I've been workin on the railroad (Feb 2018 pt2)

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Carlotta
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I've been workin on the railroad (Feb 2018 pt2)

Post by Carlotta » Sun Jan 12, 2020 3:10 am

Content Warning: Slavery

Lottie put on her lipstick, made sure the wrinkles were smoothed out of her skirt, donned her gloves and checked her hat in the mirror one last time. She heard Raph arrive with the wagon in the courtyard and took a deep breath.
Show time.
She put on her best "businesswoman" face and stepped out into the courtyard.

Once outside, she had Raph unload the cargo for inspection and snapped at another assistant to bring her the registrar book.
She didn't address the cargo - simply checked the names pinned to their clothes against the receipt from the market. She checked teeth and shoulders with the motions of one extremely experienced in the trade of flesh - and gave Raph alternating compliments and complaints on his choices. She snarled at how many "useless weak children" he had picked up at market and made sure to separate them from the older slaves they were clinging to - pushing them to the side to "deal with later".

The whole process took about an hour, in which time Lottie marked the slightly too interested passing of 4 agents of the market, 5 police officers, 2 Ventrue, 1 Setite, 3 Plantation owners, 2 bounty hunters, and 2 slavers. She made a mental note of each suspicious face that passed by to sniff at her business in doubt, distrust or simple hatred - but she never paused in her "work".

After she had inspected the lot, she loaded the children into one wagon and the adults into another.

"Right. Have this lot taken over to the ship - and Raph, you make sure the cargo from last week's purchase makes it on board too - well secured this time. I'll not have a repeat of the last trip where we had some of the cargo jump ship. If it does, the cost is coming out of YOUR wages. Understood?"

Raph grunted at her harsh words and tone, but nodded his understanding and took a third wagon to go to the warehouse to collect the "rest of the goods".

Lottie waited until the children were pushed into the corner of the wagon far enough to make room for her traveling trunks, then climbed aboard the front seat and had the drive walk on towards the docks.

At the paddle boat, she loaded her newly purchased slaves into the hold and supervised Raph loading another few wagon fulls as well. It would be a crowded hold on this trip up the Mississippi - but nothing in her expression hinted that she gave the conditions of her "cargo" any mind. She yelled at the dock hands for dropping her trunk. "Careful with that! It's more valuable then anything else you've loaded on today!", and heard some of the folk who had followed her from the courtyard bark out easy laughter that she was more concerned with the safety and treatment of her dresses than the human flesh they were watching her trade in.

Raph helped her aboard and escorted her to her cabin. She didn't let him come in with her - but sent him down below to make sure everything was "secure".

Hours later, the city lights weren't even firefly specks of light behind them anymore. Lottie answered a knock on her stateroom door and found a young deck slave in livery outside. "Miss Lottie," he said quietly. "It's time." She nodded, took off her fancy hat, grabbed a ring of keys from the wall, and followed him into the hold of the riverboat.

Raph held the lantern up high enough that its light cast down on Lottie's face as she addressed the poor people chained in the hold. "Ladies and Gentlemen," she said in the gentlest of tones, "I apologize greatly for the subterfuge that was necessary up until now. I had to play my part for the audience for the safety of us all. Welcome to the River Station - I'll be your conductor for this portion of the journey. Those of you purchased at market yesterday, we'll need to get your names after we take off the shackles - and your places of birth so that we can fill out the official paperwork to certify you as freedmen." In the midst of the shock, she stepped off the last step and started unlocking shackles with her ring of keys. "This boat isn't ending in Memphis as you were told - but is headed all the way north to the little town of Galena Illinois. That means that those of you who weren't purchased at market - but were bought directly from the bounty catchers and slave hunters - will be north enough to carve out new lives and get yourselves new names and papers if you like. Raph and I have quarters on the top deck - but the rest of the cabins are empty and waiting for all of you with new clothes and shoes - I apologize that quarters will have to be so tight - I think we'll be about 4 to a room this trip. The uniformed crew will be able to answer any of your concerns about how to maintain the charade on the days we have to dock. Those of you who we were able to purchase with your little ones - they're in the dining room getting the first servings of an early breakfast - feel free to go on up and join them. I'd only ask the rest of you to give the little ones enough time to finish eating their fill before you head in to get your own meal.
Bless you all for your bravery and your strength and fortitude. I'm sorry it took us so long to get you help."

The drop of a pin would have sounded like a cannon shot it was so quiet as she left back up the stairs - but she hadn't been expecting anything else. This wasn't, after all, the first trip she'd made up the Mississippi with the floating safehouse full of runaways and newly freed slaves as passengers.
She shivered and Raph took off his coat to drape it on her shoulders. They both knew she didn't shiver from the chill in the air - but that at least he could do something about.
She would cry herself to sleep tonight - the same way she did every night that she undid the shackles and gave them the truth behind the show for the first time. She'd have to say it countless more times before they all believed her of course - for so many it was just too good to be believed at the first or even the hundredth hearing. But, she would join them in singing hymns of freedom and praises to God - and in that song she would weave threads of all but forgotten trust. Tonight though, tonight she would weep for the horrible part she had to keep playing, and for the lies and fear she had been forced to put those poor souls through to get them here safely.
Tomorrow would be for food and song, the day after that would be for paper work, and in three weeks time it would be time to head back to California and Quarry Creek to sing and fuck her way to enough money to start working on a new cruise of the River Station safehouse and a new passenger manifest.
I fucked a gargoyle, your argument is invalid

Patricia
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Re: I've been workin on the railroad (Feb 2018 pt2)

Post by Patricia » Sat Jan 18, 2020 12:25 pm

+xp

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