Disclaimer: These deleted scenes have been posted for your entertainment. However, since they were deleted from the original manuscript, they are not professionally edited, and their content may conflict with the final storyline. 

Listed Scenes: 1) Deleted Prologue

                          2) Deleted Arias/Yuran Backstory

3) Stone's backstory

Prologue:

Small town on outskirts of Kiel, Germany

1945

 

            Einstein sat alone, seemingly undisturbed by the chaos around him. He was aware of the approaching danger. It could be seen in the frantic motion of his hand as he struggled to turn the ink from his feather into a message. Einstein’s entire house began to shake. With a determined face, he increased the speed of his writing and began to nervously stroke his mustache. Finally, he breathed a sigh of relief, quickly placing his signature at the bottom of the parchment. The house shook so fervently that dishes crashed down from their places in the kitchen and tables and chairs were overturned. Einstein carefully folded the parchment into an envelope, sealed it, and shoved it into his pocket. As he did, he felt around for a second object, a sapphire amulet, making sure it had not fallen out. To his relief, it remained.

Then, everything grew still.

Einstein stood up, frozen, but alert.

Abruptly, the entire wall in front of him collapsed, revealing the face of a massive German tank. Einstein dove under his desk. The top of the tank opened and out climbed a man. He was tall and powerful, his large eyes shone a deep red. He wore a black suit and a sinister smile, revealing polished white teeth. Einstein scuttled out from under his desk. His heart pounded in his chest. His hair was speckled with debris, his face was cut with small pieces of glass, and his green, leather overcoat was brown with dust. He grasped the small, blue flute-like instrument which hung from a necklace around his neck.

            “You are looking good, Einstein,” the man said in perfect English, “I’ve been searching a long time for you. I believe you have something to return to me.”

Silent and still, Einstein glared at the man.

“I can see from your facial expression that you have no intention of telling me where you hid it, but as you know, your words are not what I need. All I need is a simple movement of your eyes...”

Einstein did not move a muscle. He focused his gaze on the man’s nose. Einstein was trained to hide his thoughts, but if he looked directly into the man’s eyes, even a lifetime of training would be useless. The man began walking forward, drawing closer, until he was face to face with Einstein. Einstein looked down.

            “You know,” the man whispered, “when someone loses something very important to him, his natural reaction is to make sure all his remaining treasures are safe…Do you want to know why it took me so long to find you? The flight from Africa is so very long...”

Einstein’s heart filled with dread, but he didn’t dare let out the slightest reaction.

“Starrok wasn’t particularly interested in selling his jewelry, so I had to...take matters into my own hands. I believe he’d been holding on to this ever since Legasus fell.” The man drew a ring of clear, shining crystal from his pocket and slipped it onto his finger.

“You’re the last of the resistance, Einstein. The last of your tribe.”

Rage brewed within Einstein, quickly becoming too overwhelming to bear. His teeth began to vibrate and his eyes began to twitch, until finally he let out a raging scream, tearing the air’s silence.

Then he calmed himself, breathing heavily.

            The man smiled arrogantly. The scream was exactly what he’d been waiting for. Without even noticing, Einstein’s head had turned slightly to the right and his right hand had moved an inch closer to the pocket containing the amulet. He hadn’t noticed, but the man had.

            “Odd that I should bypass the possibility of you hiding it in your front pocket. I guess you’ve finally learned to keep close what you hold dear.”

The man’s hand shot out for Einstein’s coat pocket, but Einstein took a step back.

“If this is how you wish to play it,” the man said angrily, “then indeed we shall play.”

            As adrenaline pumped through his veins, Einstein’s mind switched into attack mode. His brain rapidly surveyed all options.

            One- direct combat with opponent. Advantages: I am faster and can calculate which attacks would be most effective and the quickest way to disable opponent. Disadvantages: Opponent can accurately predict every choice of action; opponent has strength and height advantage.

            Two- the tank. Advantages: High protection, large momentum. Disadvantages: Don’t know how to operate, opponent will know what I plan and will reach it first, he is closer.

