Diary Entry 5

Like the day before and the day before I spent my day digging up rocks, washing rocks and building a wall. Yates’ soldiers did the same. We tried to communicate with each other when the guards weren’t looking. It was a challenge. Getting caught would have meant a beating. I watched the guards dish out punishment without cause time after time. The guards seemed particularly cruel to a couple of slaves that could apparently do nothing right. I felt sorry them. I wanted to help but I didn’t want to draw attention to myself. I watched the other slaves go about their work as if nothing cruel was happening around them. No one flinched. The most common reaction was to carefully move out of the way without drawing attention from the guards. I think it’s a coping mechanism put into place after weeks and months of trying to avoid punishment. I found myself doing it.
At the end of the day after the guards had finally decided we had done enough work we were led back to our place of sleep. We were given the same stale biscuits and a drink of water. I tucked myself up against the wall beside a couple of Yates’ soldiers. The wall was one of the safer places to be. The closer to the fire the more likely you were to be harassed by the guards. I don’t remember falling asleep. I woke up ready to fight the moment I felt his hand grab my mouth.

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