I sat under the already wearing out, thatched roof of my aunts shop looking at the activities of the market. People were engaged in one thing or the other. While others are buying, others are selling then there are those that came to cause chaos, those that came to steal, those that were sent by the ministers to guide the affairs of the market. Talking of the ministers, they are powerful and power drunk people who live in the country Fligul. The country is guided by them and the commoners live to abide by their . They set out obligations for people to carry out and they also collect taxes. When l say taxes, mean heavy taxes that overweigh the poor. The whole country is divided into four classes. The Ministers, those who rule. They live in the biggest city of the country which is called the city of the royals. Then the Higher ups. They are closer to the ministers in wealth and status but they do not rule. Then there is the civilians. These people are neither rich nor poor. They can pass as comfortable since they are not oppressed by the ministers as they can afford taxes. They work for the ministers and higher ups as medic, teachers, treasures, secretary, amongst others. Then the Commoners. They are the oppressed ones. Their lives is made a living hell by the ministers; the higher ups don hesitate to inflict pains on them. Regardless of this, they are said to be lucky because they do not fall in the category of the poor. The Poor are the ill treated, brutallised, exploited and enslaved set of people. They are mostly taken captives to be used as slave by the ministers when they default in paying their tax. I fall in the Poors category and l have no one to blame for this tragedy. l grew up to learn that my parents died shortly after my birth. My aunt was the one that took me in and catered for me. She has two other kids to take care of so you wouldn expect me to have ever had luxuries in my life. my aunts never maltreat me when her kids pull stunts to remind me of my place in the family. Her husband is as nice as he can be so l have no much problem growing up. My daily routine for the past five years since l clocked fifteen is to go to the market as early as dawn and come back to the detached cottage l call home. l had grown used to my life activities over the years that l had never dared to imagine myself attending lectures like the kids of my age do as it is only meant for elite kids. Today is just another day to go over the day like l always do. l had woken up as early as l could and had dressed up in a certain gown l had been gifted by my aunt two years ago for my birthday. l had kept it since then for a day that will be special enough for me to be the perfect day. do you to my exposure to the adults life, l know what kids of the poor like myself don know. l know how to add and subtract numbers because that is the basic knowledge anybody that sells in the market should have. Aunt Linda had made sure l have the knowledge since five years ago when she decided l start assisting her in the commoners market where she sells uncle Bens farm produce. Aunt Linda had told me the time of the year l was born and ever since then, l had learnt to calculate the day l will add another year. By my calculations, l am to clock nineteen today. l had worn the best dress l have and had jogged to the market happily. l cared less for anything in the world other than the fact that l am now a year older.

A loud scream that overpowered the usual noise of the market snapped me out of my thought. l jolted up and scurried out of the shed to take a look at the source of the noise. l should have known better l thought to myself. The sight before me is just the usual thing that occurs in the market day by day. The Ministers guards are here to take the kids or relatives of those who were unable to pay their tax. l sighed heavily and walked back to the shed since it is not new to me. Almost everybody in the market has their relative or children serving the ministers or higher ups as a means of paying off their tax. If the family of who was taken captive are unable to pay the tax for the next month, the Ministers guards will come to take another person and in that format, everybody in the family will eventually be taken if they are still unable to pay up. One thing l am grateful to my aunt for is that no one in our family had ever been taken. We are not commoners but my aunt and uncle work so hard to pay their taxes to avoid anyone of us being taken captive.

”Do you have fresh lettuce? ” a customers irking voice rang in my hears and l stood up in a jiffy to attend to her. l scoffed inwardly upon seeing who the customer was. It is Mrs Osward, the gossip. She has a reputation of being the markets gossip with her friends. She also prices goods like hell before she buys. l so much hate customers like her but then, she came this early morning to spoil my birthday mood. Yes Mrs Osward! It is very fresh l replied sarcastically

”How much is it? ”

It is $10 maam And that is the last price! l added immediately to escape further deliberation but who was l kidding? The Mrs Osward l know will not stop at the given price she will make sure she reduces it to an awfully low amount before she buys it. We were still arguing about the price when one of the Ministers guards came to the shed beside ours. Mrs Osward and l stopped our chatter to witness the next person that will be taken. Oh my God! l hope it is not Jane, the girl whose mum owns the shed beside ours. The guard kept looking into a tattered book which l guess is the book where the names of the next captive are listed. While the guard was still looking into the book searching for God knows what, the other guards joined him along with the six people they had previously taken that day.

”Vanessa Hope! ” The guard with the book screamed at the top of his voice. The fear that gripped me after hearing my name was unexplainable. l began to get sweaty as l searched my mind for another Vanessa Hope in the market but l found none other than me! The guard has to be kidding. None of my family members have ever been taken captive and we would never! l wanted to turn and run or do anything but l was petrified when my body wouldn move. l tried harder but still, there was motion as it seems l am glued to the spot. l lowered my head impulsively as I wished the ground will just open and receive me. Damn! this is not happening to me. Not at this stage of my life. Not on my special day. Different thoughts raced through my mind as l thought of the hard labour l will be forced to do. l felt something warm run down my face and l later realized it was my tears. l summoned courage to look up and indeed, all eyes were on me. Some people might have pointed me to the guards because his eyes are now focused on me sizing me up like he was trying to figure out the kind of labour l will be good at. He started walking towards me..

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