Zamba heard noises and people outside but he kept his eyes shut in case Matwanda or anyone else came unexpectedly into the hut. He knew the fate that awaited him if someone found him awake and stronger than expected. Eventually, he really did fall asleep and when he awoke the hut was dark and it was quiet all around him.
He sat up slowly and looked around the hut. It was empty except for someone laying on a mat near the door. Zamba didn't know if it was a guard or a nursemaid. He couldn't do anything in this light and in his weakened condition, so he laid down and schemed how best to get out of here before Matwanda and his men returned. There would be no hope then. Zamba figured he had one to two weeks before he returned, if he were on a raid. That should give him three days tops to gain back his strength and still give him enough time to get far enough away that Matwanda couldn't find him again. He had to eat and exercise and still look frail enough that the guards wouldn't be overly concerned about him. There was much to do and little time but he needed his rest so he closed his eyes and willed himself back to sleep.
In the morning, he woke and the hut was empty. He sat up and decided to try and get out of bed. He needed to relieve himself. He pulled his knees under himself and tried to push himself up off the mat. He didn't have enough strength. He pulled himself up to a standing position using the sides of the hut. He took his first step but stumbled and only remained standing because his arms were still strong and gripping the side of the hut. He realized he was weaker than anticipated and that just getting out of the hut was going to take a lot of time and most of his energy. He slowly edged along the side of the hut wondering why his mat had to be the furthest thing from the door. When he made it to the door, he saw many people moving around the village of huts, mostly women. There were some men left as guards, which he had suspected. They were mostly older and not as agile which is probably why they were left on guard duty.
Zamba saw Zuri cooking nearby and called out to her. She hurried over to Zamba.
"Let me help you. Where do you want to go? With Matwanda away it's okay to walk around and be with us," said Zuri.
"I needed ...uh uh relief," said Zamba with his eyes down and his face red.
"Oh, um let me help you get behind the hut and then I will leave you with a walking stick," said Zuri. She helped him behind the hut and handed him a stick that reached to his shoulder. "Call out if you need help returning." Zuri scurried around the hut and waited for Zamba's call. She wasn't about to check on him. She soon heard the slow plodding of his footsteps and peaked around the hut. He was moving slowly toward her, looking closely at the ground so as not to stumble or fall. He soon joined her.
"Let's get you some food," said Zuri. She helped him back to the mat in the hut where Zamba refused to lay down but rather wanted to sit up.
"I need to gain back my strength," Zamba said.
Zuri brought him some food and they talked.
"What will you do when Matwanda returns? If you are strong enough he will sell you into slavery." asked Zuri.
"I know. I have a plan," said Zamba, for that was all he was going to tell her. He didn't want her stopping him and he didn't want her in trouble for helping him.
He spent the next three days resting, eating and gaining his strength back. He started out walking by himself around the hut and worked himself up to walking the length of the village. He was allowed free reign to walk as everyone wanted him strong so he could be sold. By the end of the third day he knew he was strong enough to escape if he had a few days advance on Matwanda. Regardless, he knew tonight was the night to go.
Check back tomorrow to see if he is able to escape!