Slave Ship of the Seas

The biggest monstrosity I had ever witnessed towered over a river of other toweled heads walking down the golden beach with the strong smell of fresh fish and salt blowing in the western winds. It was bigger than the biggest fishing and carrier boat on the majestic rivers that flowed through our farmland. These white men came and robbed us. They robbed us from our families, our friends, and our land. I had heard stories about them taking people away to work someplace else, but never heard about someone who came back to tell the story.We all walked in a bunch of disorderly lines all heading in the general direction of the elegant monsters. Nobody was tied down, and every now and then, either a white man on a horse would ride past, or one of our own darker skinned people would bark orders at us. Traitors. All of them. How could they turn against their own people, their own brothers and sisters? I had the sudden urge to lash out and strike these traitors down, but I knew better. I wasn’t the first to be angered. I was well composed compared to the others. Many times, one of our brothers would try and escape, or just try and injure the nearest ‘guard’ (they where assigned the duty of guarding us, as claimed by one of the other captives), but would fail miserably and that would be the last we would hear of them.Some said that they where promoted for showing their bravery, other’s claimed that they where returned to their homelands. But I knew exactly what happened to them. And my speculations were finally confirmed when we were tossed onto the ships like fish. Whoever protested would get a crack of a whip wherever possible, hands, head, feet, faces, the same whips we would normally use for our cows and horses in farming. We were treated worse than animals, being shoved onto the top and being pushed down, not knowing when we will see sun again.The sleeping areas where damp with sea water leaking through the cracks of this monster. Some generous people tried to help out by using their head cloth to stop the leakage, but to no avail. A uniformed fellow did come along to see what the commotion was, but just swore and told us that the water would leak out again. We stayed silent, believing him, and fearing that any word uttered in the presence of a whip could be painful. Slowly by slowly, the place filled up with more people and more water. And what seemed to be just a few moments, there where more than 500 men crammed in a place fit for 50. I was luckily quite near the entrance, and on one of the higher decks, allowing fresh air to flow in more frequently.The monster creaked, and my first instinct was to panic. I thought that the monster was eating us, and now digesting us. These white men fed us to the monster to keep it happy, such where the stories being told around me. But after what seemed many seasons, we were, in groups of about 10-20 people, allowed to step onto the deck and realize that this was not a monster, but something called a ‘ship’. The white men where somewhat nicer than those darker skinned devils, calling them selves ‘local’ guards, in the sense that they gave heart warming smiles and quick, precise instructions to their juniors in such a sweet tongue that none of us understood.This admiration stirred up a sense of anxiety to what was waiting in store for us. The water riding was not a new experience for many of us, as we would frequently lie down on our boat and wait for the fish to get caught in our nets. The most part of the first day was spent exchanging stories of the predicted future, wondering about our fate and thinking about our families. This was just enough fuel for me to unleash the fire against these tormentors, but waited for the right opportunity. Long after the sunlight had vanished, the white men and the elite brown men brought us some food, barely enough to survive, but just enough to keep our spirits high. This ‘food’ was basically poorly boiled salted fish, many of which still had some little life in them. Some decided to protest against the treatment that they where receiving, but a few cracks of the whip and every one was silent. No body dared to take the leadership position in such matters, as the consequences where well known by this time.Some slaves tried to jump off the ‘ship’ and swim back home, which wasn’t supposed to be hard as we could swim non stop for 2 days upstream with no great struggle, but this was different. Those slaves where either shot at from the ship, hauled back in or where eaten by sharks, as claimed by the ‘local’ uniformed guards. Just the thought of trying to run away sent shivers down the spine of many, if not all, but the will and determination was still there. With time, everything got worse.The food started to taste worse, the habits of the local uniformed officers becoming increasingly violent, more water seeping in through the increasing number of cracks and the power and will to escape quickly died with all slaves who carried out any sort of major activity on deck put to a halt so as to save the trouble of slave hunting in the oceans. Most of us where decent swimmers, just that the sea was more violent compared to some rapids of the rivers that collided in front of our houses. None of us got, what we called, water sickness, now better known as sea sickness, with the exception of a few who couldn’t handle the sudden rise and falls so often. Having to eat semi-alive fish was just not humane. But we had nothing else.We were informed by the local uniformed guards that sicknesses such as measles and chicken pox had started spreading on other ships. This was enough information for us to start a protest again and leave the ships at once, but again, we where quickly silenced by the cracks of the whips. The whips. We used them to control animals. They were using it to control us. I had already, by that time, started to hate the idea and thoughts of slavery. Such was my hate, I’d rather have been a horse or goat or cow rather than be a human slave. Such was my hate that I’d rather be slaughtered in a slaughter house than to be a slave. Such was my hate. We were allowed less frequently onto the decks, and whenever we did go up, more and more ‘ships’ came into sight more often. I knew that this was it. After seasons of staying in that monster, it was all about to get worse.

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