We rubbed our eyes and realized we were back in our chamber with a silver leaf glowing faintly above us.
We almost reached for the silver leaf but we knew we would have to go through another day in the broiling sun swinging and cutting the coco pods from the tree branches. Those coco pods were filled with coco beans, the most important ingredient in chocolate. So, we’d have to wait for another night to get back to the Silver Leaf Chamber.
A few nights later there was a party for the Mandis and Ocellus and I knew we’d be able to sneak out of our chamber without being bothered.
We went the same way, found the silver leaves and slid down to the Siver Leaf Chamber.
Fortuna was waiting for us and smiled her welcome. She pointed to the ceiling of this enormous chamber. We couldn’t tell what it was made of but what a sight! We could see almost everything that was above us, outside the tunnel: the whole slave plantation and everyone sleeping in their usual exhausted way, a few Mandis guarding any possible way into or, really, out of the area, while the other Mandis were enjoying their party. We could see the coco pods that were attached to the branches, and even high above, the stars twinkling in the late-night sky.
Fortuna told us that we were guided by the silver leaves so that we would have hope that we would help us figure-out how to escape the awfulness of where Ocellus and I and all the others slaved-away every day.
“Did you notice what is so different about everyone in the Silver Leaf Chamber?”, Fortuna asked.
“Well,” Chitkin, stammered in amazement, and then we both said, “everyone is happy!”
“Yes, that’s right.” answered Fortuna. “And that’s because they don’t have to be here, they don’t have to live in horrible conditions, they don’t have to be in slavery, and they have hope.”
“You can see over in that area some of the little ones are in school. Yes, learning all about…well, everything,” continued Fortuna. “One day you may be able to go to school, again.” “Well, let’s go see toutes les choses!” suggested Fortuna. So, off we went to stare wide-eyed at so many marvellous sights.
First Ocellus and I wanted to understand what we were looking at along one wall. It was a bit hard to describe. There were tubes that looked like they were made from diamonds, all sparkling in many colours, and inside each tube was a marshmellow that looked like it was made from… “Yes”, murmured Fortuna. It’s sugar lurp!” Oh, ya! Ocellus and I were drooling at this sight. Fortuna told us this was made here for special queens living all over the world. Then she offered each of us a little taste. Our eyes became twice the size as normal and we blinked so quickly we could hardly tell what was around us! Soooo good!
Fortuna guided us over to a kind of little store. “This way, Ocellus and Chitkin.” When we squeezed through the doorway we were staring at shelves that seemed to go all the way up to the sky.
“This seems imposs…” stuttered Chitkin. And I just laughed with excitement as we looked up until we almost fell over backwards. Each shelf had all these little choclate bars on them wrapped in gold wrapping with the words, ‘peanut butter’, ‘peacans’, ‘milk’, ‘dark’, ‘cherries’, ‘coffee’, ‘sea salt’, and oh so many more.
“But what do you do with all of these, Fortuna?” I asked.
“Yes, what could you possibly do with all of these?”Chitkin wondered.
“Well, we send them to two-legs who make choclates, all over the world. They give them good ideas for making choclates, without any slavery involved.” sighed Fortuna.
“So, if these two-legs begin to see that they can make choclates without keeping us and all of our sisters in slavery, they might start looking for ways to make their own choclates, free of slavery.” Chikin suggested.
“Yes, that’s right, Chitkin.” Fortuna agreed.
I thought about this but there must be more to helping me and Chitkin escape and to change how two-legs made choclates and…
Fortuna waved her legs and said, “You two must return to your beds and think more about what you’ve seen and what might be the best way for you to escape.
“Maybe we’ll see each other again. Until then, I know the silver leaf will be in your mind’s eye all the time. This is good because this will help you to keep up your spirits and to know that there is a way for you to escape!” , Fortuna whispered as we drifted off to sleep in our own chamber, dreaming and dreaming and…
END CHAPTER #17