The rain drizzled down and she slogged along the road. She tried not to think of the wet soil that was seeping up through her toes or the thin line of water that traced down her spine. It was not cold, but the wind came in bursts that felt like biting teeth across her exposed wet skin. Blinking the water out of her eyes did nothing to improve her vision, but she kept doing it feeling that it was the wet that was making everything blur. But it was the water hazing from the sky rather then in her eyes.
The day stretched on this way in an endless drudgery. But there was nothing that she could do about that. The chains that cut deeply into her wrists and ankles compelled her forward. The hunched shoulders of the other slaves drew a line back to her that started at the rumps of the horses that the guards rode on. Even they looked uncomfortable in this weather, but she bet it was better to be riding on the horse then to walk bare foot on this crude road.
Slowing down resulted only in disrupting the line ahead of her and causing the guards to tug on the chains which lurched all of them forward. When this happened, several of them would fall and the others would scramble to help them up. The guards never stopped for fallen slaves. Those poor souls were simply dragged until they could get to their feet. She refused to be the cause of that suffering and struggled to keep pace with the line.
Despair oozed into her bones, cutting as deep as the cold water. Where were they taking her? There were those in this line that had been slaves all their lives and knew what was expected of them. But she had joined their ranks only a few days ago, just before this march began. Everything that lay before her was as unclear as this landscape. Nothing could be seen.
Tipping her head back, she looked up into the sky and saw the faint rainbow painted across it. Even in this miserable weather, there was beauty. Could life for her be that way? Hoping that it could be, she tried to think of something other then the aching of her muscles and the fatigue that threatened to over take her. At first nothing came. What was there beyond this pain and numbness that came past the pain? And when the feeling returned it was back to the pain again.
But there was a rainbow in the sky. There was more then grey in this world…
There was red. Looking down at her hands, she saw the ring of red that drew completely around her wrist. These marks would probably become scars that marked her as a slave forever. At the tips of her fingers was the red that come from being chafed and cold for too long. Would this fade and return to her normal skin color?
Slavery seemed so unnecessary. People would have worked if they had been given enough money for food and shelter. Her people had not been greedy. Wanting to survive was little to ask. Could these cruel masters not provide them these things without putting collars around their necks? Did it not occur to them that they would have an entire people working for them now rather then dead?
Orange was the faded color of the shirt in front of her. Most of the shirts were so faded that they became a uniform brown and grey. She didn’t recall what color her shirt had once been. Like the others it had become grey with a ring of brown mud at the hem.
Would this be her attire forever? Imagining what that would be like, she saw the fabric slowly crumble off her body until she was stumbling along this road naked. But there was no one in this line that was naked so it seemed that they kept them covered. But not in anything warm or in anything that could block out the rain.
Dandelions dotted yellow across the fields on either side. Even in the misted landscape, their bright color stood out. A weed. A plant that was eaten by the poor but was dug up and discarded by the rich. Was their little yellow flower so offensive as that? Today it seemed like gold coins were scattered in the grass. A treasure for her eyes.
She stumbled, but was able to keep her feet. A rock had bitten her toe and she wondered if it bled. Stopping to look would not be allowed. Smiling, she thought how the drops of blood would help paint another rainbow. So much was stolen from her but they had not taken the rainbow. Looking up, the colors had faded away, but that was alright.
Green was every where. The grass that swayed in the winds and the leaves of the trees sported the color as a testimony to life. It was in her eyes. Glittering as brightly as emeralds once, she wondered how much they had dulled since she had left her home. Would they become as grey as her clothing?
The road slowly changed. The ground became firm and it was not a relief from the mud. Stones bit into the soles of her feet and the unforgiving dirt slammed onto her heels. Now she was sure that her feet bled. Slowly sensation returned to her feet and ankles once the mud was no longer claiming her heat. Return of sensation brought only pain. Blisters began to form and then broke open and stung.
Blue was her skin. A color she always wore. Pale with a darker shade beneath her nails and where her skin creased. Her lips were such a dark blue that they had almost become black. Hers was the only blue skin. The rest of her people had been slain when they had fought back. She had been a coward huddling in the corner of her bed room where her husband had sent her to hide. Now she wished that she had fought and died.
To be the last was worse then being dead.
A moment of hope struck her heart as she thought about the other lines of slaves that had started the march with them but had peeled away from them along the way to travel other routes to other places. Some of her people could be in those lines. No. She had seen no one else as she was dragged through the streets and when the iron had been slapped onto her skin. She had looked for them in vain. Bodies were all that was left there when she left.
Purple is the royal color. The flag that one rider carried snapped hungrily in the wind. She hated to look at it. But it wasn’t the purple or the flag that she hated. It was the man that had claimed the color as his own. He could not have it. It belonged to her and the other slaves as much as it did to the king. Unless he dung out all the peasants’ eyes, he could not keep it for himself. She shuddered. There was no cruelty that was out of the king’s reach. If he so desired, he could claim all their eyes.