! And when I am able to sleep, I wake all of you in our cabin up with my screaming! How will my baby be able to sleep? And how will I be able to give them a normal life with the terror I have every day?”

“Normal li- NORMAL LIFE? We don’t have a normal life, Gemma, and we never will. We are slaves to evil men that do even more evil things to us at night. I am forced every day to work in fields against my will, beaten and whipped if I make a single mistake! This is not normal, Gemma! This is hell! And in my opinion, having a family again would help you get over your regrets!”

I sit with my head bowed, guilty for hurting her.

“You know what I think? I think that the real reason you’re afraid of being the Andre is because you’re afraid of having someone that loves you! You got your family killed, yes. But you need to LET! IT! GO!” She yells. I jump up in anger at the arrogance of what she has told me.

“Let it go? Let it- let it go?” I say, shaking with anger. “I can’t let it go, Katrine! I got my village burned down, almost everyone there killed! And the ones that did survive are now working on some plantation, slaving away because I was too stupid to give self sacrifice. The men told me Katrine! They said right to my face that we were to be slaves, and that it was going to SUCK! I knew exactly what was ahead of us, and I LET IT HAPPEN! I just- I just-” I start crying. All of the energy inside me has drained out, and I just want to fall asleep forever. The weight from the guilt of what I’ve done has become too heavy for me to handle. And I can’t do it anymore.

“It’s okay.” she says, holding me in her arms.

“I just- can’t- do this- any- more!” I say, sobbing.

“I know.”

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