Deep in the hold, gripped tight by the billowy roll and rock of a sleepless ocean, the cargo stirs. Weight shifts on creaky deck-boards, seeking balance and rest. Chains shake and rattle, testing their limits of free play.
Dark day bleeds into endless night. Hitherto random sounds start to take shape and gather to a shared syncopation that can seize time and turn hours into minutes, minutes into seconds. And any second now, you may sense the steady Rhythmic pulse of six hundred hearts beating as one.
Far above, the slaver’s fiddle can’t help but fall in with the beat.
Image: Schooner Bill of Rights