            Three- run. Advantages: I am faster, know the area better. Disadvantages: He gets a head start because he will know what I plan to do and is only inches away.

Calculation...

Instantly, Einstein came up with a plan:

The only way to beat a Reader is to improvise and think faster.  Calculation-option three: run.

Einstein darted to the right, but, as expected, the man began running first and threw himself at him before Einstein even had the chance to turn. Milliseconds before the man was able to land his impact onto Einstein, Einstein’s brain began to think again at super human speed.

His head is at a downward angle preparing for impact, leaving him unable to read me. His speed and weight provide enough momentum to knock me to the floor, but that’s assuming my momentum is at rest…

The man slammed into Einstein, providing the greatest impact just below the chest. As he did, Einstein jumped back with great speed and pulled the man downwards, causing him to fall. Einstein surged forward, running at full speed towards his car. The man stood up as quickly as he could and growled. He climbed onto the tank and jumped inside, not bothering to close the seal above him.

            Einstein threw open his car door and jumped in. He started the ignition and slammed on the pedal. Just as he left the driveway, a blast from the tank’s cannon turned the entire brick floor behind him inside out. He looked in his rearview mirror. The tank was following close behind. In order to escape, he would have to pass over a bridge. Once over the bridge, he could drive out through the town’s eastern gate, through which the tank wouldn’t fit. He sped through the upturned roads, avoiding panicking pedestrians and fallen debris. In his rearview mirror, Einstein saw that the tank was matching the speed of his car. With dread, he realized that the tank must be the work of a Builder.

            A quarter mile away, Einstein saw that there was no longer a bridge. It had been blown up. Einstein’s mind began to calculate.   

The width of the river is seventy feet. The car is moving at eighty five miles per hour. The remainder of the bridge provides a high upward angle.

He would barely make the jump, if at all, Einstein calculated nervously, looking in his mirror.            

The man’s voice emanated from an amplifier in the front of the tank.

“You cannot beat us, Einstein! Even if you escape, we shall recover the amulet, either in this century or the next! The Following will never die! The Fury shall rise again!”

Einstein pressed down harder on the pedal. The car sped towards the river. It jolted upward, launched up by the angle. Einstein felt the front tires lose their grip on the ground. The back tires followed suit. The car was in the air. Einstein closed his eyes.

Deleted Backstory of Arias and Yuran

Atara gave Yuran a quick hug and then ran off towards her village. Yuran smiled as he watched her go. He could not believe how much the girl had grown. Tomorrow, she was to be a warrior. Yuran thought back to the days he met the two siblings, Arias and Atara. It was many years back, when he had just become Chief.

           The week had been filled with excitement. A new Chief had risen! The news had spread like wildfire. The son of a coward, now the leader of the tribe! As Yuran had walked through the villages, he had been greeted with a mixture of reactions. Those who had been present when he had defeated the Chief respected Yuran, treating him as their new leader. However, as he explored the different villages, trying to get a grasp of the vast land over which he now ruled, he was met with great animosity by a majority of Shadows. The reason was the loyalists.

           When a Chief is defeated through challenge, the challenger does not immediately rise to power. He must gain the respect of the tribe. In order to do that, he must show his strength by defeating all those who continued to oppose him. The loyalists were warriors who were loyal to the last Chief and vowed to avenge his death. Until they were defeated, the loyalty of the people remained with the previous Chief. As soon as Yuran had killed the Chief, the head of the Chief’s guard, Gondur, had run off to one of the fortress ruins atop the mountains, establishing, with his supporting warriors, the loyalist stronghold. And so, Yuran had set out towards the mountain to hunt and kill Gondur, securing his title as Chief…

          

            Yuran froze, hand on his sword. A drop of sweat trickled slowly down his cheek.

 He scanned his surroundings. The desert was vast, dry, but concealing. He relaxed his body, taking a deep breath. He became one with his senses, as Grith had taught him, listening intently.. Suddenly, he felt the air shake. He shot his hand towards his face, grabbing the arrow inches before it could pierce his head.

He drew his sword.

