Amazons of the Myst
Copyright © 2013 by Jasmine Clark
Last Night of Pain
The smell of his sweat made her cringe. The sound of his deep breathing irritated her. The movements of his hairy body on top of hers made her hate her own. For every thrust was like a knife penetrating a deep wound. After many years she had learned to stay quiet for fear of being beaten. After feeling the trickle of his seed he was gone to return another night. Emily lay continuously on her back as if it were a ritual.
Morning appeared as if another reminder that night would soon come. Emily was ready to work in the fields. She worked next her friend and sister, Sarah. Unlike Emily, Sarah was not taken at night by Master. She had married a young man named Thomas. Although Sarah was happy for a slave girl, she feared that any moment she could be sold to another plantation.
Their youngest sister Charlotte was looked at by Master the same way he had looked at Emily when she was younger. They worried for Charlotte who was only nine years of age.
“You have to keep watch over her,” said Emily as she peered up at Charlotte who was across the field.
She was directing her words to Sarah who was quickly picking cotton. Life was hard enough she had to worry about herself, but now her youngest sister was zeroed in by Master. The thought of him doing to Charlotte as he had done to her was most disconcerting. It was at that time he, the master of the plantation, came over to young Charlotte.
The two eldest sisters could not hear what he was saying because they were too far away. By the way he was acting Emily knew all too well what he was thinking. He caressed Charlotte’s small shoulders and wiped the sweat off his brow. Emily’s heart pounded against her chest, and a deep sickening went from her gut to the back of her throat. What came next startled everyone in the field.
Sarah heard her sister vomit violently. At first she thought it was because of what they knew was going to happen to Charlotte. It was in that same thought a darker idea emerged. Emily is pregnant! It wouldn’t be the first time Emily had gotten pregnant by Master. After all, he had taken her every night since she was a child. The only time he avoided her was when she was greeted by her monthly red friend. Although only eighteen, Emily had only miscarriages and never a live birth at full term. For this she was glad. She hated the idea of having Master’s bastard child. She wasn’t afraid of showing her feelings for that thought. She had confided in her sister that if she had a child to term, she’d gladly kill it.
The news of this new pregnancy with the knowledge that Master had his sights on a younger victim, made Thomas uneasy. He had devised a plan to run away with his bride and her two sisters. He would then go back for his family and theirs. However Master’s personal slave, also known as Master’s wandering ear overheard Thomas. It was then that he told and Thomas was to be beaten. The rest of the slaves had to watch and “learn” that running was a terrible misjudgment. Usually beatings dealt by Master were severe. They would cut into the flesh like lightning through trees. Yet all the slaves that endured this would live. However, Master was dealing extra lashes. He did this until Thomas’s back, instead of resembling open fleshed lines, resembled one large open white slab of meat saturated in blood.
The hollers Thomas gave were not of anything one can imagine. The pitch and the depth were surreal. Many slaves fainted at the tragic end of the seventeen year old Thomas. Evening came many hours later and during dinner the three sisters sat and feared their fates.
“What shall we do?” Thomas is dead!” said Sarah as she wept.
“Calm my child,” said Mama.
Sarah sobbed heavily on her mother’s lap. Emily was filled with a burning hate for Master. She had always hated him but this time the hatred was even stronger. She knew that this child she carried would live. She knew her fifteen year old widowed sister Sarah would be sold to another plantation. She also knew that tonight her dearest Charlotte would be violently taken by Master. So much tragedy that Mama devised a plan.
Before the slaves were sent to bed Mama put together a sack of bread and a pouch of water. She handed it to Emily. Emily had never seen her mother do this, but knew instantly what her mother wanted. She followed without question. Mama stood her three daughters up and kissed them twice. One kiss for each cheek. She hugged each of them tightly. Emily took the time to feel her mother’s warmth one last time. She smelled her mother’s smell and the stickiness of her mother’s neck. She then stepped back and looked at her mother’s face.
