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Dream in Chains

The peak of Mount Jorkand rose victoriously and proud- purple against the pale sky. Despite the cool air in the mountains, below was feverishly humid. Thickets of a green city encaved the bloody bodies strewn like gems over the crawling vines. The Congo housed many treasures, and in the time of war, the chest was filled laboriously.

Thrown in the crust of Jyake Beach, a jail protruded like an iron thumb. Of all the things to be built in chaos, a cage always locked the problems. Over a hundred prisoners could be stacked inside. One man- preferably a white navigator whose ship sunk at anchor- cared for the captured men. Inside a dark cell, with hazy sun pouring through a crack in the ceiling, laid two dirty captives. Unshaven and sweaty, they longed to be back on the ocean.

From time to time, the manager’s daughter would walk by to retrieve linens that she washed in the ocean and laid on the rocks to crisp. Her fresh skin and clean dress made her a Goddess to the starving men. Each strut ripped like a muscle at the desire building inside of Nehemiah. He was sure she was the most beautiful thing.

“Why don’t you talk to her?” Jeered his mate, Kurt. “Maybe she’ll get you out of here.”

Nehemiah stood up, bones poking through his skin. The sweat lubricated the sores dotted over his chest. “She’s the manager’s daughter. I don’t think she’s looked at me once for the past two months.” Rain began to trickle from the deteriorated brick roof. A pan caught the water. He wished for a moment that the rain would fill the cell and he could sail out of there, even though the crack was only large enough for a raven. Although they were locked in the cell, chains bound them to the wall. Link after link braided and coiled from the gray tomb to their shrinking wrists. It resonated off the walls like cheap jewelry when they breathed or moved their hands to pray.

If the war ended between the natives and the intruders, they would be free to go. Uncertainty of which side people were fighting led to the imprisonment. Oddly, the slaves brought along with the intruders were safe from the jail. Perhaps it was because they already lacked freedom. Or perhaps it was because they simply weren’t worth it.

Nehemiah found more pain looking at the blonde haired nymph than he did in the hunger destroying his body. She was something he could never have. He wanted her to look back at him. A year ago he would have won her over in an instant; a time when he lived in France and had veal steaks for dinner and mint sorbet to compliment the feast.

“I can’t tell her my name,” he yelled, intensity filled the air like a storm, and insanity leaked from his eyes, “because she is beautiful.” The chains ceased to rattle. Rain dropped onto his forehead, mixing with the sweat. No one would escape. The war wasn’t going to end. Vertical lines kept people from getting where they wanted to be. Iron illusions skew the visions of the trapped. For some, it’s dreaming in chains that ignite their heart.



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