Guillotine by JOHN BELLION

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My eyes were glued to the little girl in a filthy white polo shirt with one too many holes, who stood in front of me on the queue. Her chocolate coloured skin and thick black, curly hair reminded me of Hadiza back home. How mother would always complain of her foul smell and filthiness every time we were done playing in the open space along the road to the market. I couldn’t help but wonder how they were doing back in Nigeria, if mother had died of sadness after she found out that I had been sold off and taken away by the master on his big ship to this place where they spoke a foreign tongue and dressed a funny way. If the village Chief had succeeded in selling off Hadiza too. Mother would definitely be dead if that was the case, it has been almost a year but I missed them still. I missed home, where I always felt surrounded and loved even when there was hardly ever food.
Here, the only things I could ever feel is loneliness, rejection and a touch of pain now and again. I had met a few other young girls on the big ship, but most of them had died off during the never ending voyage while others had been sold off on our arrival to rich men around this unfamiliar country. The master had kept me because I was supposedly the strongest of them all.
With my eyes still fixed on her, I couldn’t help but wonder what a girl so little could have done to deserve the blade, but then I wonder what I did wrong too. To the world, I was the black slave girl who had left the master bloody on the kitchen floor with a knife to his chest, no one cared that my clothes were in shreds and my body was in shambles bruised and battered. No one cared to hear my voice, if I had one at all.
au suivant!”. The loud voice calling on to the next on the queue brought me back to the present. I watched the little girl move forward, clutching a rugged old doll tightly in her hands. The executioner, a huge man with a thick beard I was sure creatures lived there and a stone-like face, obviously indifferent to her fear pulled her into place and shouted for the blade to be let loose. Immediately there was a loud “whoosh” sound and the head of the little girl went flying to the floor followed by a gush of thick red blood, the spectators let out loud cries of varied emotions. Suddenly, a young lanky girl came running out of the crowd crying out loudly and raising dust off the sandy ground as she threw herself to the floor. The soldiers picked her up forcefully and began to drag her away, then I got a clear glimpse at her features. The chocolate-like skin, the thick curly black hair and those jet blue eyes that shone brightly with tears. Looking at the girl with the jet blue eyes now in the hands of one of the very many soldiers, the resemblance was quite uncanny…perhaps my sister! The executioner then gave the order for her head to be taken out. Just then I wondered what the fate of my head would be after I was gone; maybe an experimental material like the one’s master would always take into his inner chambers. Or maybe…
“au suivant!“, that was the call for the next on the queue. It was my turn to face the guillotine.

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