HIS HAND CAME DOWN UPON MY CHEEK HARD AND FAST. Stunned, I staggered backward.
“Look at all dis cotton you left behind, gal!” I looked up to see the overseer’s hand nearing my face again. I flinched as he smacked me once more, sending me to my knees. I stared at the ground, seven years’ worth of hard labor in the fields burning under my veil of obedience.
“Next time I find you skippin’ ova cotton like it don’t matta nothin’ in the world to you, you gonna find yo’self beaten, gal, you understand me?”
I AWOKE WITH A START. MARY WAS SHAKING ME SO HARD I felt dizzy.
“Sarah, chile, get up! Missus want you workin’ in the house.”
“Doin’ what?” I asked with a wide yawn, wondering why Mary was trying to wake me before my usual morning hour.
“Jus’ normal housework firs’ part’ve the day, an’ back in the fields fo’ the rest,” Daniel explained for her. He was always up earlier than the two of us, carving something out of wood. I lifted myself slowly from under the rags that served as my blanket and gazed at my brother.