She ran to the stone. It was her escape from her world. She always made sure she was alone before she clung to its sides, said the words and was transported to another world—a world where slavery didn’t exist. One of these days, she would remain there and never return to her life as a slave.
The coast was clear. She held on to the sides, recited the words and poof…she was gone.
When she reached the other side, it was in a wide, open field with wild flowers, their sweet scent filling her senses. She laughed and ran among them, stopping to pick some until she had a bouquet. She twirled around like a ballerina, her long skirt bustling about her ankles, the sunshine warming her face. Giddy, she dropped to the ground. She lay on her back in the emerald green grass, staring up at the sky. Yes, one of these days, she was going to leave her other life for good.
Suddenly a figure materialized in front of her. She sat up, shocked and afraid. “What-what are you doing here?” she asked. How on earth did he get here and how come she didn’t see him. She was positive that she was alone.
“I followed you,” he informed her, his blue eyes narrowing as they traveled over her. He reached down to help her up but she pushed his hands away.
She scrambled to her feet, her heart pounding. This was all wrong, she thought in desperation. He wasn’t supposed to be here. “You don’t belong here,” she told him. “In this world there’s no hate or whippings or slave or master…”
“That kind of world doesn’t exist,” was his harsh reply. “It only exists in your pretty little head. And no world can keep me from finding you. Face it, Rashida, there’s no escape from me. You belong to me. The sooner you accept that, the better it will be for you.”
“No!” she cried. “I belong to no one, especially not to you. I hate you. You are a wicked and cruel man. I would rather die than be with you.”
His face hardened and reaching out, he caught hold of her wrist, his grip tightening as she struggled. “You belong to me. I bought you.”
“I don’t belong to you. I belong to God. He bought me at a price that you could never afford.”
His face suffused with color. “I don’t want to hear any preaching from you, girl. You’re coming back to the plantation with me now.”
“No!” She managed to free herself from him and gathering up her skirt, she ran as fast as she could across the field. She didn’t stop running until she was sure that he wasn’t following her. Exhausted from running, she leaned against a tree to catch her breath.
She couldn’t go back to her old world but she couldn’t stay in this one either. He knew where to find her. There seemed to be no escape from him. She meant it. She would rather die than be with him. She couldn’t bear the thought of him touching and kissing her. It filled her with disgust. Disgust at herself for wanting the man she despised. Even as she hated when he went in onto her in the nights when everyone was asleep, she didn’t lie there like a log, wishing for it to be over. She clung to him and gave herself to him. In the mornings, she was filled with self-recrimination.
There was only one way out of this dreadful situation but she was a Christian. If she took her life, she would end up in Hell. The thought of burning forever terrified her. Dejected, she knew what she had to do. Moving away from the tree, she returned to where she’d left him. He was still there. “I knew you’d come back,” he said smugly. “You can’t run away from me, Rashida. You belong at the plantation with me. I’ve been good to you, haven’t I? It was I who taught you how to read and write.”
She didn’t answer. She let him put his arm around her shoulders and take her back to the other world where the plantation was. Her dream of leaving it was now in vain. She resigned herself to life as his slave and concubine.
The stone remained there, timeless and neglected. She never went near it again. It was pointless.