We return to Michael, who is in trouble. Tell me when he deflates.
Three weeks later, a bustling African port
After nearly a month alone in the African wilderness, Michael was relieved to run into some form of civilization. He was so exhausted that he felt as if he had died of it at least once already during the trip, but had been brought back to life with one command in his memory: Walk! Walk! Walk!
He didn’t look too impressive either: definitely not as if he had once had a small part in a navy. He had left his supply barrel behind two days ago: the rope had snapped after too much traveling over rough terrain. Michael had begun rolling the barrel in front of him, but it had been too hard to keep going the entire way with it like that, so he threw it away and filled his pockets with as much as he could of what was left and proceeded on his way.
Michael was sporting an impressive tan, but his clothes were in shreds, his hat was gone, and even his hair looked bad. When it had gotten too long in front, he had been forced to reach up and slash it with his knife: it was still out of line.
As he staggered into the city, he could smell roast beef coming from somewhere not far off. “There’s an inn nearby, good one too.” Following his nose, he soon came upon a long two- story building with several rowdy men in front who were waving tankards and singing a tune called “What shall we do with the drunken sailor!” at the top of their lungs.
Michael turned toward the front door, ignoring the men, and before he could react, he heard one exclaim “Well, here’s a prime specimen!” This was followed a second later by a rope descending over him, trapping his arms. The slavers abruptly got up and marched off, pulling Michael along behind them. Michael felt better when he heard them say “– heard Lord Dampish needs a new servant. This boy looks just right. We could probably fetch a few hundred if we hawk him in the London market, though.”
“Perfect,” Michael thought to himself “I’m headed to London; though I would much rather travel as a passenger, instead of a piece of property to be sold at auction.” He was soon tied to a long line of innocent Natives who were, like him, “Good specimens who were bound to bring a few hundred in the London market.”
Michael did get bit of a laugh when they passed by another inn just as the owner was emptying his garbage. In a clear show of contempt for the slave trade, the Innkeeper turned and unloaded his rubbish in the slaver’s faces. Michael chuckled a bit too loudly. at this, so one of the slaver’s assistants grabbed the rope and dashed off, leaving Michael and the Natives gasping and stumbling.
When they reached the dock, the man stopped and called to the nearest ship “Goods for the hold!” Immediately, some unseen men on deck began lowering down a large sling of the type used to haul horses aboard. The men on the dock roughly seized Michael and shoved him into the sling, thereby pulling all the other “goods” in on top of him. Michael struggled to breathe as he was hoisted up over the deck and lowered into the hold. As soon as the sling landed, a bald man with an ugly scar across his cheek and a large whip in his hand untied each prisoner, inspected them, and led them off to the oar they were going to pull. When he reached Michael, he said “So, a street beggar, eh, well, we’ll put you right. Eh, wot’s this!” he exclaimed as he went through his inspection. Pulling the knives out from Michael’s belt, he said “Little boys can’t be trusted with knives. They might hurt their delicate little selves!”
Michael, who was taller than the man and strong, retorted “Look at yourself, midget! Who’s the smaller one here?” At this, the man led Michael to an oar at the very back of the ship and said “Let’s see how well you do pulling an oar by yourself!” As he was locked in, Michael retorted “At the least, it’ll only make me stronger, then I can mash you in properly, potato face!” As the bald man turned to walk back up to the front of the ship, Michael reached across as silently as he could and slid one of his knives out of the man’s belt.. The chains grated loudly on the wood as he relaxed, so he hurriedly drove his prize into the floor beneath his bench.
After Michael was captured, the crew spent two more days hunting down prizes to fill out their load. Finally, every oar had two men attached, except Michael’s, which they left alone on the advice of Scarface, the bald man. When the last one was locked in, Scarface gave the order: “Anchor’s up! Back water!”