They carried him over their heads, then strapped him down to the ceremonial rock they had spent the last six months carving out of the rocks and boulders.
The sun broke through the dark storm sky, a fiery red glow lit the scene, reflecting their anger.
Obafemi raised his chisel over the simpering man. He was no longer struggling to be set free, but lay exhausted and fearful.
‘Now all will know what you are and how you made your wealth. You will see how it is to be branded for life.’
The man’s scream as the chisel made the first mark on his torso wrenched the air asunder. Obafemi grimly carried on while the others watched.
It was two days later that the British Naval squadron under Captain Neville Hunt arrived in the port, responding to reports of a slave revolt in the town. In the harbour they noted a sloop at anchor but with no crew on deck. On boarding they found the familiar cages below deck.
They saw no victims, only abandoned houses and empty streets in the dusty rural outpost. The settlers had fled, and there was no sign of any slaves, revolting or otherwise.
Only when they reached the grand building, built from fine stone on top of the hill that overlooked the land below, did they find the man, unconscious and tied to a sculpted rock.
Across his torso, carved roughly in blood, were the words ‘Slave Trader.’