. No part of this book may be reproduced in form or by any means without the prior written consent of the author. All rights are reserved. places and incidents are invented by the author or have been used fictitiously and are not to be construed as real. All names.Copyright 2012 Camille Leone This story is a work of fiction. characters. Any similarity to actual persons or events is purely coincidental.

Even the settee and chairs were in disrepair. jumping from one plantation to the next. reminiscent of bark off a long dead tree. their upholstery worn. He’d sent a telegram to San Francisco. noticing a large crack in the saucer. So Lewis Owen convinced himself he owed it to Abigail’s daughter to make certain her mother survived this hellish night. the girl and her missionary husband would never make it back in time to talk sense into her mother. “I’ve got my horse out back and a couple of rifles. Food was scare and he hadn’t finished all his drink. To save her. Because the fever was almost upon them. but there was no telling if she’d get it before taking off. as Abigail sat across from him alternating between humming and raking her nails into the same path. He needed to let her know it was time for them to flee.” Abigail said. Abigail Woodruff was such a genteel woman she still insisted on serving him tea.” Lewis placed his cup down. Even so. two rifles. and he’d come for her. But he’d escaped his childhood home with his life. Cordelia was married and soon to be sailing off to the Far East. a mare and a saddle. There was a grandfather clock that could no longer be wound. He’d have to risk shocking her delicate sensibilities. . Fresh scratches lined the arms.” “We’re perfectly safe. The time for small talk was over. frozen in the same hour without notice or care. leaving a month prior.Chapter One He’d come to tell her the fever was spreading like a brush fire. The Woodruff parlour was sparse with furniture. All Lewis Owen now possessed were his water canteen. and that most of the other landowners were hoping to withstand the slave rebellion in town. even though this was not the time for small talk and socializing. the courageous woman who’d managed the Woodruff farm since the tragic deaths of her husband and step daughter. with wooden frames buckling and fragile with age. “I think if we make it into town most of the men should be able to hold them off until the militia gets here. noticeably peeved at his rudeness. the wallpaper slowly peeling. At least Abigail’s only child was not there to see her fall from grace.

standing behind her chair. especially the first time she’d been introduced as Jonas Woodruff’s new wife. Owen yanked Abigail by the arm. “I think it’s time you left now Massa Owen. We got to leave right now. Lewis stood up as if he were taking her advice. and Owen pointed his pistol at them. He pulled his vest down gruffly.” he pleaded. And that crazy niggrah of yours is gonna get you killed. hoping she’d listen to reason. Amanda says-” “Amanda? The slave Amanda?” “Why yes.“Miz Woodruff. It all happened so quickly. But he could still see traces of the handsome woman she once was. angry that he’d even been let in the house. trying to get her to respond. Abigail didn’t realize she’d witnessed a murder until she shook Amanda. hoping to take her hand.” “Oh they won’t hurt us. Abigail . mumbling about this not being right. your daughter would want you safe. they were both mad. They could slip out the back and from there they’d make their way out to the stable where his horse awaited. But a slave woman stood in the doorway. She swept into the room as if she were the mistress of the manor. and did nothing to reassure him. There was more urgency than fright in his voice.” Amanda placed a protective arm around her shoulders. all day. Amanda takes care of all matters having to do with the slaves.” By God.” The pinched frown she gave him marred her beauty. “Please don’t be mad at me. not us. “You got to leave Massa Owen. She then addressed Lewis as if directing white folks was something she did every day. “I cain’t leave you here at the mercy of these niggrahs. he realized how much older she was now. her voice curt and dark eyes blazing. My slaves won’t let them. At least that was h is quickly formulating plan. Cain’t you see my farm burning in the distance? They’re making their way over to your place. You’re the one in danger.” With her face so tightly drawn.” Abigail whined as the slave came towards her. just like you said I should. we’ll be fine. like Miz Abigail says. . then shot the slave squarely between the eyes with a pistol he’d plucked from the waist of his trousers. . Lewis leaned forward.” “I’m not mad at you Abigail. A number of slaves ran in screaming over the sound of gun fire so close. since he could no longer disguise how little time they had left. the slaves are all in this together. not the sack cloth of the others.” “I-I told him Amanda. Amanda wore gingham and silk. warning they’d . “Miss Woodruff. forcing the woman from the barren room against her wailing protests.

