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At Long Last

She tip-toed into the dark room with her eyes casted downwards. “Don’t wake the beast” runs through her head frantically every few seconds as she throws sweaty, vomited covered clothes off the floor into her basket. As she returns to the basement as quickly as she can, she hears a loud gurgling noise coming from the room. Her walk becomes a slight jog. The less time she is upstairs, the lower the possibility of encountering Him. He never comes into the basement. At least that is what all the others said. But they too are gone now. She never knew where they all went. Every day more went missing until it was just her and Him. They were all taken in the night. She thought that once she was all alone that she too would disappear into the night. However the night she was all alone and should be her turn to go, she went to bed like normal, and woke up in her small, filthy bed. She did her chores like normal, but something was amiss. She should have been taken.
She’s called into the dining hall. Once there, she discovers He is there too.”He is never in the same room with us-me, unless it is to punish” she thinks frantically. She had never needed to be punished bad enough to warrant Him to be present before. She goes over her days to see if she could spot what she did wrong, but came up with nothing. He doesn’t speak. He doesn’t even acknowledge her existence. She turns to run out of the door but stops and thinks “I have nowhere to go.” Panic hits her. She doesn’t know what to expect. They never told her what to do if something like this occurred. “Does she stand there until he acknowledges her presence? Does she make some type of noise to signal she is there?” She quickly eliminates the second option. Of course he knew she was there. He knew where everyone was.
She studies him as she waits. She doesn’t see what all the others have described. He doesn’t seem to be a monster able to do horrible things that the others claimed Him to do. She sees a broken man waiting for something to change. When He finally looks up, she sees sorrow in His eyes.
He gestures for her to sit in one of the expensive looking chairs, even though it is not allowed and her clothes would leave stains on the chair and she would have to clean it up later. She doesn’t disobey him though. She doesn’t want to wake the beast she heard about so often. As she sits He studies her like she is this new painting waiting to be unleashed upon the world with its beauty. She squirms in her seat but once she realizes this she stops and stays as still as she can.
Finally, he says to her, “You are to leave at dawn”. His voice is soft, not rough like she expected. “Your family is on another plantation; however they are to be by the river for your arrival. You are to leave this place. You will be going north where many of the others have gone.”
She was astonished. She hadn’t seen her family in five years. Though she was happy to see her them, she had to ask, “What type of work will I be doing at the new plantation, master?”
He looked shock. “You misunderstand. You will not be going to a plantation unless that is where you and your family wish to find work. You and your family are free from forced servitude. You will be going north because you will not be judged as you would be here in the south. I hope you find peace and happiness wherever you settle… Oh, and I’m not your master.” She didn’t know how to respond, but she had to ask “Why?”
He smiled a sad smile at her and said “I’m not the monster.”
She was shocked once again; however this time she thanked him profusely and made her exit from the dining hall.
The next morning at dawn, He led her toward where her family was waiting for her. As they walked she turned to Him and asked “If you’re not the monster, then who is and who are you?”
He responded by saying “Don’t worry little one about who the monster is. Leave that to me. As about whom I am, that doesn’t matter. All you need to know is that your future is a free one.” She looked at him confused but then she shrugged, turned and walked toward her new life.
The son of the beast smiled and whispered “At long last” as He watched the last of his father’s slaves walk towards her new found freedom.



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