Caged in on all sides, and all I can see are the cold steel bars holding me prisoner. I lay on the frosty stone floors, straw strewn around me, a thin, white, dust crusted shirt draped down to my knees. 1872, November 18 welcome to the English slave quarters.
My teeth chatter, and shivers violently rack my frail frame so bad I fear I may break. A broken slave is a dead slave, and being dead is better than being whipped every time you made a mistake. Death was a better option than not making your quota of sugar everyday. The punishments were losing your hands. I already lost several fingers on each hand. This can't be the way things were ment to be, it just can't. I shouldn't be used to do someone else's dirty work while they warm their feet by the fire, and eat luxurious meals. While I'm forced to starve, and my feet bleed from working, running, and just trying to stay alive.
"But it's just the way things are," my mother would tell me, "and they aren't going to change any time soon." Well screw the rules, I would think if I can't do what they do just because I'm a darker skin color, then I don't want to be here. I'm not your property, and I don't belong to anyone but myself. I deserve to live and have as many human rights that the whites have. We aren't any different, we both bleed, give birth, laugh, and cry. What's so wrong about me being different on the outside?
I wish and pray the rebellious thoughts would leave my mind. Sharp pains of agony streak up my back. Whipped. I've been whipped at least once every just because I speak. I don't take it like the others do, I don't back down, I keep going after something I want until it's mine.
If only I were free I thought. Then I could go and come as I please. Maybe I could even lay down at night without tearing scabs at my back and bleeding on the floor. But every day I wake up to a reminder that I'm only human that I can only do so much. That I bleed.
Run. That one thought echoed in my mind, until I was on my feet, slipping through the bars, out the spiraled gate, through the gardens, and out on the muddy roads. My breathing heavy I skidded to a halt as a cherry wood carriage rushed past with two white palominos pulling from the front. "Get her!" I heard from behind me. I ran and ran and ran until my legs felt like lead and my stomach emptied its few contents. And I ran again, until I reached a meadow with a shallow lake and flowers littering the ground. I was free, I made it to safety.
I woke with a start, the cold biting at my legs, the numb sensation crawling over my arms. Someone stuck their head by the bars and said, " time to get to work." And so I dragged my feet as I went to work. The details of the dream remaining in my mind as I worked ceaselessly, giving me hope for a new kind of freedom.