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I was born in 1835... Or so I think. My mama had told me that when I was a little over five. She's gone now, though. She got sold a few weeks ago, and now I'm bound to be sold at the next slave auction. If I'm not, Mr. Jefferys will be angry again. Probably give me another beating, but that's not unusual. Being a clumsy slave is nearly a death sentence. They only still want you around so they can make money of you in auction. Their greed is kinda a good thing, in the long run. At least I have my life and who knows, maybe I'll escape.
In the morning, Mr. Jeffreys'll come and gather up me and the rest of us younger slaves. Our ages go from ten to eighteen, and they'll make us look better to make more money. Tomorrow, I'll look a little older, but good for a slave.
The smell of eggs, bacon and biscuits woke up my taste buds and my eyes open. Breakfast was made for Mr. Jefferys' kids, but they're nice enough to save me some, usually. However, today I actually got a plate of my own. Mr. Jefferys says I have to be looking in good condition.
After breakfast is finished, I don't even have to help clean up today. I go get ready and dress nicer than usual for the auction.
Seven o'clock sharp and we're loaded onto the wagon. We're heading into the town. I've never been to the town in all my thirteen years. I expected it to be a nice and happy place, but when we arrive after a short, half-an-hour trip, I finally see the town.
Old and dusty, with mean-looking men everywhere, it's not the happy place I imagined. Vicious eyes looking at me from here and there. I decide to just look ahead and watch the sky roll by.
When we get to the auction house, I'm overwhelmed. Men screaming "Get off, you worthless slave!" and other hurtful names. I follow orders and go and take my place, standing by others of my kind. Their cold looks define their hardships. You never know what they've been through. A number of terrible things happen to us slaves.
A few white men, clean shaven and dressed fancily with their big hat wearing wives walk through and examine us. Touching and prodding. Picking their choice. Eventually, slaves go to their new masters one by one.
Suddenly, a younger man comes in. His looks make me suspicious. The way he holds his hand to his right hip makes me nervous. Then, it happened.
In an instant, the man had the auctioneer in hold by his neck, pointing a gun right at his head. A slave mother puts her only child she has left behind her and the men step forward, protecting us.
"Now, I don't want anyone hurt here. You're going to do what I say or you will not live to see the dusk," the tall, slender young man in the cowboy hat holding the auctioneer demanded.
"This trade isn't right," he pulls out a knife and trades the gun's place near the auctioneer's head with the sharp blade. He slightly cuts the man's neck, proving his place.
"You're going to let me have all of these people and you will not say a word about it. Understand?" the man's voice didn't even quiver. He had this planned.
The auctioneer nods out of sheer terror. The man releases and points the gun at the auctioneer.
"Don't kill me, please. I have kids at ho-" the man pulled the trigger, shooting the auctioneer in the right shoulder.
"Be quiet. Do not speak unless I tell you to. You understand me?" the man's voice is harsh.
As the auctioneer slowly loses consciousness, the intruder shakes him awake.
"Hey! Don't fall asleep!" his cold words wake the auctioneer.
"Your story is: You sold all the slaves, but someone came and stole the money and shot you. You got that?" the auctioneer nods slowly and drifts back into slumber.
The man in the cowboy hat stalked over to us.
"I'm taking you away from here. All of you. You'll make honest pay and have a free life. Follow me," at first, no one trusted the man's words to be true. How could we? Some of the men made silent gestures to one another and came to the decision to go ahead and follow the man.
All of this happened so fast. Suddenly, my freedom became a higher hope.
The man's name is Stephen Blake. I'd guess his age to be only twenty or so. He seems fairly young. Probably here to help out his father or something.
Mr. Blake chained us up, to make it look like we aren't free and piled all of us into a wagon. This was where my journey began.