hoping to at least spare her from the slave uprising. So the fever had already taken her. . With an unsteady hand he fired blindly. figuring he could untie his horse while she was still in shock. the fever was almost upon them. but his chest caved in. Once outside he could see torches and hulking forms in the darkness. The chanting of the slaves grew. only to have him drag her like a sack of grain to the stable. He left her in a crumpled heap inside the door. The last thing Lewis Owen saw was Abigail’s ghostly form inching away from him and being swallowed whole by the dark mob. since planks were missing and he almost tumbled off his feet. sending him flying backwards into his startled horse. cheering while they lifted the body of Abigail high above their heads. Lewis turned around to lift her to the saddle.suffer the same consequence. With eyes bulging at the sudden gush of blood. as if she were their fallen queen. wielded by Abigail. He had a time getting her down the back steps. Yes. Abigail’s legs buckled and she hit the ground weeping. it took seconds to realize there was a pitch fork stabbed through his torso.

. If one were to die. the perfect place. From the Pacific Ocean to the South Seas we’re swept up in a tempest.Chapter Two  I have never seen so much nothingness. 1861 “A Colored Maiden’s Voyage and Recollections of Japan”  . the leaping fish and the hungry shark. Creatures who would escort us through their domain. whilst gulls cry overhead. the strained shouts and calls above the deck and below. -Rachel Woodruff. trapped somewhere between twilight and the next storm. the closest heaven for a slave to be free. I learn that the hatches must be battened down. I am torn with fear over the choppy waters and blistering rain. the sound of men working frantically to hoist sails in lieu of steam as I pass the time counting the different creatures of the ocean and sea. and it all makes sense. . The water caps are shimmering pearls . But in the lull. landing on either of the billowing masts as we round the coast. this would be the perfect hour. such as the porpoise. as I pray for god’s mercy while I hide below. the skies shine with colors so fetching it makes me want to weep. and life lines cannot save those gone overboard. I hear commands and actions. delirious in my dread of a watery grave. Water and sky each day.

too soon. after hearing how her mama was killed. mustering a smile. Zachary Bice stood outside the door to his cabin.” “May I see her?” There was longing in his eyes. nostrils flaring as she sought to take in more air. the one Cordelia had bitten during their struggle. Rachel thought. Here was a good and true husband. She’ll be just fine after I get her settled in for the night. he’d have a hysterical bride on his hands for the entire voyage. Rachel closed her eyes. the full extent of what she’d done greeted her. If not for her clear head under these most trying times. stepping out and shutting the door behind her. “Rachel. Now as Rachel slowly met her sister’s stare. . “Should you need me. As Rachel sighed. The anguish in his voice almost convinced her to do his bidding. exhausted but hardly relieved. It had taken all her strength to stuff Cordelia’s mouth in order to muffle her screams.” Zachary nodded. one deserving of more from a wife than her sister. . I’ve got the medicine-” In response to his statement Rachel cracked the door open. Perhaps tomorrow. “She’s better now sir. when the storm’s passed. even as water dripped from his thick sideburns and ran along his jaw. she shook out her left hand. but Rachel cut his vision by half. “Miss Cordelia’s still feeling poorly. She’s not ready to receive anyone just yet. comforting voice. entering the room and turning the skeleton key in the lock. Perhaps the extra bottle of laudanum he’d purchased from the ship’s surgeon wouldn’t be needed.hank God for Rachel. if when she opened her eyes Cordelia had taken the truth of their very existence in the spirit with which it was given! But she hadn’t. please have the ship’s steward get me straight away. If she could only wake from this nightmare. “You can just leave it outside the door Mister Zachary.” “I will sir.” He tried looking over her head to see if Cordelia needed anything. peering out at him as though he were a stranger. “How’s Cordelia?” he asked. Much better. But it was too dangerous. sounding out of breath.” Leaning against the door. “It’s .” Rachel said. . listening to his wife’s muffled sobs and the servant Rachel’s low. Her resemblance to his wife was startling.

