Note: this is a short story I wrote when I was 12. I was really into stories of slavery and heartbroken every time I read a story. I wrote this for a contest (but lost) but it is still a story that is close to me.(Because I wrote it when I was 12, it will have a LOT of mistakes. Please ignore those for the time being!)
~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~* "Rebecca, come here please." The young woman called gently to her daughter. The little girl ran to her mother, her arms stretched out, wrapping them around her mothers waist.
She looked up, her big brown eyes sparkling with excitement. "Yes?"
The woman sat down in her rocking chair, pulling her daughter into her lap. "I have a story for you."
The girls eyes grew. "Please tell me mother! I love stories!"
"I shall," she paused. "if you promise me something."
The girl nodded her head quickly.
"Promise me, that you will tell this story to your daughter." The mother touched her finger to the girls nose, bringing their faces slowly together.
"I promise." The girl made an X across her heart.
The mother nodded, leaning back as she began to rock slowly. The girl rest her head on her mothers shoulder, waiting for the story to begin.
Many years ago, a young girl lived with her parents on a large farm. They were slaves. Slaves to men who worked them from dawn till dusk. They never saw their master, but they knew he was a very unkind man.
Every day was the same. Rise before the sun, eat a small breakfast of dry bread, then hurry out to the fields. The little girl, we shall call her Samantha, worked as hard as many of the grown men. But on this day in particular, she worked harder then ever before.
“Girl! Over there!” A man ambled up to me, his fist tightening around his long leather whip, his teeth clenching together.
“Yes sir.” I nodded obediently and moved to the area he had been pointing to--a small cotton patch a few feet away.
“Hurry girl or you will feel this whip across your back.” He shoved the whip handle in my face and I quickened my pace as I passed.
I kneeled down next to the cotton stalk and began plucking the light, soft patches, dropping them into my basket as I went.
One woman, a few rows away from me, suddenly stood up.
“I must check on my baby!” she screamed as a man grabbed her by the arm.
“You won’t be doing anything.” He shoved her violently to the ground.
“But my baby! She is sick! I must check on her!” She screamed again, tears breaking through and pouring down her dirty cheeks.
“Silence!” The man ordered, raising his whip above his head. The woman raised her arms above her head, trying to protect herself. I quickly looked away, unable to watch what came next.
The crack of the whip rang through the air like thunder. A scream ringing through the tree’s as the leather was brought down on the woman’s back, slicing through the flesh, producing a flood of bright red blood. The woman fell to the ground, shaking as she began to sob uncontrollably.
“Now shut up and get to work or you’ll never see your child again!” The man shoved her into the dirt and stormed away.
I fought the tears that tried to push through. I had seen this happen many times, but each time it was just as painful.
Each day was like this. Screams rang through the air, whips cracking almost non stop. Women screamed, men flinched as they struggled to stay strong. Children threw fits as they were dragged from their parents, screaming and crying as they were slapped and shoved to the ground. It was a harsh life, but it was one with no escape.
During late afternoon, I was working next to my father. He was a strong man, never whipped once and my life. My mother had died giving birth to my younger brother--who is also gone--so my father was all I had left in life.
I grabbed a clump of cotton in my fist and yanked it from the plant, shoving it into my bag.
“Samantha dear,” he took my small hands in his large, rough hands. “you are being to rough, you will destroy the cotton before it can ever be used. Here, watch me.”
I watched closely as he took the cotton between his two finger and gave a gentle tug. The cotton popped off in one piece and was set gently in a bag.
“I’m sorry father,” I lowered my head. “I am just so tired today.”
He nodded. “I know, but we cannot stop or the consequences will be very hard.”
“I know.” I didn’t know. I had seen many occasions where people had been beaten, but not once had I ever been whipped. Fortunate as I was, I wondered how long I could go like that.
As the sun began to set, I could see the weariness growing in my fathers eyes.
“You!” A man hollered from the darkness. “work faster.”
I looked around, searching for the poor soul who would soon be met with a whip, but could not find them.
