COTTON by Sandra Pavlic

COTTON by Sandra Pavlic
From the book

Don't resist!” shouted a horrible man, who was dragging me somewhere. He was white, with 
moustaches, brown hair about 40 years old. A real old man! I tried one more time to get out of his 
hands. All for nothing.
“Kate! I told you something!” he shouted one more time. Then they covered my eyes with black 
scarf. I felt they were dragging me somewhere. All of the sudden I heard a noise. They untied me. I 
found myself in ship's deck. I was free but couldn't go nowhere because I was already at sea. I walked 
to the back and I saw the coast was far away. Not one person stood there. Or maybe they weren't 
there in the first place. There were a few people on the ship. Black people. We were all black people. 
Mostly man, but some female as well. They were all looking at me feeling sorry for me. It looked like 
they knew where we they were going. What about me? Am I going there also? Why were they 
looking at me so strange? In the evening we get a very poor meal. For me it was OK, because I was 
eating only bread for a long time. Just to survive. Time on the ship was passing very slowly. It felt a 
month but it was only just a week. It was warm outside and I wanted to sleep on deck.
“Where are you going Kate?” asked a watcher.
“I want to sleep on the deck.”
“No you won't. You will sleep where others are.”
“But it's warm enough.”
“Obey and go back to the rest.”
“Okay.” I was upset but went back under the deck. There was a big room with wooden beds where 
people slept. I found my bed and went to sleep. I couldn’t sleep because it was hot like hell and they 
wouldn’t let me go upstairs. I closed my eyes and hoped everything’s going to be okay.
“Poor girl,” said a woman. 
The next day I again tried to sleep on deck, but I couldn’t. I wanted to throw myself over board! I 
don’t want to sleep there! At night you hear everything – people talking in sleep, snoring, some 
people smell because they don’t wash up,… and with them I must sleep, I don’t even speak to them.
Someone got seasick. I think his name was Joe. It was raining outside, so everyone has to be 
downstairs. Joe started to throw up, coughing, sneezing, heating and he had a hallucinations. He 
looked to others and me. He looked me as he wanted to say “poor child.” Some people were beside 
him – probably the ones who knew him. The Captain told some people to clean the room and he 
personally examined Joe. After a week it was still raining. More than ever. Joe was feeing worse. He 
died that night. Some keepers came downstairs and lift Joe with his bed and throw him overboard. 
They said: “amen” and we repeated the word. Strange silence was that day. Everyone was mourning, 
even me who didn’t know Joe.

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