HEYY GUYS :) So before I start this chapter; I just wanted to thank all of you. I hit 1k a few days ago and I’m so excited :3 I never thought my story would even get this far. It may not be much to some people, but I’m just greatful that I’ve gotten this much support and that people are reading.
Thank you for voting and commenting too. Thank youuuuu ahh. :)
Monday was Martin Luther King Jr Day. :D I’m Canadian, so we don’t celebrate it. BUT it’s still a very important day commemorating civil rights. Since this story sort of fits that theme, here’s a chapter dedication to MLK :)
Gunshots ring through the air.
“RUN, ALICE! RUN!” yells Tom. He lies there, a tangled mess of limbs stuck on the other side of the fence. They shot him, and he cannot cross. I hesitate for only second before I climb it and sprint through the trees, faster and faster, nothing but a blur of green. The branches tear at my face, clawing at me. The vines tangle round my limbs, slowly creeping up. They’re moving, trying to trip me like snakes. I keep running through the forest, until I see a yellow clearing. Wheat everywhere, high as a man, blocking my view of the other side. I take my chances and sprint through it.
I notice an eagle soars high above me, calling out as if to alert my pursuers of my name.
“Alice” the wind carries my name.
“Alice. You left me.”
“How could you Alice?”
“Thought you cared about me.”
“You’ll ruin my brother too. You’ll leave him, won’t you? You promised me.”
“Protect Isaac. I told you. But I guess you never cared about him until he saved your ass in the river, huh?”
“STOP!” I yell hopelessly as the voice surrounds me. My head is pouding like crazy
I can’t see where I’m going, so I only pray.
I stumble out of the growth to find I am in a clearing. A small house is in the distance, vaguely familiar.
“So, you came back didya? Fool.”
“Frederick?” I cry, “it can’t be...I’m not....”
I try and turn to run back, but someone sticks their hand out and stops me.
“Tom?” I sob
“You left me to die. Now you’re going to die too.” His eyes flash menacingly as he hands Frederick the knife.
The knife that got me out of Jackson Plantation. Tom holds my hands tight behind my back, and I notice a crowd of people have gathered around us.
They’re all laughing. Men, women, and children, jeering at me. Taunting me.
I notice my mother, my father, and my brother in the crowd.
“You’re going to die” they say, “you should’ve never left.”
“NO!” I scream, “NO! GET AWAY FROM ME!”
Frederick walks up to me slowly, twirling the knife between his fingers.
“I never did find you after all this time. It’s a pity. But you came to me. I’d like to thank you personally.”
He thrusts the knife towards me, but it never hits its mark.
Tom grabs me and starts shaking me violently. “ALICE! ALICE! WAKE UP!”
I look up to see Isaac staring at me worriedly. “It’s okay,” he hushes, “it was only a dream.”
“More like a nightmare” I spit.
“Don’t sass me so early in the morning” he grins.
I close my eyes.
“Same as always?” he asks.
I nod as tears roll down my cheek.
“Frederick. He was going to finish me this time.”
“He would’ve never killed you, you know that Lis? In a dream maybe, but never for real”
“You didn’t know him. He was ruthless.”
“Aye, he was. But you were his moneymaker. He couldn’t lose you, and that’s why they hunted you.”
“He wouldn’t have killed you.” he repeats
I nod, trying to believe his words.
“Tom...we left Tom...he’s dead. I know it.”
“Alice,” he says worriedly, searching my eyes. “Tom is most likely in Canada. Mister Parker got him out, I’m sure of it. It’s you that concerns me, not him. ”
“I miss him so much. I just want to know if he’s okay. That’s the worst part, I think.”
“I know. Sucks not having a wingman, trust me.”
The women in the quarters look at me tiredly. I’ve been doing this almost every night since we got to Whitley Plantation, two years ago. They go get Isaac, and he calms me down. He’s the only one who can do it. The only person I’ll ever trust.
