I knew I was in
trouble from the expression on her face. I never should have given Amy lip
about chopping wood all day. She clearly doesn't stand for any back talk, and I
spent the rest of the day wondering exactly what was meant when she hissed
something through pursed lips about how I was going to pay for my back talk at
the hands of George. Who was George and how was I going to pay?
So, I worked a
little harder at chopping than I otherwise might have that afternoon, thinking
that a show of hard work might make things ok. I wanted to share my unease with
Pat, but she was working in the kitchen and I dared not leave my post. By the time
the workday was over I had chopped a tidy pile of wood. My back ached from the
effort, but I figured I had done well and Amy would have nothing to complain
Before dinner each
day all the slaves assembled on the plantation green or "quad" facing
the big house. I arrived a little late and hastened to take my place near the
end of the third rank, inserting myself between two of the larger slaves and
making myself as inconspicuous as possible.
The owner, whom
everyone referred to as Master Charles, and his wife Sarah came out of the
house. They took their customary places on the porch facing the assembly, and
Sarah began to speak ... nattering on about duty
and obedience. I paid little attention, thinking instead about my growing
hunger following a day of toil and of the prospect of dinner, until I heard the
words, "Barbara go stand next to the post."
It was only then,
in my bewilderment at hearing my name that I became aware of the heavy post
that stood sunk into the ground a short distance in front of the assembled slaves
... and of its leather manacles dangling from a rope over a pulley at its top.
The purpose of that post suddenly dawned on me like a ton of bricks.
Someone ... one of
the other slaves ... gave me a shove. Slowly I made my way forward, Amy's
threat that I would pay for my insolence rushing through my mind. My God, they
are going to have me whipped, I thought. Tears welled up in my eyes. I began to
Sure enough, on
reaching the pole I was told by Sarah that I was to be whipped before the
assembled slaves, that I would receive a dozen lashes, and that I was to strip
I was stunned.
Here in front of everyone and naked! I began to protest, blubbering and crying
at the same time.
Not knowing what
else to do, I began to slowly strip, embarrassed at the thought of hundreds of
eyes following my every move, just as the eyes of those buyers had done when Pat
and I had been ordered to strip at the slave auction.
Piece by piece I
removed my clothing, pressed on by Sarah's impatient threats of additional
lashes. I took off my blouse, dropped my skirt and finally shed my panties. Completely
naked, shivering, nipples hard and erect in the cool evening air, shyly covering
my crotch with my hands, tears running down my cheeks, I waited apprehensively
for what might happen next.
A burly man,
stripped to the waist, muscles bulging on chest and arms, stepped forward from
somewhere to grasp my wrists. This has got to be the one Amy mentioned ... the one
she called George, I thought, as he brusquely turned me about to face the post,
shackled my wrists and pulled them up over my head ... stretching me out until
I was on my toes. When he had finished I hung helpless and exposed against the
whipping post ... it's worn, dark stained surface pressed between the soft
yielding flesh of my upturned breasts and caressing my flattened tummy.
I was ready.
George marched off to take his place behind me, carrying a wicked looking
braided leather whip in his right hand. Nervously, I looked over my shoulder at
him as he paced off the requisite number of steps and turned to face me. He
nodded his readiness to the plantation owners on the porch.
I held my breath,
gritted my teeth and braced myself for the first lash. I heard the crack of the
whip at the same time I felt a fiery pain rip across my bare back, the force of
the lash slamming me up hard against the post. I gasped, stunned by how much it
hurt. It was far worse than I had imagined. How could I take eleven more like
that, I wondered? But before I could recover from the shock and pain, George
delivered in quick succession a second lash ...and then a third.
I tried to twist
about, to somehow offer less of a target to George's whip arm than the whole of
my back, but the manacles and the post defeated any attempt at evasion. I could
only face the post straight on and accept the full force of each lash. Resigned
to my fate, I took three more across my back ...moaning, whimpering and begging
for mercy in the brief space of time between each stroke.
That was six. He
had finished with my back. It stung like hell and I could feel the warmth of a
trickle of blood as it snaked its way down my spine. I looked up at the porch. Sarah's
face was hideously aglow as she stared at me with some kind of strange fascination.
Her husband's trousers bulged with obvious arousal. In a moment of clarity of thought,
I wondered what kind of people would take such obvious delight in my suffering?
After a brief
pause, the remaining six were delivered, this time to my bare little ass ...
the pale white flesh of which bounced, shook and quivered with each cruel lash.
The force of the assault drove my bone up hard against the unyielding post.
Suddenly fearful that George might get it into his head to send an underhanded
slash between my legs, I squirmed and pressed my thighs together. But thankfully
It was over.
Charles dismissed the slaves, who wandered off to have their dinner, chatting
among themselves as though nothing untoward had just happened. I was left hanging
at the post, sobbing my heart out until everyone had gone.
Only then did
George, who had been silent through the whole proceeding, say anything, telling
me as he took me down from the post and carried me toward the slave quarters
that I had done well, that I took my whipping bravely, and that I should feel
fortunate to have gotten away with a mere dozen lashes rather than the usual
That night as I
lay naked in our little cabin on our straw mattress, Pat applied salve to the
angry red welts crisscrossing my back and ass cheeks. As she rubbed the soothing
lotion in, I turned to her and said, "We gotta
get out of this place! Look what they did to me! And that George said this is
nothing. That Amy is a bad one, mom! And Sarah isn't any better. This is no
place for us. Come on, let's escape and make our way back home."
I expected some
resistance. Pat doesn't ordinarily like to make waves. She is as compliant by
nature as I am rebellious. But to my surprise, she readily agreed.
We waited till
nightfall. As soon as we could leave under cover of darkness we stole out of
the cabin. Everyone was asleep already. Tomorrow was another day that promised the
slaves nothing but hard grueling labor. Slipping away was easy. Remarkably
there was nothing to stop us. Obedience and duty, as Sarah had said, ruled the
lives of slaves in our brave new world.
As Pat and I crept
past the big house, all the lights had gone out with the exception of the one
in the bedroom window on the second floor, through which I caught a fleeting
glance of what could only be Charles and Sarah locked in sensual embrace before
slowly reclining out of sight. I poked Pat and pointed at the window, she
looked up and smiled.
We continued on
around the corner of the house ... the gate to the plantation loomed up before
us. We quickened our pace, freedom within sight, but suddenly stopped dead.
We had seen the glow
of a cigarette. Pat immediately crouched down, tugging me down beside her. We
peered ahead through the gloom. Whoever it was, he was about to take another
drag on his cigarette. The glow briefly illuminated his face ... it was
George!!! He looked over our way, a knowing expression on his face.
There would be no
escape that night. Stealthily we withdrew. Whether he had seen us or not was
difficult to know. But we could well imagine that he was expecting us. That
thought sent a shiver down my spine.