Saturday, June 12, 2010

Chapter 22

A sense of eeriness swept over me. Still, I waited for the sun to declare daylight and open with songbirds. Instead I heard the whistling sound of an arrow whiz beside my ear, then the sound of feet running through the grove towards me and began to run but a horde of woolley head warriors overtook me. One of them fixed the tip of an arrow to my throat. I remember gasping for air before fainting. I awoke to a stabbing pain in my arms and legs while being dragged along the mountain path into a cave. The warriors dragged me deep inside until there was nothing but blackness and the sound of axes breaking rock. A stout taskmaster stood glaring down at me with his mischievous brown eyes while a heavy ball and chain was fixed to my leg. He had black woolley hair and a wirey beard which fell over his navel. He had a fat nose and thick lips and his voice was gruff. He threw a pix axe and chisel at my feet. "Pix!" He ordered. When I did not respond he uncoiled a long raping whip and struck several blows across my back. "Pix!" I dragged myself to a wall of rock and mimicking the other workers began chipping and prying out rocks of black bituminous coal. A steady stream of soot floated throughout the cavern and choked in my lungs. At the end of the shift my eyes bured red with soot and a fierce spell of coughing and spitting rattled my innards. There was but a small stack of rocks. The man with the whip came again and lashed me until blood sores appeared. A bread basket of loaves was passed to all who rested. "What is wrong?" I asked a man sitting on the floor eating his bread. "Too little," he answered, pointing to my pile of rocks. "Tis aye high." He pointed to a stack as tall as himself. I shook my head. "You will be whipped every day until you do." "Why did they not take my sword?" He laughed. "That is noot sword. A sword be this wide." He gave three inches with his thumb." Warning: US and International Copyright Restrictions Apply.

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