Moving away, I hurry off towards the docks with Sarah, Martha and Toby.
Salty air once again fills my lungs and horrible memories fill my mind. Screams and moans ring in my ears, darkness emphasizing the sound. I screw my eyes shut, opening them after a moment or two. I cannot think about that anymore. There is a job to do and I cannot drive myself insane by thinking about it any more than necessary.
Men clutter the raised wooden floor above the roaring, foaming water of the wide river I was brought here on that stands in the distance. There are many heated conversations happening. One voice rises above the rest.
“I heard they finally captured Pirate Black Jack Bairstow! Not only that, but they are going to hang him from the gallows now!”
Heads turn to stare at the origin of the voice. There is a silent moment where even the water seems to be muted. All in a split second, all the men became a huge mass of moving bodies, barrelling towards us. There is no room to move in, or even any time to get out of the way.
Bodies are crushed and carried far from where they started. Confusion masks any attempted order: this is my chance.
Fighting against the flow of people, I search for Sarah, Martha and Toby.
Near the edge of the crowd I spot Toby. He is sent flying from the crowd and into a cart, which has previously been knocked over, apples still rolling from the cart. He does not look able to get up. This truly is my chance. Without the overseer watching, I can escape and be free!
Rushing back through the oncoming crowd, I find Martha and Sarah. Dragging them to the other side of the crowd, I turn to speak to them.
“Toby is not watching. Everyone is excited. This is finally our chance!” I say excitedly.
“Our chance for what?” says Martha. “A chance to escape?” I nod furiously.
“We will be caught. If we are caught, our owner will have one of our feet chopped off. It has happened before,” continues Sarah. “But if we stay here and wait for Toby, letting you escape, the worst we will get is a flogging for not telling someone. Our chances are better if we stay here.”
“Fine. I wish you both the best of luck.” No amount of persuasion will be able to change their minds, I can tell that now. I cannot expect everyone I meet to take every opportunity, or to be as brave and face the odds, even when they are against them.
“You also,” say Sarah and Martha in unison.
With a respectful nod of the head, I run off, away from the crowd. As I am running, I force myself to think logically.
Where will I be best surviving?
No, there is nowhere to hide but the canoe houses. I am not willing to go through that again.
How about the next town over?
I rule that out almost as soon as I think of it. I will be recaptured and brought back to the master and mistress. I do not want my foot to be cut off.
Perfect. I can hide easily, I can hunt for food and I do not have to depend on anyone but myself.
Still running, I head towards a colossal stretch of trees. My feet feel cut up and painful as they pound on the sharp stones covering the track towards the forest.
Looking back, I cannot see anyone following me. Good. It has not been realised that I have run away yet.
I see the edge of the forest seemingly a fingertips touch away. My mind is cast back to when I was captured. I was this close to freedom. Once again, I had that opportunity to be free, to live however I wanted to live.
They will realise that I am not just some puppet they can toy around with. I am a real person, just like all the other captured Africans.
I hope that my escape will be something to inspire those of the Africans that are captured against their will. As I stand here now, looking back at the town and the life I managed to escape from, I can only hope that others will be able to join me in being free. I want them to know that as they slave hard over whatever jobs they are forced to do; there should always be hope.
Sometimes hope is hard to find, other times near impossible. There should always be hope.
They are people who have hopes and dreams, aspirations. They are not alone in this world. They shall fill my every waking moment. Even if I cannot do anything about it, I will certainly try.