” Rachel said. a cockroach scrambled to stay upright. “I can only imagine how shocking this must be. Rachel didn’t venture to hope she’d gotten through. she yawned to stretch her jaw muscles. Rachel dared to speak again. mouth and ankles.” Rachel whispered. Her accusing eyes burned through Rachel. I have lost a mother also?” Cordelia turned away. “Cordelia. Rachel granted her this victory. keeping her voice low. A drought became a frustrated waterfall of tears as Cordelia sobbed. her eyes simmering as if daring Rachel to continue. “Slowly. Between the laudanum and fainting spells. “I never wanted it to come to this. Had I known you would react so violently to the idea of our sisterhood. please calm yourself. So the porridge Rachel made would have to wait until the morning. bound by the hands. “But I only told you of our very special bond. would you care for some water?” Cordelia gave a tired nod. a ladies handkerchief she’d used to quiet her sister.” Rachel said. Rachel watched the roach start the process all over again without hesitation . In her stubbornness Cordelia slumped to the floor. Rachel caught her by the waist. Can’t you understand that with Amanda’s death. but she ceased to struggle after hearing her words. I would never have broached the subject. knowing the damp wood would have her back in bed soon enough. since we only have each other now. The taste of the cool liquid had never been sweeter. Rachel pulled out a wad of saliva soaked cloth. yet as soon as it got its bearing.” Rachel stooped in order to become level with her sister. tipping the cup higher the faster Cordelia gulped. When the sobbing grew softer.Cordelia sat on a cot. hoping she manifested a composure she didn’t feel. toppling and almost falling flat. you must believe me. sending it sliding towards the opposite wall. this time getting stuck in the crack of a floor plank. but whole. the insect’s direction again changed. Cordelia was too weak to take down solid food. “Cordelia. though Cordelia yanked and knocked Rachel with her body the whole time. drink it slowly now. Angry tears welled in Cordelia’s eyes as she sought to scoot to her feet . But with our mother’s death-” Cordelia’s head jerked. “Please believe me. When the first dressing came unwrapped around her head. As the ship rocked. I will not release you until you do. of how we are not half-sisters.

She hadn’t expected Cordelia to take the news well. but quoting scripture. Far too stubborn for her own good. She hadn’t expected one. and that she’d have to ration out the remainder. thinking Rachel still meant to tell Zachary that he’d been fooled into marrying a woman who was not white. It’s when she’d informed Cordelia most of the laudanum was gone. it was some utopia at the other end of their small room. And she could be sold into slavery if her secret ever got out. that it was possible Rachel was lying. For Cordelia knew what the implication of her true lineage meant. ordelia gave no thought or wonder where Zachary would sleep tonight. She was not white. not with the laudanum taking affect. Though the telegram stated the Woodruff plantation had been burned to the ground. Rachel now reasoned it did seem like a cruel thing to do. She told her sister the truth. Rachel was left with no choice. In some ways Cordelia was just like that cockroach.” she said aloud. for death was never an easy thing to accept. After some reflection and the passage of time. “I suppose I should just put it out of its misery. At least Cordelia had allowed herself to be placed back on the cot. That much was a welcome relief. At least she wouldn’t have to share his bed. There was no response from her sister. Cordelia had a moment of panic. Rachel claimed their secret was safe. and when Cordelia raised a hand as if to strike her. But she sensed it wasn’t the passing of their real mother that had triggered all the melodrama. her mistress would at least know they had the same mother. heaping sorrow upon sorrow. But for now Rachel remained silent. Her husband was above deck. hoping to prevail upon the lord not to drown all one hundred and ninety poor souls being churned by hell’s boiling waters. Wherever this creature wanted to go. not working alongside the sailors to save the ship. there still could be some type of document listing her as a slave. Cordelia was certain there had to be some mistake. Their ensuing bickering and sniping only served to make matters worse.or even agitation. but how could it be? . If they were to go down to the depths of the sea. Rachel took an uncomfortable position at her side.

