More Rough Work

More Rough Work

by Adam Huddleston

Here is the next scene from last week’s submission.

Several rats scampered in front of Jack’s cart as he wheeled it behind the tiny shack.  Before he had even rounded the corner, a rough voice growled at him from inside.

“You better have had a good day, Boy, or this whip is gonna drink tonight!”

The hairs on the back of the young man’s neck stood out and he flinched.  He had suffered Carson’s beatings for several years, and unless he was blessed with a miracle from the royal court, he would continue to; possibly until his miserable life ended and a new slave took his place.

“The day was profitable, sir.  I nearly sold out of the jelly-fruits.  The middle of the day was too hot to-”

“Shut your mouth, whelp! I took a trip into town today to witness your fine vending skills.  All I saw you doing was eyeing the little tart across from you!”

Jack’s face reddened and he took a half-step towards his master.

“Oh?  So the little spit wants to fight me?  You forget your place, but that’ll soon be remedied.”

Carson grabbed a thick, leather whip from a hook on the wall and a fireplace poker that had been resting in the hut’s modest hearth.  He took a threating step toward his slave and held the weapons up.  Jack could see the poker’s red-hot tip reflected in Carson’s eyes.

“Which shall it be?  Leather or fire?”

Jack lowered his head and backed up until he bumped up against the door.

“My…apologies, sir.  I meant no offense.  I know my place, I do.”

Carson lowered the items for a brief moment, then rushed forward with them raised.  Jack spun and ducked, at the same moment grasping the doorknob and twisting it fervently.  Carson slammed into him and the pair went sprawling out onto the front yard.

The poker landed in a dry patch of grass and in an instant, the lawn was ablaze.  Carson jumped on top of his slave and began choking him with hands that were seemingly too large.  Jack’s eyes bulged from their sockets.  A loud crack came from behind the struggling pair.

“The hut,” Jack gurgled through his ever-tightening throat.

Carson turned his head to see his home going up in flames. He jumped off of his victim and stood, looking in amazement as the shack and all of his belongings were destroyed.

Jack slowly rose to a pair of feet that were beyond wobbly. With his master’s attention turned elsewhere, he took his once chance to escape.  Stumbling off into the darkness, Jack headed for the woods on the other side of the dirt road.  With any luck, he might make it to Mary’s house before collapsing.

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