Author: Ignatius Gim PM
Innocence is a trait well worn on many. Young and old, innocence may be okay for some, but for many innocence has been their killer, especially for a slave just trying to please his master. This is the third story in a series of stories about human nature.Rated: Fiction K+ - English - Words: 1,979 - Published: 09-04-12 - id: 3055847
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
It was hot today! My face was covered in dirt and sweat and my back hurt from being bent over all day picking cotton seeds. I could feel the heat of the sun beating down on my bare back and the sting of sun burn as a result. Although on the outside I was feeling miserable, on the inside I was feeling happy because I was ahead of everyone else in my work and that would make Master happy.
I stood-up and cracked my back. I looked around and saw that everyone else's baskets had less cotton seeds than mine. I smiled. Then, I felt a cool breeze blow across the field and saw that everyone stood-up to try to catch it. The cool breeze blew across my body and I sighed. As everyone was standing and enjoying the breeze I heard the crack of a whip and a cry from behind me.
I turned around and saw Driver whip one of the women. I felt anger in my throat but swallowed it. I hated Driver. Not just because he stood around and whipped us, but because he was Master's favorite. He always did his work faster than us and as a reward Master gave him a whip, better clothes, more food, and a better cabin. Ever since the day he was made Driver, he had a smile on his face and acted like he was better than us. However, I still was afraid of him because he had a whip and that is why I went back to work after he started to look around for another person to whip.
It is because of Driver that I want to be Master's favorite. I want to become a Driver and whip that silly smile off his face.
It was another hour longer to finish my work, but I still finished it ahead of everyone else. I walked back to my cabin after putting my basket on the table at the end of the Field. I opened the door to the dim room of my cabin. I washed my face with the brown water in my wash bowl and then laid down on my bed for a quick rest.
I woke-up to the afternoon bell that signaled master's daily inspection. I jumped out of bed and washed my face again. I ran outside and lined up in front of my cabin along with everyone else. I eagerly awaited Master's arrival with a huge smile on my face. Today I knew that Master would make me a Driver because I finished my work first! As I watched the path to beyond the Field, where Master usually came from, I spotted the women who was whipped by Driver. She was still working to finish her work. I felt sorry for her because she would not be here for Master's inspection and would not get dinner.
After two minutes I saw Master walk out of the path and into the Field. He took a moment to talk to the Watchers who watched us work in the Field and told Master who did and did not work well today. I could not hear them and even if I did I would not be able to understand their language, but I still imagined them telling Master how I finished my work first.
After Master was done talking to the Watchers he walked toward us. I stood tall and looked forward trying to impress Master as he walked toward us, but he did not look my way. I was sad because of it, but still stood straight. I would surely impress him as he looked at us up close.
I looked to my left and saw Master walking down the line looking us over up and down. I stood-up so straight that I heard my back crack! I struggled to look serious and hold back my happy feeling inside. Master was on the man next to me and I awaited Master's inspection. However, instead of Master moving on to me, he stopped at that other man and began to look him over up-and-down. He Looked under his arms, behind his ears, and all over his body. I could see the fear on the man's face because the last person he did this to did not come to the Field the next morning. Finally, Master stopped and smiled at the man and he relaxed.
He continued to inspect us, and came to stand in front of me. I was sweating as everything seemed to go slower. He looked me up and down then walked on. It took me a moment to realize that he ignored me! I stomped my foot on the ground which made Master turn around and look at me again. I quickly stood up straight again, but Master just shook his head and moved on. I watched as he inspected everyone else then had Driver hand out our dinner in its usual paper bag.
I slowly trudged back to my cabin to eat dinner. When I sat on my cot I felt angrier than before. Not at Master, no he was not to blame, it was Driver! He did something to prevent me from taking his job! I reached into my bag and pulled out the usual apple and jerky. I ripped off some jerky with my teeth and slowly ate it. As I swallowed I realized that maybe I needed to work harder. Yes that was it! At that moment I decided on what I was going to do to become Driver, so I quickly ate my apple and went to sleep. I did not go outside to sing with the others like I did every night. No, I went to sleep instead, determined to win Master's favor!
