Wednesday, 9 July 2008

Senzala page 2


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An owl called from a nearby tree. As if she had just woken up, Kima started walking, following the woman who was now disappearing into the senzala's wooden door. Kima walked up the steps slowly. They were cold under her feet, and they creaked as she stepped softly on them. The entrance to the second floor was a dark, narrow corridor that turned right after a few meters and ran along a series of doors. Most of them were closed, a faint light spilling out from under some of them.

She opened a heavy, broken door which led to a small dark room. It was very dirty, and it smelled like the ship, of illness and faeces and blood. There were some old rags in a corner over the cement floor, and insects buzzed around them

She crouched in the centre of the room, as far from the rubbish as she could, and she held her knees together with her hands. She rested her head down over her legs, and closed her eyes. An unbidden memory came to her then, of her mother. She wished she could see her now. Her mother would want to comb her hair because it was so tangled, and it would be painful because her mother was never careful when she combed her hair.

She couldn't stay here. She got up and left the room. She walked down the corridor until she found another dark door. She tried to open it, but it was locked on the inside. She went to the next door, she could see light coming from it, so she knocked.

A middle aged man with sunken eyes and yellowed skin opened the door, then looked quickly around the corridor before focusing on her.

‘What do you want, little girl?’ he asked, in Bantu. Kima recognised him from the ship.

‘I need a place to stay, ’ she replied.

‘No, no, no,’ he said, looking around her at the corridor. ‘We have no space left. Sorry, little girl’ Then he shut the door without another word.

Kima thought of the darkness outside and then ran back up the corridor and downstairs. She found the door with most light behind it, and knocked on it as hard as she could.

-> Chapter 4


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