“Slave!” His voice boomed again. “I am speaking to you!”
Then it hit me, and an icy chill ran through my body. He was talking to my father. I shot a panicked look at him as he rose to his feet.
“Yes sir, I am going as fast as I can.” His voice was strong and brave.
I began to shake with fear as a large man emerged from the darkness.
“Then get to work!” He ordered.
“I am sire, there is no need to shout.” My father slowly began to sink to his knee’s.
The large man scowled, his eyes widening with hatred as he glared at my father. Suddenly, he raised the whip into the air, aiming for his mark.
“Father!” I screamed.
He looked around just as the whip was brought down. It cracked across his spine as he collapsed to the ground. Again, it was raised and brought down, each crack louder and harder then the last. My face was soon drenched in tears, my hands shaking as I reached out to my father.
“Samantha, no.” He turned his head to me, his eyes pleading with me to go.
“I can’t leave you father.” I cried even harder.
“Go, before you are in trouble too!”
The whip was brought down again as I slowly rose and turned, running away. I was half way across the field when I heard my father scream for the very first time.
I hid in my bed for the rest of the night, trembling and shaking, waiting for father to return to tuck me in, but he never did. Searching for him the next morning, I still did not find him. That was the last time I had seen my father, laying on the ground, covered in blood and being beaten to death.
Each day I now promised to work harder then ever before, to make my father proud. But one day came, and I had to break that promise. A new wagon was coming towards the farm from the distance. A white man and woman rode in the front, speaking kind words to a child who sat between them. I was shocked to see the child. He was the same color I was, and he was being treated kindly by a white man. This was a sight I had never seen.
“Guard!” The young man jumped from the wagon, handing the reins to the woman--who must have been his wife. “I am here to speak to Mr. Samuels.”
The guard nodded. “I shall tell him of your arrival.”
I knew the man must have been important, otherwise the guard would not treat him with such great respect.
I sat quietly, watching as the woman played with the boy. He laughed when she scooped him up, hugging him closely. Tears were brought to my eyes as I pictured how life may have been if my father, mother and brother were still alive. Maybe we could have lived a life like that. Full of love and laughter.
A few moments later, a tall man came walking towards the wagon. I knew it was our master, because he looked just how I always imagined him. Tall with light hair and skin as white as snow. Eyes full of hate, but masked with kindness when around other white men. As he approached, the woman in the wagon whispered something to the young boy, who quickly ducked into the back, almost as if he were hiding.
“Mr. Jamison! How wonderful to see you and your wife again!” he shot a smile towards the woman then back to the man. “Now how can I be of service to you on this fine day?”
“I am here for a girl,” Mr. Jamison replied, his eyes suddenly scanning the field. Ducking my head down, I continued working, the w hole time my ears tuned to the conversation.
“A girl you say?” Mr. Samuels looked towards me, then bounced to another young girl close by. “we have several of those who are very strong workers. Would you like to view them?
The man just nodded as the woman in the cart frowned. She was displeased with something.
“Guard!” Mr. Samuels yelled. “bring my five of our strongest girls!”
“Yes sir.” The guard nodded and started walking towards me. Before I knew what was happening, he was grabbing my arm and dragging me towards the wagon.
“This ones a very tough lil’beast. Though watch her tongue, cause she’ll snap when ya least ‘xpect.”
“Please gather the others.” Mr. Samuels shot Mr. Jamison a fake smile that made my stomach churn.
It wasn’t long before I was standing between four other girls. Each of them wearing torn and tattered clothing. One girl had dried blood across her arms, her face hard with years of work.
“Take your pick.” Then Mr. Samuels stepped back, allowing Mr. Jamison to evaluate us. I began to feel like a horse up for sale. Evaluated by it’s possible owner. The man smiled kindly as he walked past.
It was a few moments before he stopped and stepped back. “I’ve made my decision.”
“And which one shall it be?” Mr. Samuels scowled as he glanced at us.
My knee’s felt week when I realized he was pointing to me. “Me sir?” I asked softly.
