Chapter 7: Elisa

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The feeling of my clothes sticking to my body awoke me. Beads of sweat were ever present on Emilia's forehead as well as mine. The bridge provided no shady relief as the heat simmered up from the ground. Dryness spread down my throat causing weak coughs to ache in my chest. Emilia curled further into my side reminding me of where we were. I stood up in a panic, bringing Emilia up into my arms. She awoke with a start, scrunching up her face with the threat to cry. I shook my head and tried speaking soothing words, but Emilia gave in anyway. Her wails pierced the air making my panic meter soar.

"I hear a little girl." A man said.

I cursed under my breath quickly covering my mouth with my free hand. Now was not the time to introduce Emilia to the wonderful world of bad words.

"Emilia, stop crying, please. We need to get out of here quietly, okay?"

I stooped down to grab my shoes then began to climb onto the level ground.

"There, there!"

I bolted onto the bridge narrowly missing a red car.

My body pulsed with adrenaline as Emilia bounced up and down in my arms. I tried to balance her weight with mine and still run at high speed. Galloping hooves beat against the pavement gaining up on me. My skin crawled with fear, practically feeling a hand on my back. I turned, spotting a man in a black riding suit with a rope lasso in his hand. My eyes widened realizing this man was a slaver catcher. I turned forward again stepping right on a lone rock. My ankle jerked to the side bringing me down right on Emilia. The horses stopped and soon I was being tied up.

"Halt!" A deep voice commanded.

I struggled to look up, but managed to catch a glimpse of a tall white man dressed in a black shirt with black pants.

"Valley police." He identified.

I looked down at his gold badge noticing he was from the slave division. When the hell did all this get organized? How did the public not know about this?

"I'm a certified slave catcher." The man tying me up said.

Was there a school for this? When the hell did someone set up a school or program for becoming a certified slave catcher?

"Do you have your license?" the officer asked.

The man nodded, reaching back into his wallet for an ID card. The officer looked at it then back at the man. "Dennis Foster." 

Dennis nodded once more. Wait; that was Whitney's husband!

"And who are you capturing this girl for?"

"Jeb Davis of Davis plantation, out west of the bridge."

"You are aware of our slave catching laws, correct? You being certified and all." The officer said. 

"Listen officer, this is just a little favor I'm doing for Jeb. We don't have to go through all that now, do we?"

"We have laws sir and they're written for a reason. We have to take this girl back to the auction block and if Jeb wants, he can buy her once again." The officer reminded.

"He's her property!" Foster protested.

"After she crosses property lines, she belongs to the government. If you don't like it, feel free to take it up with the Panel. I'm sure President Steel would love to take time out of his busy day to explain to plantation boys why an escaped slave no longer belongs to them."

The officer cut the ropes off and handcuffed me before picking up Emilia whom was still crying. He reached into his breast pocket producing a candy lollipop and handed it to her.

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