Even though their mother was only thirty-two years of age, she had many wrinkles where the sun had kissed the sides of her eyes. Her lips were round and brown like her skin. Her hair was short and wrapped in a scarf to protect it from the sun. The back of her neck was dark because it was the most exposed to the sun. Charlotte kept her tears in so no one would suspect anything once they left. It was at that time Mama went out the home they shared and far into the forest. Her children followed close. She took a broom with her to wipe away any tracks to buy them time if they were noticed missing. It was an hour before they reached the beach, and one small boat. It was getting later into the night as all three sisters went slowly into the boat.
None of them had ever known how to ride in a boat. However Sarah had been told by Thomas about boats from the time he had helped with shipments to the plantation. So she used that information to help them escape. Emily was handed an ore by Sarah. With a puzzled look on her face she watched and followed Sarah. Together they put the flat ends of the ore in the water. They then used them to push the water behind them. With that motion, the boat went steady.
Mama had already unlatched the ropes and watched her daughters fade into the blackness. The two sisters kept rowing until their arms felt numb and nothing could be seen, not even the land they left. With absolutely nothing to see, the two put the ores into the boat. Then adjusted themselves to be more comfortable and tried to stay awake.
“Where are we going?” asked a frightened Charlotte.
“North,” said Emily.
The two eldest sisters knew this is what Mama had wanted. She wanted her daughters to travel without being hunted. If they were to take the forest to the north, then once Master knew they were gone he would have sent blood hounds. They’d be caught and sold in a matter of a day’s time. Instead they’d have a chance at taking the water.
The sisters tried to remain awake, but with nothing to see and a clouded moon, they drifted away into slumber. Morning was bright and overwhelming. There was no land in any direction. Charlotte worried and reached for the food. Emily took it quickly and gave each of them an inch piece of bread. Charlotte looked at it puzzled and asked for more.
“We have to be stingy or else we’ll run out of food,” said Sarah.
The sisters ate scarce and drank a sip every other hour. Most of the time they slept. By midday, even as hot as it was, they’d huddle together to protect their skin from the sun. Hours soon merged into days, then suddenly a week. The sisters gave up hope of finding north, or even dry land again. Charlotte was the first to grow thinner and weaker until she could barely move. She needed help to sit over the edge of the boat to relieve herself. Her ribs began to show, and her arms were so thin that it could have been mistaken for a small tree branch.
Drinking from the sea proved to be dangerous and was always thrown up. However for the famine stricken sisters, it was bittersweet. Sarah’s mouth was dry and her stomach weak. The sun was brutal and seemed to never go down. Sarah’s flesh would burn every day and be tender for hours. The nights were bone chilling and turned charlotte’s palms red, then blue. It wasn’t long before she started moaning from starvation. Charlotte had been told stories of the abolitionists that took in slaves. Afterwards she’d hallucinate. Charlotte often saw land in the distance when she closed her eyes. Then she’d arrive at the house promptly before dusk. They would have a big dinner prepared. She could just smell the fried pork, chicken, mashed potatoes, bread, and collard greens. Just the thought of those foods made her mouth water. But then charlotte would wake up and see a sea of endless nothing. There was only a vast distance of blue finished by a solid black.
The sisters lay naked at times with their clothes resting on top of their bodies. This was to protect their skin from the sun. Yet it was so hot, having exposed flesh would help catch a drifting breeze better. It was only at night they would put their clothes back on and huddle together for warmth because of the chill of the sea with no sun. It had been two weeks since they left the plantation and soon anger arose. The eldest sisters fought over whether they should have left or stayed, or even have gone through the forest. While arguing, young charlotte, whose body now resembled a skeleton covered in a layer of thin dark flesh, stopped moving. Her breath was shallow until her heart stopped. Three quick breaths later and she was dead.
An hour had went by when Emily tried to give her sister sea water to drink. When the child didn’t stir she screamed for Sarah. Frantically they shook her and turned her to her back.
“Wake up sister! Wake up!” screamed the eldest sisters.
Their anger disappeared and blossomed into grief. Tears welded into their naked flesh. Their heads became dizzy and full of regret. They worried what pain their mother would feel. Then another thought surfaced. Their mother helped them escape, surly she was dead. Then the black horizon turned green, they were reaching land.
