To Be A Slave
Author's note: This was actually a school project, a five page paper, that turned into so much more.
Somewhere In The World, Hopefully Still 1786Oh... My head hurts. I reach up and there's a nice size lump. When I touch it the bump throbs like I's been hit with a fryin' pan. Which... I have. My eyes fly open and I remember. The pain in my head triples and I's cryin' again. Mandiki's gone, Bala ain't here no more, and Mama, oh Mama, Mama you's gone, you's gone, gone, gone, and you ain't comin' back! You left me all by myself and I ain't got nobody, nobody at all! I don't realize I'm cryin' out loud 'till I hear a voice.
“Hush, child,” it says. “We all got problems, but there's not a single thing cryin' and screamin's gonna do for it.” I look 'round, tryin' to find the voice’s owner. I realize it's dark out, the stars up ova'head blinkin' and dancin'. I used to like the stars, but tonight they mock me. They all got each other up there in the heavens, and me? Well I only got me. They's showin' me that no matter how many people I got near me I'm still completely alone. I choke on more tears. Them stars remind me so much of Mama right now.
I try to stand but I can't. My hands is tied in front of me and there's somethin' 'round my neck. I twist tryin' to get at it.
“Don't squirm honey. You'll make it worse.” I snap my head to the left. There's a body there, a woman in her early thirties, I'd think. I look to my right and there's another body, a boy this time, maybe Mandiki's age. I pick my head up high as I can and there're bodies as far as I can see, which ain't very far given my position.
“It's a shameful sight, isn't it sweetie?” the woman asks. “The whites, they don't have any pity. That boy you see,” she says nodding at the one on my right. I nod in return. “He wasn't walkin' fast enough. They whipped him good. The blood's still wet on his back. And there's a girl here, maybe four. They ripped her right out of her Mama's arms.” That puts volume back to my voice.
“They hit my Mama. And then they- they took me. And I don't know where my sister is. Or B-bala. Where's Bala? I d-don't even know if they're alive or... n-n-not,” and again I'm cryin'! I hate myself for it. Hold your tongue, girl! I tell myself. So I do, bitin' down hard 'till I taste the blood and I cry out.
“Now what good will that do you, honey? Come, my name's Jenny, Aunt Jenny to you. I'll be your mama tonight.” And hard as it is with one foot tied to lord knows what to keep us from a runnin' that woman scoots up next to me, puttin' her her arms near mine. Even though my head's poundin' with pain and questions I turn t'wards her and pretend she really is my beautiful Mama. And strangely enough, I sleep soundly under those mockin' stars, dancin' in the night sky until the early rays of sunlight chase them away.