One day, I was sitting on the tallest rock near the cove when I saw the water looking like it was gasping for breath, pulling itself down, hard. I thought a storm was coming, but the sky was clear and calm and blue. Far away, I saw a boat, getting bigger as it came, churning up waves.
I hid between some rocks. I stayed there for a long time, listening to harsh shouting, sorrow-filled wailing, boots thumping, fright-choked gagging, and metal scraping against stone. Finally, when the sky was dark and the horrible noises had stopped, I crawled to the top of the hill to hide in the twisted tree. It glowed in the moonlight, quiet and still, like nothing had changed. But just as my fingers touched the trunk’s solid bark, someone grabbed me and threw me to the ground. My head hit a shallow root.
Hands, lots of hands, grabbed my arms and my legs and my neck. Then one pair of hands, black hands, crushed my chest so hard I could hardly breathe. The tall man whose hands those were hissed ugly things in my ear and dragged me over tangles of gnarled-up roots, down the hill, and across rocks and sand. Then he picked me up and dropped me into a small boat filled with tied-up people. I got bound up too.
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