On a scale of one to ten, I would definitely give slavery a 1. The shackles are rusty (with blood, no doubt), I can't remember the last time I wore clothes and not just glorified rags, and whips aren't nearly as fun as others would have you believe. Unless, of course, you were on the end with the handle.
Someone shoves me harshly, and I fight to keep my balance in the chains around my ankles. We've been underground all day, so I cannot see who pushed me, and I instead choose to grit my teeth and close my eyes. Thankfully, closing my eyes was probably the best things to do, because that very moment they decide to open the doors to the outside world. Light flooded in and I heard a painful moan from the people around me and the light burns their eyes. I open my eyes slowly as we are forced outside with swords and whips glistening in the sunlight as to show us what could happen if we aren't careful. Or if we decide to be brave.
Although this is only my third time at the auctions, I already know how it goes. I get to be first. Lucky me. I am lead to the wooden podium in my filthy brown rags as I see the crowd. This is far bigger a turnout for slave auctions than I have ever seen, or even heard of. They treat me like a criminal. The only crime I have ever committed was having too loud a voice and a dead mother. Although I suppose to others that makes it crime enough for a life sentence. I'm being ushered offstage now. Was I so lost in thought that I neglected to even try and see who I would be serving for the next years of my life? I could serve an old woman as I did previously, or perhaps a wealthy lord or lady.
A young man and his older companion stroll towards me. I would have walked towards them, but instead I was shoved. How kind of them. Slave traders aren't the nicest people, you know. As the traders hand over to the two men my key and other such things occur, I try to study them. The older man is well-dressed, likely a plantation owner, but his companion seems… different.
His deep eyes look into those of the traders as I study him. He sports a frizzy head of hair and perhaps too many freckles to be able to count. I would love to describe him through writing. To have my hands once more brush the thick parchment my mother had allowed me to scribble on, to become stained with ink smears as I wrote down his every movement with striking detail. But I'm not on Nevis anymore, and I certainly don't think I'll be allowed to write with my new master. Masters?
The men cannot be brothers, due to the evident age difference, but also not father and son, as the younger man is paler, the only streaks of tanned skin visible on him are the spatters of dots that seem to conquer his features. Perhaps they are simply friends, one accompanying the other on his travels to the trading slums of the southern colonies.
I don't have much more time to spend in thought, as they pull me by the chains to a nearby ship. The man at the top part of the deck, possibly the captain, waves at the men leading me forwards. We walk up the temporary steps that have obviously been hastily fastened to the wood of the dock. They must have only recently arrived here.
"Your Excellency!" The man on the ship exclaims, bowing at the older man leading me. A French accent- how curious. Frenchmen rarely come to these part of the colonies, if anything I overheard from the traders is true.
"Lafayette," says the man the Frenchman had referred to as 'your excellency'. "Take him," He gestures to me, throwing the chain holders to 'Lafayette'. " I need him in the room we set aside."
Lafayette stares at me, an undecipherable expression crossing his face for just a brief moment. "Attendez, wait, this is the man we've been looking for?"
"Yes, Lafayette. This is the man." The older man responds. They've been looking for me? Why on Earth would someone be looking for a bastard, orphan slave? I never thought that I would live past twenty, much less be a man people search for, aside from my masters attempting to recover me after an escape.
SIghing, Lafayette takes hold of my chains, leading me inside the ship. He drags me past a few doors, until he opens one and pulls me into the room, closing the heavy wooden rectangle behind us.
The room contains a small (very small) dresser, as well as a hammock that is obviously meant to serve as my bed. The thing that shocks me is not the fat that there is only one place to sleep, nor is it the fact that this room is far too large to house a slave during travel, but the large writing desk in the corner.
The man -Lafayette- sits down, letting go of my chains, gesturing to second chair. I sit down, facing him, but with my head down. I dare not speak, for I have been told that speech is a sign of disobedience. I always have enjoyed talking too much.
"So," Lafayette says after a brief moment of silence. "I assume that you are Alexander Hamilton. If not, then I presume Washington will be rather upset." I don't respond.
"Well, are you this 'Alexander Hamilton', or not? Speak, or even just nod! Your silence is understood, but I assure you, no harm will come to you while on this vessel. Croyez-moi."
I lift my head slightly, thick hair blocking my view of him slightly, but with enough gaps for me to comprehend the image. A man with wiry hair, but very much of it. His eyes are kind. I speak against my own will, to my astonishment.
"My name is Alexander Hamilton, but I have no idea why you have been looking for me."
"Oh, no, I have not been searching for you!" He tells me, smiling at my words. " General Washington has been- we were just dragged along." The frenchman is interrupted by a sudden knocking at the cabin door, before it opens from the hall. Why bother knocking if you are to open the door before the people inside respond?
A tall, dark skinned man stands in the doorway threateningly. He has a grey cap on, and nods down the hall, towards another room. Lafayette stands up, walking to the door, grabbing my arm for a moment and letting go near immediately, a signal for me to follow. I stand quickly, following him, passing the tall man who follows me in turn.
Lafayette leads the three of us into the room at the end of the narrow hall. The older man from earlier is sitting at the desk, and his head rises from his work when he hears our footsteps on the creaky wooden flooring.
"Lafayette, Mulligan, you are dismissed." He says, and the two men scurry out the door, closing it on their way out. It is just the two of us in the room, now.
"Hello, mister Hamilton- you are Alexander Hamilton, correct?" He asks near immediately once the door is shut tightly.
"Yes, sir." I respond, unsure of what else to say in front of a man whom I hardly know but now seems to own me. The other men seemed to respect him- perhaps they are slaves as well, or indentured servants? No, they spoke too freely- they must serve under him in some way. Is he perhaps a businessman? He answers my question as if he can read minds.
"I'm George Washington, though you may hear people refer to me as General Washington, which is how I would prefer you to refer to me as. I've been looking for you for quite some time. Your writings were particularly captivating."
"I'm sorry, General Washington," I say, startled. "But how did you know of my writings? Why were you looking for me?"
"I called you here because our odds are beyond scary. Your writings are captivating, and the revolution needs someone like you on our side."
"I don't think I understand what you're trying to tell me."
"We're trying to fight off the British forces, but we need someone with skills that lie in your area of expertise. Someone who wants to fight for America's freedom."
"And, pray tell, what will such a job get me?"
"If you fight," Washington says. " You get your freedom."
"When can I start?"