. Instead of settling back into her position along the bed. not certain if she’d heard correctly. and felt even less for the slave Amanda. the woman she’d thought all these years as her mother. and learn how to endure. Observation and confinement. Perhaps she even fancied Zachary for herself. perhaps even in a sanitarium once they landed. until the ache in Rachel’s side forced her to wake. “Are you watching for your tiny pet?” Rachel twisted her head Cordelia’s way. A loving sister could not do such a thing. mashed into the wood underfoot by Cordelia’s boot heel. Somehow. Right now all Zachary and the other members on board knew of her predicament was that she was mourning the passing of her mother and the devastating loss of her family home. The surgeon had asked whether he could examine her.” Rachel promised. I can loosen your feet at least. she searched for the cockroach by the dim of candlelight. Rachel had pulled her into this hell. there had to be some mistake. If you stay quiet like this. her breathing steady. But Cordelia’s eyes were closed. For the want of her own twisted enjoyment. Yes. It was the only thing keeping her from running about the ship screaming. For a time they both fell asleep. unfeeling. as if she’d been asleep for hours. Rachel hated her. But she hated Abigail. their relationship had changed. “You’re doing real good now Miss Cordelia. When the laudanum took effect Cordelia felt woozy. Yes. but she was lucid enough to know what that meant. It was now irrevocably broken. that had to be it. It wasn’t until the next morning that she found the creature. Cordelia reasoned. God fearing sister would stay silent. someway she would have to grapple with her emotions. A selfless. They thought perhaps the gruesomeness of the slave rebellion had driven her to utter despair. She would have to take this for what it was.And why reveal their connection when both Abigail and Amanda were dead? No.

But it was not to be. even with her bruises. and he counted the moments until the tie on her bonnet would fully come undone. This way he could at least prove he’d mingled with some of the most desirable women in Europe and America. just like the European and American gentlemen. His reverie was interrupted by feminine giggles and shouts. There was a rumor going around the ship that the bright eyed student was somehow related to the prince of Japan. she was indeed a lovely female. while the other girl watched the whole episode as if in a trance. and his precious sepia miniatures clattered about his feet and theirs. even as she sought to escape his gaze. even remarking what a fine day it was. Then he could be a gallant gentleman and warn that she might lose it. a girl of similar height and build. since he wanted to look as westernized as possible. checking a brass watch fob that hung from one pocket. Embarrassed. and occupy the largest cabin on the vessel? Now he strutted about. In the next instance there was a swirling gust of sea whipped wind. Ah. The girl in the hat kept a bowed head. but when she raised it he could make out the purplish marks under both eyes. . His close shorn hair was hidden under a bowler hat. His eyes lingered along her neck. The female attendant also acted quickly to retrieve what he’d lost. to show he’d learned well the lessons taught to him by the English and French scholars. so he pretended to be engrossed in his photos as he walked over. he attempted to scoop his mementoes up before they were destroyed by the salty water along the deck. for how else could he be schooled in France and England. His hands rose in surprise. as a young woman noticed the dolphins leaping along the ship.Chapter Three enshi Nishizato was regarded with whimsical smiles as he walked on the ship’s deck. who seemed to be hiding her face in a frilly sunbonnet. The female was trying to get her companion to laugh. Their interaction intrigued him. Tenshi also possessed an enviable collection of English lovelies on daguerreotype plates to show his friends once he returned home. though the nods in his direction were exceedingly polite. and the hat blew right into his face.

