The Slave Traders
It has been known for years now that slave traders are operating in this area yet despite the best attempts of the police captain and his men it has proven impossible to make a single conviction.
Some people have blamed this on poor Captain Jacobs himself, suggesting he is corrupt, but this is unfair on the poor man as he is no more involved with the traders than the rest of us.
Wherever you go, you will hear people talking of the traders — from the bars to the library, the primary school to the prison cell — they are discussed everywhere in this town and yet no one will come out and name names.
When the subject is brought up of an evening, after a few drinks, everyone will lay claim to some familiarity, yet when they are called upon as witnesses they crumble and talk incoherently, leaving the jurors unimpressed.
And this is the problem poor Captain Jacobs faces. He points out, rightly enough, that he cannot hope to make any arrests when not one instance of criminal activity has been reported. The judges concur saying they need evidence, hearsay and whispers are not enough alone.
Even the common folk — on the rare occasion when they are called upon as jurors — become more critical when they are forced to listed to the stammering testimonies of witnesses.
They instantly forget their own ordeals at the hands of the traders and instead take great delight in teasing the haggard witnesses with questions that they themselves shrink in fear from.
Although few would claim that this trade can do any good still so many look down their noses at those poor souls who claim we need to set ourselves ‘free’.
What weakness in us was it that the slave traders first saw when they appeared so long ago — long, long before the fighting first broke out.
For they have been in place, since those first historic battles erupted. Whilst our ancestors died on bloodied spears, they only grew, thriving on the carnage. Though their gutless trade puts them in the thick of things it brings them no harm and always once the dust has settled they emerge stronger.
And so we find ourselves in this current sorry state of affairs. Every day Captain Jacobs and his men hatch new plans — of ever increasing complexity — to cease this trade but never do they come to fruition, always it seems the rules of the game are written in bold by the traders themselves.
And through all this there is the feeling, the seductive whisper, that our lives might be easier in slavery, for then what could we possibly be held responsible for?