We all gave out a collective groan as we came out of the portal. As I stood a wave of nausea hit me. I bent over and vomited in a metal bucket that came through with the barn. I could see others doing the same thing off to the side. The barn transported us to the area shown in The Folder. A beautiful blue stream snaked through the lush, vibrant green forest. We stood on a small dirt path that sliced through the woods. The trail seemed well traveled and the thousands of feet compacted it. In the trees above (OADJ), insects buzzed and birds chirped.
The barn we we came in was now a homey mud brick building. After seeing the serene and peaceful area, a warm wave of calm spread over me. Out of the woods to my left, a small party of native Vernans stepped into the clearing. The man who led them, tall, broad, and strong, carried a long whip coiled around his waist along with a short sword strapped to his back. “Thank you for the fresh delivery,” he said to the man who brought us through the portal, “The others are almost all dead by now. I have your payment waiting for you in town as promised. The man apprehensively scampered away, obviously afraid of this man.
As he ran up the path he tripped and fell over and fell over an outstretched root. The followers stepped forward with thick ropes in their arms. They formed a rough circle around us and slowly, cautiously, moved in. “If you try anything funny we will use lethal force,” the leader warned. “I know you all must be confused about what is going on. The truth is the “Folder” was a scam to find people who were so desperate they would leave everything. The pictures you saw were all of native Vernans in the city of Vazdas.
All of the humans we collect are sent there to work as slaves. Most of you will not survive the month. ” While he explained this, the guards bound our hands with a thick sturdy rope. We were all tied together to form one long line. The guards fanned out alongside of us, cautiously, worried at what we might try (DADV). drew their primitive wooden spears. If anyone ever strayed too far from the line was prodded back into place. After walking for an hour, the elderly man in the group tripped on a rock and fell hard. His ankle was bruised and grossly disfigured.
The guards tried to force him to walk, but he could not muster the strength. They cut him loose from the ropes and led him to the leader. At the sight of the broken ankle the leader drew his sword and slit the elderly man’s throat. “If you are weak or uncooperative, this is what happens,” he snarled while pointing at the man’s now still body. Our group trekked on in relative silence after the horrific experience. We eventually stopped at a large set of iron gates. They creaked open slowly at the sight of the leader.
The guards separated us into groups as we entered the city. I was placed with a woman and her daughter. She was eight years old at best. She clutched her mother and sobbed into her dress. The three of us were led onto the beach seen in “The Folder”. The sand much larger than that on Earth, looked like marbles. Sitting in ornate chairs near the edge of the water were the Vernans from the image. The were all enjoying themselves and having a good time. Halfstarved humans stumbled around them. Some carried food, some carried drinks, and others carried the Vernans supplies.
Crimson blood trickled out of open wounds. One human, an old lady, dropped the tray of drinks she carried. The Vernan screamed at him, leapt on him, and beat him. He did not stop until the man became still. Our group led to the furthest side of the beach where the mines were. Large, craggy (OADJ), the mine tore a hole in the surface of the planet. From it rang the sound of pickaxes striking stone. On rickety wooden tracks, a lone minecart rose to the surface. The cart, ancient and falling apart, looked as if it would collapse at any moment.
Slowly (OADV), it came to a rest at the end of the tracks. The guards formed a line behind us with their spears in hand. They walked forward, forcing us into the chasm. Roughly, a guard pushed me from behind. I stumbled into the wall. My hand rubbed against the rock, coarse and hard. They unbound us from each other. Trying to get feeling back to my hands, I rubbed my wrists. As. hobbled down the the unstable stair I realized this is what my life would be until I died, which probably would not be long.