The Shadow pounced out from the sands, surging forth towards Yuran. Yuran quickly parried the blow, using the momentum to spin and kick the Shadow hard in his side. The Shadow flew to the sand. Yuran lunged forth, dealing the Shadow a death blow. From the corner of his eye, Yuran saw two more Shadows jump out and make a run for it. Yuran quickly grabbed two daggers from his belt and whipped them with deadly accuracy. They met their victims, swiftly and mercilessly.

The Shadows collapsed.

Yuran returned his sword to its sheath and walked over to the fallen Shadows, retrieving his daggers. As he did, he heard a faint noise behind him. He spun around, just on time to catch a glimpse of another fleeing Shadow, already out of dagger range. He would have to give chase.

Yuran set out in a sprint.

                                                     ***

           The Shadow ran for his life. He glanced behind him as he ran. The boy was far, but in sight. He needed a place to hide. The Shadow darted up a small sand dune in his way. When he jumped off the other side, he found himself falling farther than expected. He landed on his feet, realizing that he had stumbled upon an array of ruins. One of the ruin structures was a small, stone house. He darted towards it, hoping to find a place to hide.

                                                     ***

           Arias walked towards the house, a wolf carcass slung over his shoulder, a sword in his belt, a bow and arrows tied to his back. It had been a good catch. Arias smiled as he thought of how happy Atara would be. He opened the door to the cabin. Before he could walk in, he was pounced on by a smiling little girl in tattered clothes.

           “Arias! You’re home!”

           Arias bent down, kissing his little sister on the cheek and then putting her back onto the ground.

           “We shall eat well today Atara! I caught us a treat.”

           “Your coming home is always the biggest treat!”

           Atara gave her brother another smiling hug.

           Arias laughed and walked over to the wooden table, putting down the wolf carcass. He took out his sword and dug in.

           “Ew,” Atara said, “I’m going outside.”

           Atara ran outside, her hand covering her eyes.

           Arias began preparing the meat. Suddenly, he heard a scream coming from outside. It was Atara. Arias grabbed his sword and ran out the door. There stood a Shadow, holding his sister with a sword at her neck, hand over her mouth.

           “Let her go!”

           “You must hide me, immediately!”

           “Get your hands off of my sister!”

           Arias thrust his sword at the Shadow like a spear. The Shadow dropped Atara, just on time to sidestep the throw. Arias lunged forward. He jumped and flipped over a swing of the Shadow’s sword, grabbing the Shadow’s neck on the way down, smashing him into the ground. The Shadow’s sword flew out of his hands. Arias raised his fist to lay a punch into the Shadow’s face. Before Arias had time to think, the Shadow went into the sand and emerged behind him, landing a blow on the back of Arias’s head, knocking him to the ground. He head seared with pain. He heard Atara scream.

           “Arias!”

           “Stay back, girl!”

           Atara picked up one of the fallen swords and ran at the Shadow, who pushed her violently to the floor, taking the sword. Arias pulsed with rage. He jumped upwards, his fists filled with sand, and whipped it in the Shadow’s face. The Shadow swung his sword violently. Arias caught the sword in the palms of his hands and twisted it out of the Shadow’s grip and into his own. He then drove it straight into the Shadow’s chest. The Shadow fell to his knees, and then into the dust.

           “Atara are you ok?”

           Arias ran over to his little sister.

           “I’m fine, but your hands, they’re bleeding!”

           “It’s nothing, do not worry.”

           Arias looked at the slain Shadow, his face filled with worry.

           “Atara, we might have to move. The tribe shall be looking for him, and they shall punish us if they find we killed one of their warriors. We must flee.”

           “I’m not leaving! This is our home!”

           Arias felt his sister’s emotion. He had grown up in these ruins. His mother and father once played hide and seek with him here when he had been a child, and had told him stories of what the ruins once were. This is where he had met Atara for the first time in his mother’s arms. This is where he himself had first met the world.

           “Nobody is leaving.”

           Arias looked up in surprise. There stood another Shadow, about the same age as he. He was a warrior by the looks of him. Arias quickly drew his sword and readied into fighting stance.

           “Relax, I am a friend. My name is Yuran.”

