blue moon (2)

Monday, November 22, 2010

Red Clay: Part Eleven ©

Hali sat in his cell, lost in his thoughts.
What was supposed to be a fun time driving to Vegas to take in the sites turned into a life and death situation he barely survived only to end up in jail looking at the possibility of never getting out again.

His dream had been to become a doctor and then going to Africa to help the people there.
As a child his grandmother, his father’s mother had told him how they came from Africa as slaves then had earned their freedom.
She told him that his great great grandfather had been a warrior and a healer among his people and was killed trying to rescue his great great grandmother from the slavers.
Even though he failed to save her and paid for his efforts with his life, it was those same efforts that freed many others who had been captured and heading for slavery that made his name legend among the tribes of Africa.

His great great grandmother had been saved by a Spanish plantation owner on Hispaniola and eventually took her for his wife then adopted his great grandfather as one of his own.
Over the next generations they slowly found their way here to the United States and the freedom they now enjoy.
It still wasn’t perfect but it had come a long way over the decades that passed.

He looked around his cell with its thick bars and open walls, a strange place to be thinking of freedom, yet compared to some other places at least here there was a chance to earn ones freedom through the truth.
What would his great grandfather think of the world today if he were still alive?

The heavy door leading to the cell block opened up and a state trooper came in then opened his cell and asked him to come with him.
This time he was brought to an office where Miller and Grouper were waiting for him.
Sitting down in the chair in front of the desk, Miller passed him a manila envelope and a paper to sign.
Hali picked up the paper and read it, then opened the envelope and poured out his belongings on the desk.
Miller told him that he was free to go.
It seems that even though the Gar Bar was a dump, the owner had installed a camera in the store and everything was on tape, including the gun battle and when he was given the satchel.

A sigh of relief poured out of Hali at that moment.
Miller told him that they would still need to know where he is living so that if they have any more questions they could find him.
Hali gave him his address then got up and walked to the door as he was walking through it Grouper told him that they would have to hold onto the money to see if anyone comes to claim it.
If not it was his.
Hali hadn’t thought about the money, he just wanted to get out of there.
Hali nodded to Grouper acknowledging that he understood then left the station and got into his car.
He started the car and took off towards Vegas and had gone about twenty miles before he pulled over to the side of the road then broke down in a cascade of emotions.
Everything that had happened to him in the last few days came rushing in on him setting his mind ablaze, consuming him all at once and sucking the air out of his lungs, leaving him starving for life.

Rebbecca was walking around the house pointing out to the servants what she wanted done for the up coming New Years celebrations.
She was going to invite everyone she could for a grand soirée on New Years Eve despite the raging war going on now between the states.
The Yankees had invaded with their way of life and now threatened them with violence but she knew the forces of the south would rise and route them in the end, sending them running back north with their tails tucked between their legs.

Little Jonas came running in knocking a table and sending the vase that was on it crashing to the floor.
His mother called to him but he ignored her and kept on running past.
She saw a lot of his father in him and that scared her.
Over the last seven years she saw the other man in her husband, a cruel man and shrewd.
Her love for him had diminished as the other grew more and more turning her love into fear slowly in time but she dared not show it to him.
She told one of the servants to clean up the mess and she continued with what she was doing before.

Jonas was listening to the other plantation owners at the meeting talk about how they were safe from the approaching Federal army.
The army of the confederacy had ten thousand men here to defend them.
Jonas has been in many battles and he knew before the war even started that they had lost, just by the numbers alone they had lost.
He on the other hand had not lost but profited well from this war.

From the beginning Jonas smelled war in the air and sought out to profit from it and he managed that well.
He had taken a trip to New York and sought out to make investments into a couple of foundries that forge out iron.
He knew that lots of iron would be required and when the he returned he carefully invested a little in some of the foundries in the south to show his support for the cause.
He knew the south didn’t have the industrial capability that the north possessed to sustain a long war and as time showed over the last four years he was right in his thinking.

His investments in the north had grown 100 fold and was richer than he could have imagined but he had to get to it first.
With the union army ravaging Georgia he knew it was only time before Sherman’s March to the sea would engulf them here in Savannah and they would take or destroy everything they had.

When the meeting at the town hall ended he went to his office next to the Merchants Bank to have a private meeting with Daniel and Smith.
News had reached them that the union Navy was coming up the coast and would soon blockade Savannah harbor so he wanted Smith to make the Abigail ready for the sea within the week.
Smith got up and left Jonas with Daniel.

Jonas told Daniel to go to the secret hide out and put it to the torch, destroy any evidence of its existence.
Daniel asked about those still there and Jonas told him all evidence was to be destroyed.
Daniel acknowledged his orders and left Jonas alone in his office.
Jonas was becoming weary of Daniel.
Even though he carried his orders out to the letter he hesitated to kill in cold blood when he was ordered to and always questioned the need to kill.
This will be Daniel’s test to see if he is capable to be trusted to carry out all orders he was given.