A Time of Healing
Emily was first to see the land, but was so taken back by grief she did not care. It was Sarah who passed out and slumped over charlotte’s dead body. After an hour of drifting silently in the water, the boat was close enough to land. Emily knew this place was different than the one back at home. The trees were taller, thinner, and the leaves were a lighter green. Even the smell was more distinct and piercing. Not to mention this new place was surrounded by beauty and not plantations where slaves were beaten daily. As defeated as Emily felt, a part of her felt relieved to have found a paradise.
Naked and thin, Emily crawled out the boat and stumbled through the ocean grounded by a grainy floor. She went on her knees and hands then screamed.
“Land! Land! Why did you come so late?” she demanded.
It was then she looked up and saw through the trees, two big hazel eyes. Frightened and confused she lowered her head. Her arms suddenly went limp and her head came to the sand. Grainy and hot, she was one with the sand unable to move. She moaned and soon it all went dark. The eyes through the trees happened to be a young woman of nineteen years. Her hair was long, black, and covered in dyed strips of fabric. She was a tall woman of five feet ten inches. Physically her stomach was flat as a plank of wood. Her breasts were strapped tightly to her body with cloth and that was covered by another tube like top with strings attached to it. The strings were then looped around her neck to keep her top in place.
Her pants were long and tight. They hugged her muscular legs like night air to naked flesh. Her pelvis area was exposed and showed an intricately placed tattoo. It was a deep black with meticulous designs wrapping around her back pelvis to the front. She ran quickly to Emily and turned the woman over. In her arms Emily awoke. She looked up at this woman who was only a year older than she. This woman’s eyes were almond shaped and very large. Her nose was small and lips were large like her eyes. Her top lip however was slightly larger than the bottom and wrinkled a bit when she smiled at Emily.
“Shhhh. You are alive but very thin. I will take care of you,” said the woman in a calm voice.
Emily closed her eyes and the last thing she heard was a loud yell and a clicking sound. When she awoke again her skin had been washed and she was clothed. Laying on a bed she looked around. The walls were numerous round trunks stuck together by strings at the top, middle, and bottom. There were four walls, a triangular ceiling, and a flat plank floor. The room was decorated with furs, a chair, and a few books that were hand made.
Emily sat up and looked around. She then stood quite easily and took off her long beige dress. She prepared herself to see bones, but instead found a fleshy body. Her stomach was larger than before. It then hit her that she had lived and was still pregnant. Tears poured as she remembered all she had lost. Her dearest charlotte. The door then opened. It was the woman who had held her in her arms. The nineteen year old went over to Emily. She picked up the beige dress and helped Emily put it on. She then wiped Emily’s tears with the back of her hands.
“Shhhh. It’s okay. I have someone to show you,” said the woman.
She walked Emily out the room and down winding stairs. The hut they’d been in was up in a tree that had been slightly altered. On the ground Emily’s eyes zeroed in on Sarah. Sarah was draped in a long sleek dress. Emily ran over to her younger sister. She hugged her tight and could feel, with her stomach, a bulge where Sarah’s stomach was. Emily looked at Sarah and smiled.
“I thought we were going to die with no good fortune,” said Emily.
“I’m three months long they said,” said Sarah.
Emily looked around to see numerous women. She then saw the woman who had found her on the beach. The woman went up to her.
“My name is Reka.,” she said.
Then another woman came over. This woman was taller than Reka, and even looked like a slightly older version of her.
“My name is Laymony,” she said in a somber tone.
They were then taken to the beach where many of the other women had gathered. On the sand was a heap of gradually placed wood. On top of the four foot pile was a body wrapped in white cloth soaked in oil and fragrance. The sisters then knew that this was Charlotte.
“Any words?” asked Laymony.
“She was our sister and we loved her very much. We are only sad that she didn’t live long enough to see us here,” said Sarah while holding back her tears.
The two sisters moved closer as the fire was lit by Reka. The wood burned quietly with only calm crackling. Once the fire reached the cloth it burned quickly. The black smoke filled the air as well as the sweet smell of fragrance. With hand in hand, the eldest sisters watched as the body turned into ash along with the wood. Emily’s legs felt light as cotton and gave way to the pressure of her body. She slumped down with legs bent into the sand. Tears flowed heavily. The other women looked on and saw this as a time of healing.
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