           The Shadow took off his weaponry and laid them slowly onto the ground, opening his hands. Arias cautiously lowered his sword.

           Yuran walked over to the slain Shadow, his expression one of surprise.

           “What is your name, warrior?”

           “I am not a warrior.”

           “Well what is your name?”

           “I am Arias, son of the slain warrior Sigus.”

           Yuran looked down at the slain Shadow’s face.

           “Well Arias, do you know who this man was?”

           “No. I killed him in self-defense. It does not matter who he was. He was a threat, to me and to my sister.”

           Yuran chuckled in disbelief.

           “My dear friend, you have slain Durandy the wicked, one of the previous Chief’s guard. A leader of the loyalists. Tell me, where did you learn to fight like that?”

           “My parents died when I was young, but my father taught me as much as he could. The rest I taught myself. I had to protect and provide for my sister.”

           Yuran walked over to the little Atara who took a cautious step back.

           “What is your name, little one?”

           “I am Atara.”

           “Atara. That is a beautiful name.”

           Yuran stood up and looked at Arias.

           “I too am without family. I too learned to fight out of necessity. We have a lot in common. And now we have even more. It is rumored the Chief offers a great reward to any who can defeat his enemies, so I set out on this journey.”

           “What does that give us in common?”

           “We both wish to kill the loyalists.”

           “I wish to kill no one.”

           “But they wish to kill you. You killed their leader.”

           Arias looked down at the body on the floor. The man spoke the truth. The Chief’s loyalists were said to be vicious when it came to vengeance. He was in danger. More importantly, Atara was in danger.

           Yuran stepped forward.

           “Two men stand a greater chance than one. I could use an ally, especially one of your skills. Join me.”

           Yuran put out his hand. Arias hesitated.

           “My whole life it has just been my sister and I. I do not know you, nor can I trust you.”

           “Trust must be earned. I do not expect you to trust me. However, I promise your trust shall be earned.”

           Just as Yuran was about to pull back his hand, he felt a weak tug from underneath. He looked down at Atara’s face.

           “Everyone deserves a chance.”

                                                                ***

           “Where exactly are we going?”   

           The two of them trudged along the desert sand, climbing upwards towards the head of the mountain. The sun beat down heavily, filling the air with intense heat. Arias wiped away the sweat from his forehead using the back of his hand.

           “An abandoned fortress at the top of the mountain. The loyalists made it their home.”

           “Exactly how many are there?”

           “I would put the number at one hundred warriors.”

           Arias stopped, turning towards Yuran.

           “A hundred warriors. How are you and I supposed to defeat a hundred warriors? Are you mad?”

           “Shhh!”

           Yuran put his finger to his lips, drawing his sword, slowly surveying his surroundings. Arias looked at him.

           “What is-”

           Suddenly, Yuran swung his sword towards Arias, slicing an arrow inches from his face.

           “They've found us!”

           Arias drew his sword.

           Twenty Shadows emerged from the sand. They drew their swords, charging from every direction.

           “Stay close to me!” Yuran shouted.

            A Shadow pounced at Arias from the air. Arias parried the blow and kicked forward, knocking the Shadow from the ground. Another three Shadows swung at Arias. He thrust his sword forward into the Shadow in front of him and then dropped down, letting the swords pass above his head. He spun on the ground using his hands, sending his feet smashing into the surrounding Shadows, causing them to fall to the floor.

            Four Shadows charged at Yuran, each of them swinging their swords. Yuran jumped into the air and spun, just barely dodging all four attacks at once. He landed on his feet and swung his sword into the Shadow to his right. He pulled the sword out of the Shadow’s body and  flipped swiftly backward, stabbing another Shadow in the chest on his way down.

           The two continued to fight vigorously back to back, just barely managing to defend against the multitude of attacks. The more Shadows they struck down, the more continued to appear.

           “There are too many! We have to pull back!” Yuran shouted.

           “How!?” Arias shouted back, parrying three swords at once.

           “Go downwards towards the village! They would never enter!”

           Yuran kicked back the Shadow nearest to him and then dove into the ground, emerging quickly on the other side of the warriors, making a run towards the village. Arias followed close behind.