After Daniel had gone and he was alone in his office, Jonas started putting together his most important papers to take home with him so that when the time came and had to leave they would be close.
He would need these to establish money claims to property he held here and money he had invested in foreign banks.
The rest he didn’t care for, he made more out of the land here for his investment that he would be loosing after the union army came in and burned it all.
He would take his wife and son and go north to live.

Just then he started wondering why he needed to take his wife.
She was becoming more difficult in the last few years plus he had grown tired of her now and wanted something more, with some fire like that slave girl he killed in Hispaniola.

On the ride home he thought about when he should leave, he knew it had to be soon.
At the front of the house he was met by a servant who took his horse to the livery stable to be tended to.
Jonas walked in where another servant took his hat and coat to hand it in the closet.
He found Rebbecca in the study with a couple of servants moving furniture around.
He asked her what they were doing and she told him that they were rearranging the furniture to see how it will all look for the New Years Eve party.
Jonas laughed at her and told the servants to leave the room.
He then proceeded to tell Rebbecca that they will not be here for the party because they would be leaving Savannah within the week.

Rebbecca was surprised to hear him say that and it took her a few seconds to understand what he said before she protested, saying that she will not be leaving her home.
Jonas told her that the union army would be coming soon and they wouldn’t have a home left but Rebbecca insisted that the Confederate forces would repel them and they would be spared.
Jonas laughed at his wife’s naïve words, he told her they were leaving and if she didn’t want to come with him then she could stay behind and watch Savannah burn like Atlanta did.
He turned and walked out of the study then went to find something to eat, maybe a drink as well.

After having something to eat he walked to the stable and had a horse brought to him then rode off to the old Smith estate where the slaves were being kept to have a talk with Simon James.
They walked around the fields with Jonas doing the talking and James listening to what his employer required of him.
After Jonas rode off, he stood there contemplating what he would soon be doing, probably the worse, most vile act he has ever done or will ever commit.
He tucked the purse of gold in his pocket then made his way back to the main house.

Ada was watching Hali playing with Isabella in the garden; soon there will be three of them to run around.
Isabella had her father’s big dark eyes and dark curly hair.
She also possessed his fighting spirit as Hali had found out time and time again.
Hali was growing fast and at 10 years of age he was tall and as he got bigger she could see his father as he had been a boy.

She used to think of Thilivhali sometimes, mostly at night when she looked at the stars in the sky.
They were not the same stars as she was used to seeing as a child in her village but the memories of the past can rearrange even the heavens if she closed her eyes to wish it and once again feel its warmth on her soul.
Part of her still missed him and wished she was back in the jungle with her family but she loved Diego also.

Just then Diego walked into the garden and walked over to the bench Ada was sitting on as she watched the children play.
He sat next to her then reached down and put his hand on her swollen belly, she smiled at him.
Soon there will be another addition to the family.

He wished his parents were here to share all of this with him but life is cruel sometimes and this is a cruel world.
In the Americas a war was raging now between brothers over among other things, slavery.
Over the years he had learned to hate slavery and wouldn’t wish it on himself or any of his family.
Even though he was a slave owner he strived to treat them as he would any employee and there were no locks or chains keeping them here.
He believed if he treated them with respect they would stay on their own accord and at least live a better life than they might have elsewhere, like Haiti.

The current conflict in the Americas was also hurting the export of sugar as the piles grew in his warehouses.
They have been forced to sell for a lesser price just to make room for the next harvest.

Diego put his arm around Ada and watched the kids playing along with her.
Dakarai walked out to join them in the garden.
At nineteen he towered over Diego and was a hansom man in his white cotton shirt and pants.
Baba stood not to far from them, waiting.
In seven years Baba looked like he hadn’t aged a day.

Dakarai looked at both his adoptive parents and told them that he would be leaving to go to Haiti with Baba.
There were things he needed to see and learn that were on the other side of the island so he was going with Baba.
Diego looked over at Baba standing stoically off to the side.

Baba walked over to them and told Diego that he had taught Dakarai as much as he could but now there were things he had to learn through practical use and it applications.
Dakarai had learned his lessons well as all the teachers the Diego had hired to teach him had reported.
He always had a gift for learning and helped Diego around the plantation with some of his ideas and thoughts.
Diego was beginning to rely on his thoughts more and more but he also understood that there came a time when one has to go out and seek more if that’s what they need to do.

Diego asked them when they were planning on leaving and Dakarai said in three days.
Ada protested and said they couldn’t leave until his brother or sister was born.
Dakarai looked over at Baba and he nodded in agreement and Dakarai smiled back at Ada.
Three weeks later a new voice filled the hacienda welcoming Domingo into his new world.

Daniel rode into the yard and flew off his horse as he ran to the house to tell Jonas the news that the Union navy was spotted not far and would be outside of Savannah in a day at the most.

This didn’t give him much time.
He told Daniel to ride to Savanna and tell Smith to load as much cotton the Abigail could handle and to be ready to sail this evening.
He then told him to go to the plantation and to tell James to do what he told him to do and that he was to help James with it.

