An Unrequested Gift
A slave on deaths door, brought back to his feet by the goodwill of Arahanna and the gold of Atherton.
Never named, only numbered. 732. His number. Beyond the rags that covered his emaciated skin and the chains bound him, that number was all that he owned. Bought and sold. Bough and sold. 732 built. 732 took down. 732 harvested. 732 painted. 732 jumped when asked. 732 was beaten. Then 732 was sold again. Then the chains came. 732 was paraded to small towns and big cities. A copper for a cut, and a gold for the crowds approval.
Weeks went by, maybe months. Each day a mirror of the last. The stage, the crowd, the same shrill voice. The pain.
Then it changed. A voice from the crowd was bartering for his life. Gold changed hands, and skin rubbed raw from the iron chains felt the cool breeze of freedom.
A pint, and some shared stories, and 732 became Winston, and like that sweet breeze of freedom. Winston was gone.
The door barely closed before Arahanna darted after her investment. Fortunately for Winston he was able to disappear into the crowd.