Discussing Punished ~ Ch. 20 – 21


If you’re just joining us, we’re discussing Kira Saito’s Punished, the second book in the Arelia LaRue series, chapter by chapter. If you’d like to discuss it with us, you can pick up here, or go back to any of the previous chapters I’ve posted on. I LOVE comments!!

Ch. 20 Out in the Cotton Fields

Arelia marched out with the hundreds of other slaves to the cotton fields.

They varied greatly in age and height, but all of their faces told the same sordid tale of utter misery.

The slaves began strapping on large sacks and grabbed large baskets, but Arelia stood shell-shocked. Louis told her to quickly get to work before she was seen, but she asked, “Why?”. Louis wondered aloud what had gotten into her. He went and placed a sack around her neck and a basket in her arm.

“Don’t draw attention to yourself. They aren’t going to accept any less than two hundred pounds…”

Arelia reluctantly started picking, realizing there was no possible way she’d ever pick 200 pounds. She kept waiting to wake up from the nightmare, but she continued picking for the next eighteen hours.

My hands were raw and sore. My feet ached in excrutiating agony, and I was thirsty as hell. I was ready to take the strap straight off the bag and make a noose out of it. I didn’t because I had nowhere to actually hang myself.

For a moment Arelia felt absolute rage towards Lucus, but she knew it wasn’t really his fault. She did, however, finally understand why Louis would hate Lucus. {Kira made me feel rage myself for what many slaves had to endure. She painted very vivid pictures in just few words.}
At the end of the day Louis realized Arelia didn’t have nearly enough cotton and began scooping handfuls of his into her basket. Arelia went ahead of Louis to have her’s weighed, and the driver “passed” her. Louis was next…,”Fail.” Louis was thrust into the corner and whip met flesh as Arelia held back tears and vomit. As much as Arelia hated the present-day Louis, this one had taken her beating. Sousson Pannan tempted her with his own form of “help”, and she was just about to give in until Bade showed up.
The beating finally stopped and Louis stumbled over to Arelia.

“Back to the cabin, you’ll know what to do,…”

This seems to be another sign that this Louis, not just the present-day Louis, knows Arelia. Or, is he thinking that she is her great geat-great grand-mere, maybe? He is calling her Arelia, though. What do y’all think?

Ch. 21 Healing Louis

Arelia helped Louis back to the cabin and he laid down on his stomach.

“Arelia, go get the herbs.”

Arelia told him that she didn’t know where they were, but he told her that she needed to quit playing games. She thought about where they’d be hidden and remembered the journal. Arelia dug until she found a box.

“Hurry, Arelia. I’m supposed to meet her tonight,”…

{So, Arelia is not “the girl”. I’m definitely still confused about how he’d know her, then.}

Arelia realized that if Louis left, then that would be her chance to escape. She wondered who he was going to meet. It was a major struggle for Arelia to even look at Louis’ back. She put the oils and herbs on and Louis cried out. Then he told her to hurry because “she” would be waiting by the river. Arelia told Louis to tell her about the girl as Arelia sliced open her palm to sacrifice her blood for his healing. Louis said that the girl worked in the big house.

“I love her; we’re going to be together forever. She’s promised me that already. When I’m with her, I forget all this misery, and I know redemption is close for me.”

{How can you not feel bad for Louis here?}

Arelia called to Erzulie, and Erzulie accepted her sacrifice for Louis’ healing. Louis stated that the spirits always favored Arelia.

Louis got up to leave and gave Arelia a kiss on her cheek. She had a strong sense of deja – vu. She wracked her brain over how she knew him. {I’m thinking this totally has to be Ivan. Ivan is such a tortured soul.} As Louis was leaving, Arelia thought to ask what he thought of Lucus. He seemed taken aback. He didn’t really have any strong opinions of Lucus, claiming he was nice enough.
Louis then thought that Arelia was asking because she was interested in Lucus. Louis warned her away from Lucus and suggested somone like Edward. Arelia wondered who Edward was. {Is this Edward going to be someone significant?} Arelia sent Louis on his way, wishing him a good night.
As Louis left, Arelia thought of Mrs. Dreaux. Arelia thought of how she didn’t want to waste her whole life trying to prove that she was good enough for Tony – good enough for Mrs. Dreaux’s life. {I’m hoping this is enough to keep her permenantly away from Tony.}
Arelia then searched the cabin for cornbread and a blue-grey candle. She changed back into her green dress running purely on adrenaline. She also thought to grab some oil and herbs in case they were needed and headed out of the cabin.

If I didn’t escape now and reconnect with my soul, I would be a prisoner for eternity in this plane. My life would be a never-ending battle that would consist of rotten food and intolerable amounts of labor. Escape was my only option.

These last two chapters have been a bit rough. It’s never easy looking at the evils of our past.
At this point, I’m certain that Louis is Ivan, but I have no idea as to who this mystery girl is. Any ideas???