Jonas walked into the house and call for all the servants.
He told them they were to go to the Smith estate for their own safty and the union army was about to attack Savannah.
They all rushed out the door and ran to the get the wagon for the trip to the other site.
Rebbecca came in and asked him what was going on.
Jonas told her that Sherman was a week away and the Union Navy was about to close up the harbour so they were leaving.

Rebbecca again said she wouldn’t leave and that General Hardee would keep Sherman out.
Jonas told her he was leaving and taking the boy with him, she could stay and be damned if she so chose then turned to go and pack what he would need to start with.
All this around him he could replace as long as he had money and there was plenty waiting for him in New York.
Rebbecca told him her son was staying with her and if he wanted to run like the coward that he was he was to go now without the two of them.

Daniel rode into Savannah and sent one of his men out to the plantation to tell James to follow the orders he had been given and that he would be up there later in the day to help him with the rest then went to the harbour to relayed the message to Smith.
He decided to grab something to eat before getting a fresh horse from the stable and riding off to the Smith Estate.

Savannah was a buzz with the impending battle.
General Hardee with 10,000 men were dug in front of Savannah waiting for Sherman’s forces to arrive.
The confederates had flooded the rice fields leaving only strips of ground for the Union Army to use funneling them into the confederate guns.
This looked good on paper unless the union forces didn’t attack and just lay seige on Savannah pounding into submission with cannon fire.

Finishing his meal, daniel mounted a fresh horse and headed out towards the Smith Estate.
As he trotted along, the last eight years slowly flashed through his mind.
He had done a lot of bad things in the last few years, some he didn’t approve of and even though he had others do the really dirty work his hands were still as bloody for sending them and in a few cases, standing by to witness acts he didn’t agree with.

He knew his employer was a ruthless man when they first met but learned how cruel and inhumane he could be over the last few years.
He held no respect for human life what so ever and knew that if he wasn’t careful he might find himself on the receiving end of his masters rage, or amusement.

As he rode closer to the plantation he noticed smoke in the distant sky and put the horse into a gallop.
When he reached the front gates he slowed down to a walk and moved through the thick smoke that impaired his vision.
He began to sweat from the heat emitted by the burning house and surrounding buildings, what had happened here he thought.
Had the federals reached here already?

Getting off the horse he led the way for the hesitant horse who didn’t like the look of the fires burning around him.
As he walked around the barn Daniel froze in his tracks.
The barn door was open and he could see inside it and what he saw made his stomach turn and almost threw up.

He walked closer to the burning barn and could see slaves hanging by their necks from the rafter.
Men, woman and children all hung there like meat in a slaughter house.
A scream pierced the air and Daniel quickly moved into the barn and looked from where the scream had come.

Flames had filled the barn, fueled by the dry hay as it climbed the dry timber walls.
James was standing in the corner with a machete raised and ready to come down on a young slave girl clutching onto a new born.
Daniel yelled at him to stop, James looked at him and said it was Jonas’ orders to kill all the slaves.
They were his property and wanted them desposed of so the Yankees wouldn’t free them then turned to strike down at the girl.

Daniel drew his pistol and told James to leave the girl alone.
James looked back at him and laughed.
James told Daniel that Jonas told him the he didn’t have the stomach for this work and he was to teach Daniel how it was done then quickly turned and slashed down at the girl but the girl quickly moved over causing him to miss, but Daniel didn’t.

Daniel’s bullet exploded from his pistol sending more smoke to mingle with the smoke from the burning world around him.
It hit it’s marked snapping James’ spine in two leaving him in a heap on the ground.
Daniel went to the girl and slowly extended his hand out to her.
Taking the girl while she held the baby they both ran out of the burning building and into the courtyard.

Daniel put her on his horse then turned to go around to the other side to mount when he stopped in his tracks.
He looked down at the pitchfork sticking into his chest.
His eyes followed the handle up to the hands of a young black man he had only seen once before at Jonas’ house.
He wished he never had left Maine.

Jonas grabbed the boy and marched to the front door and sent him to the awaiting carriage then turned back and lit a kerosene lamp before smashing it along the wall next to the widow and curtains.
He was going to leave nothing of his for anyone to take, he went to his office and picked up the satchel and then walked out the from door to the waiting carriage and drove off.
Behind him his house was burning to the ground with Rebbecca’s strangled body laying at the foot of their bed.

Jonas got into Savannah at dusk and drove straight to the harbour.
There he found Smith on the Abigail and ordered him to set sail for England.
Smith turned to set sail and then stopped at the door after looking around and asked about his wife.
Jonas told him she wanted to stay behind to fight the Yankees.

As the Abigail pulled out of the harbour the water to the bow erupted with a cascade of water and a loud noise reached their ears from behind.
Jonas and Smith looked behind them and there were three union ships bearing down on them trying to stop them from escaping Savannah.
Jonas ordered all the sails to be unfurled and hoped they were not to weighed down to escape as another volley passed over head.


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Oh shoot...already on Part Eleven. I've really got to get caught up. Darn my busy schedule as of late. Thanks for posting these. The background music is a perfect accompaniment to the story.