When I woke-up I quickly got out of bed and peeked outside. I awoke before everyone, even the sun! It was dark out, but I quickly ran outside to grab my basket to start working. I was already started with my work when all the Watchers arrived at first light and was half-way done when Driver and the first person, besides me, came to the Field. As everyone slowly came out after that, they all gave me funny looks. Probably jealousy! I thought. I get up early and work before the Sun has a chance to heat up the day and burn my back.
I was finished working by the time everyone else had started, and proudly walked over to the table we put our baskets on. I felt great and decided to use my extra time to clean myself. I went over to the river that was behind the cabins and jumped in. I watched as the water became all brown for a couple seconds then watched as all y sweat and dirt was carried away by the water.
I got out the water and stretched out in the grass to let the sun dry me. This did not take too long in the noon heat and within moments I was dressed and heading towards my cabin to rest before inspection. I wanted to look my best when Master made me a Driver!
I woke-up to the evening bell and quickly rushed outside to line-up for inspection. I noticed that everyone else was dirty and tired while I was clean and rested. I even looked better than Driver! I saw Master approach and talk to the Watchers. I saw as they talked and one of them pointed towards me. My heart started to pound! Today was my day!
Master walked towards us and began to look us over. As I was looking left to watch him come down the line, I noticed that the man from yesterday who was being looked over was not here. I paid no attention to it however because I was too busy fantasizing being made Driver. It seemed like it took an entire day for Master to get to me, but when he did I could barely hold in my happiness. It was now! But, Master just passed by me, he didn't even look me over. But, I kept smiling, surely he would promote me in private, he probably didn't want to make every feel bad.
I watched as Driver handed out the food and I returned to my cabin. I decided to eat while I waited for Master to come knocking on my door, but when I reached into the bag, my smile turned into a frown. There was an extra piece of jerky. Normally, when someone did a good job in the fields, they got another piece of jerky. But, the thing that I was upset was that Master thought that what I did was only worth an extra jerky! I realized that Driver was made Driver in front of everyone. For the first time in my life I felt anger towards Master!
I threw my apple at the wall and threw my jerky in the dirt. Did Master not care about me was I just an object to him? His thing? At that time I decided not to try to please him from now on. I went to sleep and did not try to wake-up early. In the morning I started my work at the same time as everyone else and in the afternoon I ended with everyone else.
I settled back into my daily routine before I ever tried to please my Master. It was hopeless.
Then, one day, as I was weeding the field came to a weed that would not come out. I grabbed the spade and began to dig it out. I finally dug out the weed, but as I was filling the hole back-up, I saw something gleam in the dirt. I cleared the dirt away and found a metal box. I dug it out and picked it up. It was the size of my arm and was as heavy as my spade. Curious I opened the lid and found a bunch of shiny yellow rocks. At this point everyone, including Driver, huddled around me to look at the shiny yellow rocks.
I dumped them on the ground and fingered them. They were cold to the touch, so I rubbed them against my face. I heard more people approaching, but by their language I realized that they were Watchers. I suddenly realized that Master would be proud of my discovery and might finally make me a Driver. At that second all the hate and anger washed away and I smiled.
The Watchers were standing over me. They were talking to each other. Some of them called out, but a couple of the ran off the Field. They were probably calling Master who will come and reward me! I stood-up and brushed off my pants. Everyone just stared at me and I basked in their attention.
Soon Master came running into the Field carrying a huge metal stick. I had no idea what the stick was, but I knew he was going to reward me! He came and looked at the chest and became furious. He began to yell at me and even though I couldn't understand him, I knew he was angry. Why? The Watchers started to approach Master with a rope, but before they could get to them, Master pulled on a lever and a big bang came from the stick. I felt pain in my chest. I hunched over red blood came from my chest and I had a hard time breathing. There was yelling. I couldn't understand them and I didn't try. All I wanted to do was sleep. Master pulled the lever again and I heard a bang again. I felt more pain and hunched over again. My eyes closed slowly and the last thing I saw was my Master being pulled away by the Watchers.