Written by Amah’s Heart
“This one doesn’t look too good… too white like the flakes, too thin, too ugly, too weak, too much hair filled with lice… Just too much of everything… How much does she go for?”
“Do not underestimate her… Her look maybe deceitful… She is as strong as a camel, she walked 100 miles from the sahara to the lakey Iceland, I swear with twail, the god of thunder and storm, she maybe thin and frail but she is one of the strongest… And she is going for thirty-five shillings… That’s the price my good friend…”
“Hahahaha, I can’t pay such a big amount for her, I will pay twenty shillings, we are into same business and you know that she doesn’t worth it, everything counts when purchasing a slave, the look and body count, but she has none, she just has big eye balls and I want to buy her because you said she is strong. I just hope you’re saying the truth when you say she walked from the sahara to lakey Iceland…
“It’s true my friend, I swear to you with the god of thunder. Remember, I can’t lie with the name of twail, twail strikes down those that lie with his name… She’s worth the price I have given you. You can pay thirty instead of it thirty-five shillings, I’m giving you a good price, take her…”
“Well, I don’t believe in any god, I worship money, because money answers all things… I will pay twenty-five, if you’re not selling then I’ll move to another dealer, I don’t have time to waste on some useless slave…”
“Okay… Pay the twenty-five shillings…”
I watched in silent as the first dealer counted the money before handing me over to the second man. He was happy to be free from me, I had been with him for long and nobody had been able to buy me off, and when he finally sold me, he was happy because he was not totally at loss He bought me in the Sahara, from a slave market, after the merchants offloaded us from the sea to the shore, he bought me for twenty-three shillings and sold me for twenty-five, after walking under the scotching sun and arriving at the present port.
The second dealer made me walk so fast as he led me with other slaves through a passage way. We all seemed to be between eleven and seventeen years, not more than that, and I was the most frail among them. I was tired, hungry and thirsty yet, I had no right to complain because I was only a slave. My fate had been predestined, but I was not scared, I might be in a foreign land filled with different gods, carved in different shapes and sizes, I might have lost my mother and father, with Joe my brother, and Kathrine and Deb my two sisters to the cold hands of war, but I’m not scared.
Mother had died in my arms. She had died of starvation, after the war broke out. Joe had gone out in search of food but was captured by the soldiers, and killed. He was dumped on the same piles of dead bodies where father was discarded after he was killed. I watched from the tiny hole of our room as they set them on fire, and the smoke went high, I shut my eyes and held my breath for some seconds, thinking I was going to die too, but I didn’t die, I needed to be strong.
After Kathrine, my sister died that morning, and mother who had been ill for long gave up in the evening, I began to doubt my faith, I had questions and I needed answers. I held my only surviving blood, my sister Deb, she sobbed in my arms and I hushed her severally to be quiet while trying to hold myself from screaming, so that we would not be heard. We were quiet with everything. The soldiers may be passing, they were going from house to house to make sure that they cleared off every household. Any noise from us would attract them faster.
Deb and I cleaned mother and Kathrine up, we combed their curly hairs into bonds, and dressed them up, and laid them on the bed, as if they were asleep and would wake up soon. That was my wish, that everything happening around us was a terrible nightmare, but it was real, real and close to the skin.
Mother was very beautiful even as she laid in death, she was at peace, I sat beside her and watched her, and just hoper some part of her body would move to signify that she was still alive, but nothing moved.
I touched her body and it was so cold. I held her hands, hoping my warm hands would warm up her cold hands, but still nothing happened. Deb was looking at the street from the tiny hole I created, I saw everything from there. Deb was all I got now, I use to have my elder brother, Joe, my two younger sisters, Kath and Deb, and also my loving parents, but not again. I only got Deb who was the youngest and was nine years old, Kathrine was eleven years, she loved God passionately, she was the strongest among the three among us.
she was kind and yet God was not merciful enough to save her from dying, he allowed her to die and allowed mother also who stood for uprightness and truth, to go too, leaving the weak ones. my faith was weak, I looked weak physically yet, I got strength of ten people in me which no eyes can see
I knew what mother would say in this present situation, she would say “Tamar, don’t let your heart be troubled, in everything rejoice, this world will pass one day but our souls belong to one true God. Even if he allows us to be struck with famine and sickness, He will heal our land and restore our health, for in Him we live and move, in Him we have our being…”
As I was lost in thought, Deb called my attention to the hole and I saw soldiers approaching our door. My stomach tightened, my heart skipped. I wanted to hide Deb but if she stayed in here she might probably die of starvation. I didn’t want to lose her, I thought of what to do, with mother and Kathrine lying dead on the bed as if they were sleeping, and with Deb shaking all over from fear. My whole faith weakened, I couldn’t do anything, and when the soldiers hit our door with their iron boots I was shaking all over, they were two and look scary.
They came in and I held Deb as she cried and shook. I was trying to be brave like father would do, but not this time. I was truly afraid, I didn’t know what fate held for us. Outside was deadly, yet inside was lonely and smelt of death. Nowhere was safe to stay.