Tenshi was giddy with hope that the young lass who owned this bonnet had a voice matching the beauty of her face. “Excuse me. which seemed to have a calming effect as they retreated below deck. She then took the Negro female’s hand. Even though they both had bronzed skin. “Tell your mistress I wish to speak to her. They did an awkward side step dance. his condescending slur was meant elevate his status. Here was the instrument of his introduction. “Everything alright here with you sir?” the sailor asked. Perhaps you’ve met her husband. “You ain’t white.” the girl said with a smile on her lips. One of the ship’s crew members attempted to intervene by taking the bonnet from the servant and handing it to the other girl. “Yellow niggrah.” Rachel winced.” she spat. still under the spell of the girl’s outburst. please sir. though her dark eyes were cold. He could return the bonnet in person. In that moment a shared understanding passed between them. the young woman in the bonnet?” he wondered. I’m free. and perhaps they could share a conversation. handing him a photograph that had been missed. The sailor replied with a quizzical brow. you just a little toady. He had a kind face. with rosy cheeks and curly black hair. “Now the bonnet. “Koroi Tôjin. who quietly retied it to her head. would you be kind enough to give me her full name. I’ll give it to her. but once he had them in order and back in his pocket.” . slave. angrily snatching it from his hand. but a teaspoon more of laudanum should quell your concerns once she gets back to her husband’s cabin.” Her tone and candor were a surprise to him. and brought forth the memory of a headmaster’s cane on his backside with the warning that no matter how starched his collar and well fitted his tailored suit.The sorting and stacking of the objects took all of his attention. he looked up to find the girl staring at him expectantly. That she dared talk back with such venom rattled his confidence. And I’m not a black barbarian or a slave. just give me the hat. “She’s a newlywed sir. it would never be good enough. I’m Miss Cordelia’s sister.” he said. the Very Reverend Zachary Bice?” “Is she ill?” “A bit melancholy. with him going one way while she followed in order to block his path. knowing what his words meant. Tenshi nodded yes. But the Negro girl would not let him pass.

“Augustus Ballantine. lingering over the shape and the strong bone structure. Tenshi thanked him. stud poker.” he said with a bow.” Tenshi smiled.” he finally said.” “I would be honored.  . dominoes and draughts. “Her name is Rachel. but please.” Augustus offered his hand and both men shook in greeting. Augustus mused as he walked away. this lad was a tall. Tenshi Nishizato. However.A touch of melancholy. “Very much so. with eyes and hair black as pitch.” “It’ll be jolly good to have you along. “Ah. Tenshi asked one last question. “Do you wish to report an offense?” “No. There’s a faro game planned for tonight. . searching his face. then remembered Tenshi’s unanswered request. if you’re up to the challenge. it seems she is quite the opposite of melancholy. accidents at sea were so commonplace it would be a pity to see him drown. who is the other one? The bold . That was the term most of his English friends said afflicted their wives. attendant?” The sailor’s demeanor and his voice noticeably tightened. if his interest in the females did not wane Augustus would see to it that a watery grave would be his end. second mate.” The sailor smiled back at him. “And yes. Mister-?” “Nishizato. All his pale lovelies were accounted for. Tawny in color. “Do you play games of chance. sturdy youth. fanning through his daguerreotypes. He wanted information on the colored servant. As the sailor stepped away with a curt nod. But instead of asking the question he wanted. heartened that the conversations about the lad were not overstated. . Melancholy was a highly contagious disease among western females. He would make an excellent subject to draw. Augustus revised it. Obviously well bred. However. “But if I could have her name-” Augustus frowned. A stunning figure with a sunny disposition. I play faro.” Tenshi said. Now if you will excuse me-” “Certainly.

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