Wednesday, 9 July 2008

Chapter 2 - Instructions


Side by side they waited. They were all tired, weak after the weeks they had spent aboard the ship. Kima looked around. There was a fountain, and green plants she had never seen before. The house itself folded around the inner patio where they stood; it was a white and burgundy building, with wide arches opening into a hall. Flowers spilled down from baskets hanging at the top of the arches, under wrought iron banisters in the second floor. There were iron ornaments also in the entrance gate and on the windows. Under her feet, red-brown tiles defined a path that crossed the patio and led to the main building.

The sun was coming down, and the temperature had dropped a few degrees. Kima's legs where shaking slightly, and her joints felt stiff and achy. She looked at the man she was tied to. He was a young man who regarded her with expressionless wide eyes before looking away.

Every now and then someone would shuffle and the chains would rattle together. They heard voices coming from the upper floor of the house, running steps, and then a girl's giggle. A black woman walked past them, and into the house, carrying a heavy sack.

She didn't know for how long they waited. It felt like a long time. It was uncomfortable to be standing, fixed as they were to each other. After what felt like a long wait, a young man arrived.

He talked to Ghero in that other language, and he smiled with an easy, relaxed smile. But the look he gave the slaves was not relaxed. With a quick glance of his intense green eyes he took them all in. He had short, light brown hair that hung closely to his head like his clothes hung to his lean, strong arms. He talked a lot, a steady stream of words flowing from his mouth. Kima picked up words here and there, she thought she heard the words ‘tomorrow’, ‘again’, and ‘dead’.

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