It's late at night, and three men are spotted riding horses through the woods. Their pace was somewhat incredible considering the storm that was occurring. Their conversation was partially audible over the rain, but one thing is for sure, they are definitely looking for me. One of the men says,
“Why are we even looking for a measly rat, we need to be ready for the party tomorrow” in an annoyed tone.
The other replies nonchalantly,
“We shouldn’t care so much, the Master said we would have a lot of fun with the rest of them because of his escape. If you ask me, Jacob needs to be killed for telling us this late -- that kid is long gone."
I watched them ride away in the distance while I lay among the woods for shelter.
“Tonight was definitely the best night for my escape,” I thought to myself.
The rain conceals my presence and wipes away my tracks, and the thunder hides any sound I would make. They are idiots for even attempting to look for me.
Lightning struck in the direction of the three men and as it illuminated the surroundings, I could tell they weren't returning. My clothes are soaked. I can feel the rain on my face...and I can hear thunder...and it all makes me feel liberated.
“I needed to keep going since I have no clue of when they'll return,” I pondered.
As I climbed down a tree, leaping from branch to branch, I’ve realized how far I'd come, how strong I've turned, and how quickly I could run. After all, living my life as a slave has definitely boosted my strength and stamina. Training while being thrashed has given me this fearsome physique, and I'm going to make them pay for it tomorrow night.
"I'm not a sadist, but what I'm about to do to them will be a lot of fun" I said with a grin.
"They've had the blood of tens of thousands of slaves on their hands, and the number of corpses they've claimed is enough to fill a town." I said with all the rage in my eyes.
I didn't know I was talking out loud, so I'd best keep quiet for the rest of the night. My shoes had a plethora of holes in them and it's only a matter of time before they are completely ruined, and my slave clothes are hanging on by a mere thread.
"I'll have to locate a place to stay away from the storm for the night," I thought.
I noticed the three men's footprints not long after I got back on my feet, and I ran into them again not long after that. Silently, I swiftly climbed the tree next to me and hid. They seem to have given up searching for me and are returning in the direction I was coming from.
"They must be returning to the plantation," I reasoned.
After they went, I discovered a dry cave in the woods, and it's obvious they didn't come in to look for me, so I'm fairly certain they didn't see this comfy place. After a few hours in the cave, I made every effort not to fall asleep. I can't help myself; my fear of sleep is so ingrained in my thoughts that I only get a few hours of sleep each night. I'm presently dreaming once again of getting my brandings from my master, which are in the shape of a horseshoe with crisp, rich black skin around it and a squishy center on both of my palms. As if that wasn't enough, he felt obliged to give me one in the middle of my back and in the center of my chest. I suppose I was his most treasured property. In my dreams, my most horrific events would be replayed in my head. Then, there are the harsh whippings, which is my most vivid dream. It was almost as if I'm reliving it: both arms shackled and tied to a tree-like an ornament, they'd beat me brutally for days, and the worst part was that they'd injected salt, pepper, tabasco, and lime into my wounds. I'd be fed maybe once every 20 hours or so. They used me as an example because they wanted to be feared. They are now the ones who are terrified of me! They treat us like cattle, working us as if we were wild animals, and torturing us to keep us awake at night. I've spent more time in the spike collar than anybody else here. You can't lay down since the spike collar's blades are facing the inside of your neck; my personal best is 67 hours of continuous labor, during those time I moved like a brainless monster with no thought process. My spirit has been darkened for a long time.
After a few hours...
I awoke in the cave from my nightmare, confused as to why I wasn't in the stable where I normally spent the night with the others; then it all came back to me as I remembered my escape. Running away from the slave masters that had horses was no easy task -- I can thank my abnormal athleticism for that. Hundreds of years of hard work are in my bloodline; I was bred for battle.
"Hmm, I suppose I didn't have the mutilation nightmare tonight," I thought as I gaze down at my hands.
