My Exploding Cat

Just stories and drawings really, no actual fissile felines.

Chapter 24

What happened next was something that none of them could have predicted. The feeling lingered, especially that of being watched. The wind had stopped out of fear. That happened about once in a century. Daniel’s group decided to take a 90-degree turn away from whatever.
They kept walking, and eventually heard coins. Then they heard a cry of pain. Tress and Messenger, having spent time in the Mirrorworld often, knew exactly what was going on. Daniel and Sophie, being from America, where slavery is banned, didn’t.
Because this was an illegal spot in the jungle (it was so deep that no citizen was allowed to go in, let alone map it and cut down trees to make such an area). As was hinted, this was a slave trading area, and the sound of people talking immediately drew the group in – they hadn’t seen civilization for longer than they preferred.
The slave trader had a humongous, dripping sandwich. He denied an answer to the few slaves who dared to ask where he got it. Daniel and the others decided to scope the area for food.
Daniel wandered off, looking at the rows of slaves. Most weren’t particularly young, but at the far end there was a boy who was… well, a boy. He looked to be about ten years old, and was being squinted at critically by a griping old woman who chose the wrong hair dye.
“Still,” she said, “You’re the best of these mangy brats I’ve seen so far. If I don’t find a better one, you’re going to come home with me. Which is something know you don’t deserve, but I’ll do it anyway.” She sniffed and sauntered away. Daniel felt immediate sympathy.
No, he doesn’t deserve that. He should be treated better – what did he do? Daniel thought.
Daniel found the merchant. “How much for the little boy?”
“Wot?” the merchant said, whirling and trailing slobber and condiments. He seemed to be eating the sandwich even as he muttered the word.
Daniel remembered how slaves were normally treated. Duh. “How much for the shrimpy one?”
“Huuuuuh. Shell hym for a pyunny.” He slurped up the drool that was about to land on his shirt. Daniel took the man’s penny.
He hurried back across the trade center. “Quick, lad! That trader won’t think twice before selling you to that old woman even after selling you to me! We’ve got to make away with our lives now before that crone kills us off!”
He dragged the boy away with remarkable speed. Daniel saw that on the boy’s hand was written, “Won Pyunny.” Daniel swiftly removed a bottle of water from his pack and washed it off. Then he found a heavy stick and gave it to the boy. Surprisingly, the kid could lift it.
“What is your name?”
“I don’t have one. Everyone just seems to call me ‘slave.’”
“Well, that won’t work. I’ll call you… Keith. Keith sounds right.”
“Why?”
“Because I’m getting you out of here and free. You’ll get killed otherwise. You’re too young to have to do this. We have to get you out and make you look normal.”
“Master, I need to tell you–”
“I’m not Master. I’m Daniel. You are not a slave now, you’re a fighter. But right now, you’re an escaping fighter. Get on with it, we need to go faster!”
Sophie ran up. “There’s not a scrap of food on this plot of land that isn’t more heavily guarded than a pile of gol– Who’s this?”
Daniel cast a glance at the boy.
“Slavery is immoral,” Sophie said.
“Exactly,” Daniel said. “Tell you later, we need to get out now. I just saw the lady see us.”
“The lady?”
“Just get outta here! We need to find this kid some clothes.” Daniel got an idea. “Get the rest of the group together, now.”
“Okay. SPEAKERPHONE!”
Immediately everyone rushed to a tree. The tree had a red X on it in permanent marker. Sophie grinned.
“I am a firm believer in code words.”

This entry was posted on Monday, December 28th, 2009 at 7:37 pm and is filed under Mirrorworld. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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