October 6, 2014
The Story of a Slave
“No, nooooo,” I scream in anger, sadness, shock, confusion! Though I shouldn’t be confused. I know what’s happening. The white people are leading me away from my family. My mother cries and my brother looks away, not wanting to show his emotion. My father died when I was young, so he isn’t here. I watch in despair as I am lead further and further away from my home, my life in Africa, and to someplace I do not know.
The white man shoves me in with a bunch of other black slaves. Mehimbo, a girl who I knew since I was born, is also on the ship. The white man yells an order, and we start to move. No warning. No goodbyes. My family is stripped away from me like that. Our wooden ship skirts smoothly into the Atlantic Ocean. I watch it churn like soup with teary eyes. Will I ever be able to see my family again? No. That’s for certain. I will be alone with just me and my master. Or masters. I probably go to a rich family, since I think I’ll sell for good money. I dismiss the idea from my head. Maybe I can run away.
The first day is awful. They give us bread and water for dinner. The beds in the ship are overcrowded and too small. I have nightmares of leaving my family forever. The rest of the week goes on the same way. Look at the water, occasionally talk to Mehimbo, although both of us prefer to be left alone, and of course bread and water. People vomit their meals out on deck. I pretend to vomit my food so I can get some fresh air, but they soon find out and I get whipped. People that don’t make it through the voyage are simply tossed at sea. One boy even fell overboard. I grow thinner and thinner, even though I was always skinny. Everybody is cold, or sick, or hungry, or thirsty. We are all miserable. The voyage takes us three weeks straight. I don’t know if I should be scared, or excited, or nervous. After all, I am halfway across the globe with nobody I know except for Mehimbo. One by one, we are lead out into the cool, misty morning. I breathe in fresh gulps of air like water. Then we are half led, half pushed to a wooden block in the middle of a town. The buildings look nothing alike to the small huts at home. The place is surrounded with white men and women. I feel like I don’t belong.
Someone starts the auction. One by one, slaves are carried away with their new owners. The sounds are filled with men shouting out. Ten! Fifteen! I bid twenty-five! Thirty! On and on. Around midafternoon, Mehimbo and I are selected by our masters, a kind-looking man with a beard, and a fierce, angry, and annoyed woman who has icy cold eyes filled with hatred. I’m frightened, but at the same time, I am very grateful that Mehimbo and I were both selected by the same owners, maybe because we were standing next to each other. We are slowly led down the wooden auction block. Our masters pay money in gold to the slave trader and lead us away. Forty gold pieces. That is it. That is what Mehimbo and I are worth. Forty gold pieces. Will I have kind owners? Not by the look of the lady. Will I be treated fairly? Doubtful. As I am led down a dirt path, I mourn. My new life is about to begin.