Thursday, 2 October 2014

Thursday Taster - Slave #4

A quick glimpse into Will's past. Check out all the tasters on the blog.

Will tried to remember ever having anyone stand up for or cover for him. There was no one. “She’ll be whipped. They both will.”
Sophia frowned. “You speak like you want that. Do you? Hasn’t there been enough whipping?”
He hung his head, remembering how badly he was bleeding when Sophia bought him. She had been returning from a party and heard his screams from the street. That fact still shamed him. She had stormed in and demanded to know what price Mister Green wanted for him. It hadn’t stopped two more blows from old Jim’s hand. The master hadn’t ordered him to stop.
Sophia stopped him. He remembered the awe in all three men’s faces when her hand stopped Jim’s from descending.
“I will buy him. Fair price. What do you ask for the boy?” Her voice had been colder than the snow in the air.
“That boy ain’t worth two cents,” Mister Green had spat.
“Sold.” Before the master could argue, she’d handed over a nickel. “There, double your price. She reached her hand back toward him. “Do you need help?”
He’d brushed her hand aside, standing on wobbling knees. His chest bled where the whip had torn it open. His back was bleeding too. He stooped slightly, shuffling, but he left the stable on his feet.
“William?” Sophia asked, bringing him back to the present. “Don’t you think there’s been enough whipping?”
His eyes hardened. She could dress him up, teach him to read, even teach him table manners for fancy guests, but he’d always be a slave. He’d be beneath her and the other masters in this house. “A slave needs to be beaten, broken,” he argued, remembering his father’s teaching. “We fight because we believe we can. We need to be shown we can’t.”
Sophia’s expression was so sad. It made Will’s heart hurt. He clenched his jaw and fought the weak emotion.
“That’s what that was about?” she asked, pointing in the direction of the room where the slave had hung. “You were showing her she can’t fight?”
He nodded. “Exactly. Showing her what she is worth, what she can expect.” He slouched in the chair. “It’s easier when you know what to expect.”
Sophia shook her head, muttering again. “I suppose that’s true. We’re trying to show Betsy that she can expect something else.”
“Why?” he asked. “Nothing's gonna change.” He stood. “I’d like to go to bed now.” They didn’t usually stop him when he chose to retire for the night, as long as he was up at dawn to clean the many rooms of the house.
Sophia sighed. “Of course. You won’t be asked to do that again,” she said.
“I understand.”
He turned to look at Sophia. She was so small compared to him. He was still growing, but already her head barely reached his shoulders. “Yes, Ma’am?”
“Nothing.” Her expression was one of disappointment. He felt an odd pang; he had done something to make her uneasy.

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