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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

angrily snatching it from his hand.” Rachel winced. but once he had them in order and back in his pocket. The sailor replied with a quizzical brow. you just a little toady. That she dared talk back with such venom rattled his confidence. with rosy cheeks and curly black hair. and perhaps they could share a conversation. which seemed to have a calming effect as they retreated below deck. I’m free. She then took the Negro female’s hand. I’ll give it to her. “Tell your mistress I wish to speak to her. But the Negro girl would not let him pass. 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. “Everything alright here with you sir?” the sailor asked. still under the spell of the girl’s outburst. Even though they both had bronzed skin. who quietly retied it to her head. I’m Miss Cordelia’s sister. “Now the bonnet. Tenshi nodded yes. “Koroi Tôjin. They did an awkward side step dance. with him going one way while she followed in order to block his path. He had a kind face. knowing what his words meant. Tenshi was giddy with hope that the young lass who owned this bonnet had a voice matching the beauty of her face. “You ain’t white. And I’m not a black barbarian or a slave. Here was the instrument of his introduction.The sorting and stacking of the objects took all of his attention. he looked up to find the girl staring at him expectantly. In that moment a shared understanding passed between them. He could return the bonnet in person. One of the ship’s crew members attempted to intervene by taking the bonnet from the servant and handing it to the other girl. it would never be good enough. would you be kind enough to give me her full name. “Excuse me. though her dark eyes were cold. the Very Reverend Zachary Bice?” “Is she ill?” “A bit melancholy. slave. handing him a photograph that had been missed.” .” she spat.” the girl said with a smile on her lips.” he said. but a teaspoon more of laudanum should quell your concerns once she gets back to her husband’s cabin. the young woman in the bonnet?” he wondered. “Yellow niggrah.” Her tone and candor were a surprise to him. please sir. his condescending slur was meant elevate his status. just give me the hat. “She’s a newlywed sir. Perhaps you’ve met her husband.

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

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