Friday, June 18, 2010

Chapter 23

"I saw you at the river yesterday eating figs." "You are the man with the lion." "What am I doing inside this mountain?" "You were caught to be a slave." "But what were you were outside the mountain yesterday." "I was hungry." "How did you escape?" "I used the chisel to break my chain, as you should use to pick out the small rocks and build your pile." "But why did you come back here?" "To eat." "But you were free!" "What is free? I am a slave." Saying nothing further he closed his eyes and curled up his body. I tried to sleep but the sounds coming from him kept me awake. A rattling snore came from deep inside his lungs as he coughed and struggled to breathe. After a sleepless night of hearing the sounds and struggling to ease the bleeding sores on my back, the nightmare of my existence unwittingly proceeded in the worst sort of way. The taskmaster came early with the whip and forced me to my feet with one
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foreboding stare of the eyes. The days blended together becoming one long tormenting fear that my body was spent and could not resist even the most severe torture. The man who ate the figs no longer fought it. His complacently spared him the mental anguish. My dialog with him was useless. He soon forgot about the taste of figs and thought of himself as one who could not provide for himself, even the crust of a bread. He depended on the taskmaster to direct his every hour. The blackness inside the mountain blended together into one continuous day of picking coal until all that mattered to me was the picking and stacking my pile. I one of the black-faced zombies and sweaty bodies who chiseled the mountain in a certain rhythmic patterns. Until one morning when the taskmaster broke the rhythm when he tapped on the shoulders of several workers and took us outside in the daylight.

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