Camille closed her eyes for another indeterminate amount of time; it may have been minutes, it may have been hours.  She concentrated on keeping her stomach settled and keeping her mind away from an endless stream of tormenting thoughts.

The lower deck was quiet and dark.  She could hear the lapping of the waves against the sturdy hull of the ship.  Another prisoner, somewhere off to her left, was weeping gently.  Others groaned in sync with the rocking of the ship.

Without warning, the small panel that served as a door to the tiny room was wrenched open, letting sunlight pour into the black room.  Camille squinted her eyes as they burned from the abrubt change.  She could make out a figure standing in the entrance; the silhouette of a burly man.

"Up!  Up!  We're te make port in a few minutes."  He began making his way around the small room, untying each captive.  He screwed up his face at the stench and pulled a handkerchief over his nose as protection.

He finally made his way to Camille.  He leered at her in the half light. "Ye once was a pretty 'ting, to be sure."

Camille ignored the comment.  She knew she looked a wreck.  Her once beautiful dress was now reduced to rags and filth from the journey.  She had no other belongings. "Where will they bring us now?"  It felt strange to use her voice.  It must have been weeks since she last spoke.

"Te the market te sell ye off."

He finally released her hands. The skin on her wrists was nearly chafed away from the rough ropes but it felt good to be able to rub them.  She began to rise but her legs were weak.  She held firm to the wall for support.  Some of the elders and diseased couldn't move at all.  She supposed one of the men would be down with a strap soon enough to give them a lashing and get them moving.

Those who could, followed the man out of the room and up to the main decks in single file.  The bright blue sky looked beautiful and familiar.  The fresh air felt like a flood of new life into her lungs.  Camille very nearly smiled.

Others were yelling at them now; shouting at them to behave, to keep quiet, to follow orders, to not make any trouble.  Camille blocked them all out.  She was staring out over the bow of the ship. 


The End

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