But he too, lied to me. He said he would get us out. He promised. It seems like such a long time ago, but I remember every day since like it just happened.
Our relationship has grown a lot in these past two years. Isaac has become my brother. He looks out for me, and keeps me in line. He’s strong and determined, my only support in a place where everyone else is trying to knock me down. We depend on each other.
“Get some rest, princess. Long day ahead.” He kisses my forehead and leaves the quarters, muttering.
Ruth comes to my side. She has a kid now, Ella.
“Oh deary. It’s alright. It’s the real world you’d oughta be afraid of. Not your dreams. Let your dreams comfort you; take you to happier places you will see one day. Sleep now.”
But we can’t. The bell rings, signalling the start of another day’s work. The sun has barely even risen.
“Up and at’em ladies!” yells Ava, one of Ruth’s friends. She’s old, in her sixties, and is retired. She works in the manor now, tending to the little kids, cleaning, and cooking.
I leave the quarters to go get breakfast. Usually, it’s a slab of bacon and a small dipper of water. There’s a trough full of oatmeal for us to feast with our hands too.
I join them.
After that, I pick up my empty sack and make my way to the fields. I stop to admire the sunrise. I always do, if I can get away with it.
It’s the only beautiful thing in the world left, but it reminds me of another day’s work. A bittersweet pleasure of mine.
Isaac comes to stand beside me.
“Do you realize...this Sun? Every human, ever, has waken up to it. Slaves all across the country are looking at it, right now. They’re thinking, another long day ahead. And I’m sure there’s some fine lady out there right now, bout to be wed in her finest gown. Maybe some fancy princess’s gettin crowned queen. I bet someone just had a kid. And here we are. So insignificant in the grand scheme of things, aren’t we? No one to remember us, or what we’ve done.”
He grins at me foolishly. “I’ll remember you, alright? But to be honest with ye princess, I’m a hella lot happier when the Sun goes down and I can finally rest.”
“Can’t you be a poetic sod, just once?” I nudge, as we make our way to the fields.
I hear yelling coming from the manor, and I snap my head in that direction to see a carriage arriving. I notice all the slaves are looking curiously at the newcomer.
I run to get a closer look (I can’t help myself, alright?), dragging my long cotton sack behind me.
I see someone getting out when I trip on a loose plant lying on the path.
“Shit!” I yell, as I fall to the ground. I felt my ankle snap, and an immediate, searing pain rushes through my body.
I cry out in pain, as Isaac runs toward me.
“YOU! WORK!” yells Briggs, the overseer, to him.
Isaac hesitates, unsure whether or not to help me. But he’s been whipped something nasty before, so I nod at him to confirm he should go back to the field.
“Are you alright?” Isaac yells
Briggs walks over to me, and inspects it. “Looks fine to me” he says roughly, grabbing me by the arm.
I try to get up, but the pain is too strong. I officially can’t move. I moan in pain.
He stares at me dumbly, unsure of whether or not whipping will get me up.
“What’s going on over here?” says a voice. I can’t turn my head to see who, but it sounds young and unfamiliar.
“She’s a lazy brute is all, Jarrah. You needn’t worry. Faking her injury.”
‘Jarrah’ makes his way over to my side immediately, and inspects my ankle.
“She sprained it, Briggs. She can’t work.”
He huffs. “Can’t work? She fell for God’s sake. Serves her right for being a nosy bitch.”
Jarrah sighs. “See the swelling? Can’t fake that. Come, I’ll take you inside.”
He’s right. It’s already starting to turn blue. I can barely move.
“Inside? Who’ll do her work then?” sneers Briggs.
“She can work inside the manor, of course.”
Briggs shakes his head. “YOU! BOY!” he yells to Isaac.
Isaac rushes over to my side, thankful for the invitation. “Your girlfriend--”
“She’s not my--” “I’m not his--”
“can’t work, so you’ll be pulling double weight. I expect no less. Off you go.”