The first soldiers looked at us,while the second passed to where mother and Kath laid peacefully. The first soldier swore as the second one called his attention to mother and Kathrine’s corpses in bed. The first stepped out and brought a wooden truck, which they used in evacuating the dead. They threw in mothers and Kathrine’s dead bodies into the truck carelessly, and they were pushed to where dead bodies were kept and burnt.
I cried, I screamed, I wanted to hold mother for the last time. I wanted to check if she would shake, I wanted to look upon her beautiful face and be strengthened, but she was gone. I would never see her or father or Joe and even Kathrine again.
As I was dragged outside with Deb, I looked up to the sky and began to curse.
I hated God, I hated him for allowing so much bad things into the world, and for allowing the wicked to oppress the helpless. I hated God for allowing father to be killed on the street. Father was a religious leader and he was a faithful follower of God, yet he was killed. Joe was a young man who was trying to follow every of father’s step. He became the breadwinner when father died, he was sixteen years old, and was killed as he went in search of food. God allowed hunger and sickness to take my mother and my sister Kathrine, leaving me with Deb. What kind of God was that? If He was strong enough, he could have saved us, and stopped the war. Why did bad things happen to good people, especially people with good hearts like mother and father? God allowed it.
I had unanswered questions. I was filled with anger as they dragged Deb and I to an open square where other survivors of the war were kept. We crawled up to our knees and sat on the ground, holding one other. Whatever laid ahead was far bigger than what I could face. I silently hoped I would die too, because life was like a pure definition of hell.
Deb, my only surviving family became ill and died after five days.
She contracted flu in the open square and started coughing out blood. I tried everything, even prayed to God not minding that I was angry with Him. I had prayed that if He could save my only surviving sister, I would love Him again. I would apologize for every bad thing I said to Him or did, I would serve Him more than I had ever done, but God was silent.
The flu quickly spread all over Deb’s body. There was no good water and food and medicine to properly care for her. I used the piece of cloth tied to my waist to cover her from cold at night. I stayed awake trying to warm her up with my own body because Deb was my only family.
If she dies what would I do? I kept begging God, but God didn’t hear me, He didn’t listen to my supplications. Deb died in the middle of the fifth night at the open square, and the soldiers came to take her away, I still couldn’t believe she was gone.
“Hey, walk fast or I will be forced to use the whip on you, I don’t want to touch you because you look too frail as if you’ll drop dead any second. I want to resell you and make even if it’s a little gain. I gave that dealer twenty-five five shillings for you, and it’s way too much. I shouldn’t have spent such a huge amount. You look weak and I wonder how you managed to trek from the Sahara to the Iceland, that dealer must be a good liar swearing with twail because he didn’t want you to remain with him… I hate to waste money because money is my god, now tell me the truth: do you trek from sahara to lakey Iceland?”
I looked at the man’s stone face, he distracted me from my saddened thought, I was still wondering why I was still alive, the thinnest and weakest one in my family. I had been shipped and smuggled like ordinary goods, I had been exposed to cold and heat, been hungry and thirsty. I had gone from hand to hand of slave traders, and yet I am still alive. The only thing that had not happened to me was rape. I watched as other beautiful slave girls got raped in the cabin but any of the dealers that got to me would look at me all over, shake their heads and walk away. I didn’t look like good food to them, only my sunken, big white eye balls, with my full curly hair, the trait I got from my beautiful mother which was now covered with lice and dirt scared them away.
They tagged me ugly, which was an added advantage too, being frail had also saved me from some maltreatment. I was strong enough inside, I had enough strength to walk and run miles but it was never shown in my physical body.
My slim nature was deceiving anybody that came in contact with me. The dealer that sold me off thought I would drop dead along the way from the Sahara, but he was surprise that I made it, while some other slaves dropped dead and they were left there to be devoured by wild animals. The mere thought of wild animals feeding on me was enough to keep me moving.
I was jolted out of my thoughts when I heard in a harsh loud voice “… Answer me slave, or I will throw you to the circus animals by the entrance gate!!! You’re are just a mouthful to them, nothing in you will be enjoyable. speak up or can’t you speak , don’t you have a voice?”
“I can speak sir! Yes, he was right. I trekked from the Sahara to the lakey Iceland…” I replied him.
“Then, that’s good. let’s keep going, you still have lots of trekking to do, I just hope your body can carry it, and that your hair will be barbed. It stinks, and I wish you’ll be a good sale for me because I don’t deal with loss, I like making profit…”
I was ready for whatever that comes my way, and I also hoped I would end up as a household slave not as a temple slave.
Temple slaves were used to serve different gods. The land we are in were filled with pagan worshipers, there were different hand made gods and temples everywhere, in every square and junction, hung on trees and houses.
Everybody chose what they wanted to worship, but the faith I was practicing since I was born was never allowed here; it was a taboo in this place.
However, I will be given a choice to choose the god I wanted to worship here if I ended up as a household slave in a good house or I will end up serving my master and mistress as gods.
It was well expected of every slave to make their master or mistress their god, whom they would serve for the rest of their lives.
I was not afraid, I used to be, but not anymore. I have seen too much calamities in my young life to be scared of anything.
Wherever fate lead, I will follow.
To be continued
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