“Shut up girl!” Mr. Samuels shouted.
I lowered my head in shame, my mouth tightened shut.
“Yes, her. She looks like she would work out just fine.” Mr. Jamison smiled softly.
“Very well. Girls, you may return to your work stations.”
I started to turn.
“Not you!” He snapped, grabbing my arm. “Stay put girl!”
I watched silently as money was exchanged between the two men, then two ropes were fastened to my wrists.
“Tie her to the back of the wagon. She can use to exercise.” Mr. Samuels smirked.
A guard grabbed the end of the rope, dragging me to the back of the wagon. The rough rope cut into my skin. I flinched from the pain, struggling to keep myself from crying.
“Good doing business with you Mr. Jamison! I look foreword to our next meeting!” Then he turned and walked away. I stood silently as Mr. Jamison loaded back into the wagon then gave a light tap to get the horses moving.
We traveled for only a short time. When we were out of sight of the large farm, the wagon stopped. Mr. Jamison jumped quickly from the front of the wagon and hurried towards me.
“What is your name child?” He asked softly as he began to remove the rope from my wrists.
“Samantha sir.” I replied.
“No need to call me sir, I am no master of yours.” He smiled. “Now get in the back. No sense having you walk the whole way, you’ll only tire yourself out.”
I stood there for a moment, unsure of what was being said. Was he being kind?
“Don’t worry, we won’t harm you.” He smiled again and held out his hand.
Cautiously, I set my hand in his and his grip tightened. I almost pulled back, then realized I was being lifted into the back of the wagon.
“Sleep child, you look exhausted.” Then he disappeared.
Leaning back into a thick blanket that sat in the wagon, I shut my eyes and drifted to sleep.
When I awoke, the wagon was stopped and a young boy was sitting next to me, his eyes staring at me and a large smile on his face.
“She’s awake Ma!” He exclaimed excitedly.
“Timothy, please don’t shout. You’ll frighten the poor girl!” The woman walked around to the back of the wagon. “Hello Samantha.” she smiled. “Did you have a good sleep?”
I just nodded.
“Take my hand, I’ll help you into the house.” She held out her hand to me and I took it. Slowly, I climbed from the wagon, stumbling when my feet were on solid ground.
“Easy,” she laughed. “we don’t need you hurting yourself on your first day here.”
I steadied myself then followed her up to the house, followed by Timothy.
When we got inside, I was stunned with the house. It was beautiful with doors everywhere. A few girls ran out of rooms to greet Mrs. Jamison. They all wore beautiful, handmade dresses. Their skin was clean and their hair brushed.
“Celia and Rachel. Please welcome Samantha into the family.”
“Hello.” They both greeted in perfect unison.
“Hi.” I stammered, looking down.
“Now Samantha, we need to get you cleaned up and out of those dirty clothes. Follow me.” Mrs. Jamison started walking down a long hall, and I followed right behind.
The entire day was spent cleaning myself and getting dressed. I was given a dress so elegant, I was sure I would faint from the shock of wearing it.
When we ate, there was so much food, I was completely stuffed when dinner was finished.
We were tucked to bed in soft blankets. The room was large and several girls slept in it with me. They talked softly for a short while after the lights were turned out, but I fell asleep almost right away.
It didn’t take long to learn that I was no longer a slave. Mr. and Mrs. Jamison told me many times I was now free. I could leave if I pleased, but they sincerely hoped I would stay. And I did.
I lived the rest of my young life with the Jamison’s. I attended school with the other children and loved my new freedom. Though the scars of my past were still painful, living out of slavery made it easier. I only wished my family could have experienced it with me.
The story ended and the Mother looked down at her daughter, her eyes welling with tears.
“Mama, why are you crying?” Rebecca looked up at her mother, her eyes wide with shock at her mothers tears.
“There is something else I should tell you, child.” She started.
“What is it?” The girl wrapped her arms around her mother.
“That girl, was me.” Samantha wrapped her arms around her daughter and buried her face in her hair, rocking as she cry softly in her daughters tight embrace.