Author: Jenny Lockwood PM
Just an idea which I had, involving an escape from an 18th century slave plantation.Rated: Fiction K - English - Words: 509 - Reviews: 1 - Favs: 1 - Published: 10-03-08 - id: 2579333
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My Great Escape
I run. The baby in my arms makes a startled noise then falls silent as I hold her close and whisper breathlessly in her ear. I raise my head and push my screaming muscles harder, willing them to take me from this god-forsaken place. Tears of exhaustion are in my eyes from the long day's work, and the whip scars on my back burn, but there is nothing for it. The undergrowth is dense beneath my feet. Branches catch and tear at me like greedy fingers. Somewhere I hear a woman scream but I dare not turn back. Fear has me in its grip and does not let me go - instead it tells me to run. For my own sake I obey, and do not stop.
When I can go no further, I collapse beneath the canopy of branches and lie there, almost paralysed with exhaustion. The baby cries softly. I gather her close to my heart and lie there, still, for a long time, daring anyone to come and harm my child. Motherhood has made me fierce, but being enslaved for three years leaves scars deeper than the ones made by any whip or knife. Before long I am back on my feet and running, thirst beginning to blur my consciousness.
When dawn begins to lighten the sky, I am miles away from the plantations, but not from my own terror. Every stride I make I listen for footsteps behind my own, for voices shouting in triumph. If I am caught, I am likely to be slaughtered. This is not the first time I have attempted escape. This is my last chance, my last shot at freedom. After this, I have no more cards left to play.
It is harder in the sunlight. It is so much hotter and the baby is hungry. I long for sleep but I have a long way to go, and the possibility of capture is still so painful a reality, I do not dare. I try to move in the shadows as much as I can but the sun is high and unforgivingly bright. Hunger kicks me in the belly with every pace. I have some food but I give it to my daughter, scared that she is not strong enough for the journey ahead. She grasps at my shift with tiny hands, and as I stare into her face, I find the strength to keep going.
I wake in the night next to a cool river. I do not remember lying down there, only intense fatigue as I slaked my thirst. I stand, surveying my surroundings warily. A rustle in the trees makes me turn. A tall man of my own country comes through the trees, his skin the colour of night and a smile on his face. He is a maroon - an escaped slave like myself. He holds my daughter tenderly in one arm and stretches out a hand to me.
"Welcome, sister," he says. "You are safe now."