Isaac shoots daggers at me, and I cheekily mouth “Thanks”.
I notice him eyeing Jarrah suspiciously before he returns to the field.
Jarrah helps me up to my feet, supporting me as we walk back to the quarters.
I study him from the corner of my eye. He’s got to be around my age--19. He’s got piercing green eyes, and sandy hair that covers his face. He’s tall and muscular, and walks with pride that could match only Isaac.
We make our way to the manor, when Ava approaches me worriedly. “Are you alright, Alice dear? What happened? Come inside, I’ll mend it now.”
She looks at Jarrah gratefully, and he smiles back.
“It’s good to see you, Ava” he says.
“You’ve grown” she says.
I sit on a stool as Ava works her bandaging magic, looking at the two of us curiously. I keep casting glances at Jarrah and turning quickly away.
He’s gorgeous, okay?
“All better” she says. “Now, Ruth’s kid’s having a fit back there, but I’ll be back, alright?”
“Thanks” I say gratefully, and prepare to walk to my quarters when he pushes me back into the chair firmly.
“Stay. You can’t move anywhere with that foot.”
“Massa’ll skin me alive if I sit on his precious porch a minute longer” I mutter.
“Yeah? Well, I’m his son and he can answer to me.”
My eyes open wide as I immediately recoil. That’s why he looks so familiar. That’s why he could stand up to Briggs.
“I’m so sorry--thank you for--really, you” I stutter.
“Shut up and drink” he grins, as he hands me a small dipper of water.
I sit in silence, unused to doing nothing. Jarrah whistles beside me, fiddling with a piece of grass between his fingers.
“By the way, Dad’s on business. You don’t have to keep checking behind you.”
He drops his voice low and imposing, “I’m the boss now.” He imitates Massa Whitley.
Ava returns with a bowl of potatoes and a knife, looking at Jarrah amused but saying nothing.
“Peel” she says, “might as well be some use to me.”
I grin at her and accept it.
Jarrah watches my hands carefully as I peel, his brows furrowed. He’s lost in thought.
“So”, he says. “I don’t remember you. And darling, I’d remember a face like yours.”
“Through careful thinking, I’ve concluded you must be new here.”
“Two years ago,” I respond bluntly, “haven’t seen you around either.”
“Dad shipped me off to the army. Said I wasn’t obedient, and that I needed to be straightened out.”
“Judging by you arguing with Briggs, I’d say that worked out well for you, huh?” I tease, then shut my mouth. He’s not Isaac, and I can’t talk to him like that.
Jarrah lets out a hearty laugh. “Yup. Well, the man’s getting old. He doesn’t wanna sell the plantation to the Wickens family, so he needs me to take over I guess.”
I feel a small ray of hope. With him watching the plantation, maybe things will get better around here.
He looks at me long and hard. He opens his mouth to speak, then changes his mind and closes it again.
“I hate it here” he says bluntly.
“You and me both.”
“I want to do something, you know? Only reason I agreed to the army was to get away from him and see a new world. What he does. I just...it’s wrong.”
“Maybe I’m not the person to share this with” I say, now diverting my full attention to the potato to avoid his piercing gaze. It’s like he’s reading me.
“Well, you’ve been in plantations your whole life. I guess you wouldn’t really know the outside world.”
I want to tell him that I was born free. That I was on my way to Canada when I was captured. But he wouldn’t understand. We’re from two different worlds.
He sees the whip, but atleast he doesn’t feel it.
When I finish the potatoes, I finally relax.
“I’ll take those to Ava” he says.
I smile in appreciation.
“See you around...?”
“Alice.” I finish.
“Lovely name. Suits you.” He turns and walks away.
Maybe I should sprain my ankle more often.
Quick reminder if anyone’s confused; the story is now two years later. Alice and Isaac haven’t escaped Whitley Plantation. Isaac is 21, and Alice and Jarrah are 19. :)
Oh and Jarrah.