“Now, now men; she’s a good worker,” the slave trader said. “She just needs a little conditioning, that’s all. I’ll bet I can get her to load those barrels of pitch onto the back of this wagon and do it without the whip. See, she hasn’t eaten in three days or had anything to drink since yesterday morning, so I’ll wager…”
“What will ye wager?” Benji asked boldly as he walked up from the back of the all-male crowd. He looked over and got a better view of the subject of the gathering. He could tell by the talk that it was a woman, a big female slave, they were discussing. What he hadn’t realized was that a human female could be so huge. She was nearly as tall as he was and had a broad, sturdy frame, not reedy or lanky. But she definitely had been deprived of food. He could see her ribs and just about everything else—all she was wearing was a little leather apron and a dirty and frayed rag around her head.
The squinty-eyed man was apparently the neighborhood slave broker. His hands were full—a small book in one grimy fist and a whip in the other—but his once overflowing mouth was now empty of words. The first sight of Benji’s height and build had a tendency to do that to everyone.
Normally the gawking bothered Benji, but this time he was glad of it. It gave him a chance to develop a plan.
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