Thirteen-year-old Clavassinin always wanted out of being a peasant. One day, she and her best friend Sakhi get a chance to change their fortunes. In her struggle to rise to the top and become the first woman pharaoh of Egypt, she encounters hidden dangers, heartache, and love along the way. More
Whoosh clack, whoosh clack goes the whip beating down on my back. My back, being sunbaked, breaks open easily looking like a delta with tiny rivers branching off of it. I fall to my knees, gritting my teeth not to scream out in agony. Then it is over, just like that. I take a shaky breath and rise to my feet. I look up at the landlord that gave me a beating then quickly get to work again. “We are going to make more than the landlord needs this time.” I mutter under my breath after the landlord passes. My eyes flicker over to my best friend Sakhi, deep olive skin tone and bright hazelnut eyes find mine and hold my gaze. He switches places with the other people around us until he is standing next to me. “You ok?” he mumbles. “Yes” I reply. “How about you” I ask. “Fine” he says. We then get back to work plowing the ground with an old bent up pickaxes. The silence between us becomes uncomfortable. Sakhi breaks the silence by saying “I guess I need to get back to my post... he pauses... ok? “ Yeah... bye” I reply.
After five hours of plowing in the scorching Egyptian sun, the landlords finally allow us to rest. He huddles us all into a large room to tell us some big news. They are sending two people, one girl, and one boy up to the next stage in the Egypt social hierarchy. The room flutters with anticipated excitement. The landlord in the front of the room clears his throat and in a loud booming voice calls out “Clavassinin and Sakhi.” Sakhi and I exchange bewildered glances as everyone ushers us to the front of the room. We exchange formal congratulations from the old folk and dirty snickers and glares from the young folk. When we finally get to the front of the room the landlord says “I will find you an adopted family immediately.” Then it hits me. The landlord had said that they were taking two people, not two families. I would have to leave my family behind.
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