Massaging the horseshoe mark on my palm, I stare at my severed ring fingers on both hands as I flip my hand over.
"Eight fingers isn't that terrible," I reasoned. “I'm still able to handle a blade with ease.”
Looking further into the cave reveals the cave's blackness and that's when the loneliness set in. When I broke away from my routine for the first time, I'd never had free time before. I've never felt so alone in my life. I had no option but to dwell in my recollections while I was alone with just my thoughts. I began to reflect on the previous evening.
The others and I were working on the rice crops today. Everyone looked so thin and hungry
“It's only a matter of time before something worse happened,” I thought to myself.
Today is the day though. It was hard planning an escape without being able to communicate. Nighttime was the only chance we had, only a few minutes to talk before the slave masters came to guard for escapees. The lovely sound of soul music that was being sung to indicate my departure in the background -- everyone was looking at each other for confirmation as we all made eye contact. The master could clearly see something was going on and took it upon him to put an end to it. He descended his horse as he took one of the women singing by the hair.
"If you don't shut up I will end your family right now."
This not being the first time he's made such a bold threat.
"He can't afford to kill any more of us", or so I thought.
The others continued with their singing getting more louder and emotional. (Nina Simone - Strange fruit [Blood on the leaves])
On this property there were around a hundred of us; we were separated to work in fields of twenty slaves each. The life of a slave was nothing more than living like an animal -- daily beatings, whippings, and unfortunately, rape. And when you're young like me you get worked to the bone -- nineteen out of twenty-four hours is spent on the field, and the little time I have at night is spent plotting my escape. I've been brutally battered to the point of near-paralysis. I would have died if it hadn't been for my older sister who looks after me. They like tormenting us beyond recognition, as shown by all these scars on my body. If I didn't have anything to lose, I'd murder these scumbags right now. For years, I've been preparing my body so that I can effectively flee.
"At least, that's what I told everyone else." I muttered to myself.
Despite how bad things were, we managed to find happiness in our own unique manner. We held secret weddings, and even small dinners; albeit leftover trash from the main house, but it became a tradition. One thing the masters will learn is, we may be subservient now … but we will always be plotting and we never forget!!
**Flash forward to the present**
I remained in the cave for the next fifteen hours waiting for the dead of night. At this point, I should be kilometers out, or so the plan went. My brothers and sisters gave me this chance, but they should have understood that I will either die tonight or we will all get out. Outside, it's the darkest it's ever been; my eyes have acclimated to the darkness thanks to the cave, and the rain has long since ceased. I emerged from the cave and began to go by treetop, jumping from one to the other. I could see two white guys keeping guard as I approached the end of the woodland and the opening that led to the property.
"They must be on high alert and don't want anybody else to get away," I reasoned. "So I'll have to use the weapon the others sneaked out of the home for me."
"Please be cautious, and remember that everyone here is praying for you," my older, dark curly-haired sister says as she gives me a worn-out blade she had concealed in her clothing.
"You are destined to be the best among us," an elderly guy says to me as everyone watches. I nod and grasp the blade.
Back To Present**
"Arrrrg!" shouted one of the white guards, as the other panickily looked over to find me clutching his buddy's cut neck.
He might still fight back, so I let him go so I could deal with the guy across from me.
The uninjured man panickily grabbed his single shooter while shouting,
"You nig," but I'm too quick, and I stab his firing hand and kick his jaw with my right foot while both feet are off the ground.
I begin to remember when I used to train. A hidden room at the rear of the barn used to be where the twenty of us stayed. There was a concealed loose board that I could simply remove and utilize to go into the woods. Everyone used to stand in for me so they wouldn't know if I was gone when they checked. I used to practice my acrobatic abilities in the woods; at first, I couldn't even perform one backflip, but soon I began doing backflips on trees and practicing punches and kicks. There was once a 40-inch-wide tree that is now on the verge of falling over due to the pressure of years of mistreatment.