||The sudden light from the lamp caused a bruised hand to come up, shielding her eyes. A figure suddenly loomed in the door and then was thrust into the room. He caught his balance before he collided with her, only to sink slowly to the floor in exhaustion. He stayed there and fell asleep on the hard ground. Sam closed her eyes, vowing to take a few moments to think, but was soon herself asleep next to Daniel.
"Get up," the voice growled. Instantly two pairs of blue eyes snapped open and blinked at the face above them. "Get up," he said forcefully.
They got up, Daniel scrubbing his face and his eyes. He watched as Sam was also standing and rubbing her eyes. They were far from morning people, and especially now when they had nothing to look forward to but digging, sawing and hauling material around in the forest and plains. The door was flung open - they were grateful they even got a door to the small 6 by 6 hut - and the man pointed with his stick to the door.
Exiting, Daniel dipped his hands in the water beside the hut and splashed some of it over his face. He smiled at Sam as she lightly stuck her un-bruised hand in the water. "We have to change the bandage today," he said lightly.
"We should have some time during lunch," Sam replied. Glancing up at him as they walked to the main hut in which they had breakfast and dinner, she said, "It looks like you are working on that beard you swore you would never grow again."
"Well they have yet to approve my request for a razor," he said. Looking down at the food, he smiled at the woman who served him, plopping the mush into the wooden bowl, "And I see they have yet to meet my dietary needs."
"Oh come on, it's a beautiful array of ... what did we have yesterday?" For the past two weeks they had found ways to keep their sprits up by playing small games, including the "we are having food today" game. Each meal was the same mush, but to Sam and Daniel it was a new delicacy of favored food group. They had yet to convince themselves the liquid slop was coffee, but at least they could tolerate the food.
"Cranberries and turkey, but that was dinner. Yesterday we dined on... French toast, making this the pancake and eggs day," Daniel said happily. Taking a spoonful of the off white less then creamy concoction he ate it and closed his eyes. "Mm, divine."
"That's something my dad would do," Sam said. "If Mark or I would not eat our carrots or peas, he would sit there and make everything seem like it was the best food he ever ate. It worked when we were younger, but he would still do it every once and awhile."
Daniel looked at her and placed a hand over her bandage. "We will get home."
They clung to that one phrase like the lifeboat it was to their sanity. They pushed their bowls away, not a morsel wasted, as the bell clanged, letting the twenty or so workers that they had to start their journey to the forest and start working.
They were fortunate to work side by side as they sawed fallen trees into planks of wood. Daniel talked about how this was the way all homes were built before the days of modern building and engineered materials.
"When the settlers first migrated west in America, they would clear land and cut the trees much like this to make their homes. However if they settled on the plains, they would use material they brought with them, or sometimes would even break down the wagons and use it as building material." He paused as he took out his canteen and drank, handing it to Sam he continued. "In the late 1800s, homes were four on four homes - meaning they were four boxes stacked upon each other. Usually they were 16 feet by 16 feet squares, set side by side, leaving about 7 feet between each set of boxes on the bottom. That would become the main hallway."
"So that's why the older homes look like they are boxes, and are the same dimensions," Sam said. She helped push the piece of wood they had finished slicing to the side, coming around to help carry the piece over to the pile where others were cutting the lengths down or shaving off the bark. "How would they build the second story without modern equipment?"
"Well it was much more dangerous. Sometimes they would help their neighbors, like the barn raisings they had years earlier. They would help one neighbor with the framing, and sometimes the finishing of the second story and roof. It was a hard ordeal to raise a roof," Daniel said as they prepared to cut the next plank. "How's your hand?"
"Sore. I think I need to change it before we cut this piece," Sam said, looking at the hand. During their first week, she had tried to grab a knife that one of the guards was wielding at a frightened young boy. Her hand was sliced and she was taken to a shed and had her hand whacked until it was black and blue and bloody. Now they took off the strip of cloth Daniel had ripped off from his cloth pants, and exposed the wound.
"It's healing. It does not look as bad at least," Daniel said with an encouraging smile. Pouring some water into a cup they had near by, he soaked the cloth in it, getting some of the fried blood off it. He poured some of the water on her hand, cleaning the wound the best they could. Sitting back they rested for a moment longer before wrapping her hand back up.
"Ok, I'm ready," Sam said as Daniel tied the knot. She looked into his blue eyes and nodded. "I'll be ok. We need to get this done."
"Your turn for topic," Daniel said as he helped her up and went around to his side of the handsaw.
She smiled. "I have been enjoying listening to the beginnings of modern construction. I hope to make my topic half as interesting."
"I promise not to glaze over and ask dumb questions," Daniel grinned. "Pick your topic."
"Well, I have always liked watching ice skating. It's a secret passion Janet, Cassie and I indulged every winter," Sam said. She waited a moment and saw Daniel intently watching her. She smiled and continued to talk about her favorite ice skating memories, amazing Daniel once more at the diverse likings of the woman he worked with for 10 years.
Dinner was more slop - creamy mashed potatoes with that salty gravy the SGC commissary seemed to be experts in making. They walked about the camp of 14 huts, ten for the laborers, and 4 for the guards, enjoying the light breeze that nipped with a warning of winter.
"If we could figure out where we are, maybe we can get to the Gate before they knew we were gone," Daniel said.
"Nice plan, but I think these mean guys would expect that and after trying to interfere already," she held up her hand, "I am kind of wary to try something right now. But trust me, between us I know we can come up with something and get home."
"And maybe free these people," Daniel said, looking around as he sat on a log outside their hut.
"None of them are very talkative, but then again we are still new," Sam said, sinking beside him. The breeze picked up a bit and blasted them, sending a shiver down Sam's spine. Without hesitation, Daniel shrugged off his coat and wrapped it around her.
"We will make it home, one way or the other. I am sure they are just waiting for us," Daniel said, staring at the stars.
"You might scare them with that beard of yours," she said, scratching it. They laughed, letting the tension of the drain away a bit. "Of course with this very nonmilitary cut I am starting to sport, I suppose I have no room to say anything."
"Once you start telling them how the Gate works, they will know exactly who you are. Shoulder length hair and all," he smiled.
Turning back to the stars he wondered how he could make sure she got safely away from the camp and whoever was really holding him. Each night they would drag him to a separate hut where the men would gather, 19 including the guards, and watch as they tortured and raped one of the four other women. He knew it would be a matter of time before they noticed he and Sam were not married and come after her as well.
Hearing Sam sigh, he pulled her close and decided to go into the hut before the guards would come looking for the entertainment that night.