Amazing Kids! Magazine

A Master’s Daughter

By Lizzie Feeney, age 13

 

Papa never truly revealed where our wealth came from. We were clothed in grandiose cloaks in the winter time, when snow blanketed the crops, and beautiful pieces of cloth and satin garments wrapped around our necks when the trees began to bloom. Food was always set on our extensive wooden table, and our expansive property stretched farther then I really knew.

My immature mind was always filled with thoughts about the people who could be seen working dusk till dawn with the cotton. They eyes sunken, and expressions stoic in the burning sun. As the sun grew dimmer, and the sky began to paint itself with stars, they would file into the small wooden houses on the corner of the plantation. Murmurs would spread across the men and women, but would be silenced by the barking orders coming from Papa’s mouth. A strange feeling overtook me as I watched father yell, but I did not react. I turned my back, and walked to my bedroom.

One early June morning, when the birds were chirping from the oak trees and the light shown through our thin glass windows, I was sent to fetch soap to clean the soiled fabrics. As I walked, humming a lullaby that was sung to me as a baby, my eyes were drawn to a row of cotton to the left of me. A small group of the strange men and women that shared my farm were crowded among the dirt. Worried chatter spread amongst them, a tense tone buzzing through the air. I approached the crowd, words bubbling to the surface of my brain. My small feet made quick haste, and heads turned as the sound reached their ears. I drew closer, and their expressions took on a more fearful turn the closer I got. I began to speak, wanting to ask what was happening, but before I spoke, as I reached out to touch one of the men, the circle broke. They flew from their perches, dashing back to the crops, haphazardly picking the plants with a newfound panic. All without making a single sound. My head whipped around as I watched, the chaos that had just taken place leaving no signs. Confused, I returned to where, below me an elderly man, lay still in

the dirt. Scars lined his rugged back, angry and glowing a hateful red. His ribs protruded from his abdomen, skin stretched and frail. Hair was tangled around his shoulder, vines creeping from his scalp. His eyes were closed, occasionally fluttering while shut. Small breaths came from his bare chest, as his lungs collapsed back and forth.

A hand stretched out, my hand, and my knees sank to the ground. My skin made contact with his rough hands, and a flinch shook through his small body. I drew my hand back, scared and unsure as to what actions to take. I worried about the health of the old man, and I knew that if I called Papa something bad would come out of it. I reached behind me, my small hand clasping the canteen that was tied with the bow next to my apron. The water shifted inside, cooling my sweating palms. I yanked, and the tie came loose as well as the string to my apron, and

the fabric loosened and shifted across my front. The top popped off, and fell to the ground, but became unknown to me as it dropped. I took the liquid, and slowly at first, poured some of the water onto his skin. I pooled off of his shoulders, trailing down to his neck and down his chest. I tipped the canteen farther, and more continued to spill forth. His dreaded hair grew wet, matting to his dark skin. As I kept going, I noticed his eyes had opened, revealing dark green irises peering up towards me. They were wide, struck with fear, yet he did not speak a word.

I left soon after the man rose from the cotton, a strange and hesitant look painted across his face. I returned to my room, and carried on my day, but thoughts of what occurred still remained inside my head.

After a few days, while I was skipping stones outside by the barn, I saw my father dragging a frail man down towards the road. I recognized him to be the same elder that was in the dirt, yet he had more bruises and fresh wounds spread across his body as if he was a living mosaic. His feet hung low to the rocks as Papa’s harsh feet accompanied him. I heard mutters from my father, and I listened closely, drawing further towards the two to here what had happened. Slaves takin up all my money, wasting away. Worthless. Shoulda gotten rid a ya a long time ago. My eyebrows furrowed at the words, a strange feeling digging a put inside my stomach. My weight hit a fallen tree branch, making a small crack emerge. I stopped, paranoid that Papa would see me. But he didn’t. He continued to drag the man, holding his slim wrists in his rough and corrugated hands. But two eyes turned, the same two that had gazed up at me when I poured the water upon him. A thousand words were spoken through the look we shared, until he was swung up onto the road right by the side of my Papa. I did not understand what was happening. I only knew that there was pain, there was anguish inside of that man. Yet I did not know why. So, I did not speak. I did not run towards the man, or attempt to help him. No. I turned, facing my back towards what was taking place. I walked past the cotton fields, towards the door to the house. I grabbed the handle, and pushed. Stepped in, and closed it. I never saw that man again.

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