           “Hurry!”

           Arias looked back at the horde of Shadows growing closer and closer.

           “We will not make it! One of us must stay behind to hold them off!”

           “Nonsense! It is only a little further!”

           Arias looked back again. Yuran was wrong, they would not make it. If they were killed, the loyalists would kill Atara as well.

           An arrow whizzed past Arias’s head towards Yuran. Arias caught the arrow and then stopped in his tracks, turning to face the enemies.

           Yuran looked back.

           “What are you doing!? Run!”

           “Go! Save my sister!” Arias roared, cracking the arrow in half with his fist.

           “I shall not leave you!”

           “If you stay, they shall kill us both! Please, protect Atara! Go!”

           Yuran watched in horror as the swarm caught up to Arias, surrounding him, attacking him all at once. Arias fought bravely, his face burning with determination.

           But there were too many.

           Arias cried out, falling to the ground as a sword penetrated his thigh. He turned towards Yuran, shouting in pain.

           “Go!”

           Yuran looked out into his eyes, his expression filled with emotion.

           “I shall return for you! I promise you! I shall return!”

           A Shadow struck Arias in the head with his fist, knocking him to the ground. 

“Get up, warrior! Maybe this will help!”

           The Shadow kicked Arias hard in the stomach. Arias rolled over, his stomach churning in pain, his forehead drenched in sweat. He lifted himself slowly to his feet, his head throbbing, his torso filled with blood. The iron walls around him were rusted red, fungus and dust filling the floor and air. The room was completely dark, aside from one dimming torch hanging in the back. He had been stuck in the prison for two entire days now. Each day he was tortured, refusing to tell them who he was and what had happened to their soldier, Durandy. The one he had killed.

           “Well it seems as if you are ready for another day of fun,” the Shadow said with a sinister smirk. He drew his knife, long and stained red.

           “Not today Lester. You are dismissed.”

           The Shadow turned around, his expression one of surprise.

           “Yes, Gondur.”

           The Shadow walked hesitantly out of the room. Another one walked in. Arias struggled to see his face through the darkness. He was a giant of a man, dressed in a full suit of thick, steel armor. On his waist was fastened the largest sword Arias had ever seen.

           “So, you are the boy I have been hearing so much about.”

           “You are Gondur, head of the Chief’s guard.”

           “Indeed I am. Or, more accurately, I was. Now I am leader of the loyalists, and it seems as though very soon, I may become Chief. I would like to apologize for the behavior of my men. They did not inform me of the details of my prisoner. They did not inform me that you were caught together with Yuran. You are his ally, are you not?”

           Arias said nothing.

           “We have seen nothing of the boy since the day you were brought here. He has given up, a coward like his father. He has abandoned you.”

           Arias glared at Gondur, not moving a muscle.

           “What he does not realize is that by ignoring us, he is supporting us. When the news spreads that he sat comfortably while we slew his friend and ally, the people shall abandon their trust in their new Chief. It will be a shame on his honor too deep to erase.”

           The room was quiet.

           “Lester!”

           The Shadow ran back from where he had been waiting.

           “Take the boy outside! It is time for his execution!”

           Gondur walked out from the room, heading up the dungeon stairs. Lester grabbed Arias by his chains, pulling him forward.

                                                                ***

           “In honor of our Chief, the real Chief, I hereby sentence this man, ally of Yuran the coward, to death by sword!”

           Lester threw Arias violently to his knees, burning them in the scorching desert sand. Arias looked around him. He was surrounded by Shadows, nearly a hundred. Lester looked at him with horrid thrill, drawing his blade. Gondur stood close behind. There was no escape.

           “I was a fool to trust the boy,” Arias thought, “He wished nothing but money and power. I should have taken Atara and fled. Now she shall grow up alone.”

           Arias looked up, his heart crying out to the skies.

           “I am sorry father. I have failed you.”

           Lester raised his sword.

           Arias closed his eyes, a picture of Atara at the front of his mind.

           “Do it!”

           Just before Lester could move, a knife pierced through the air, planting itself in his throat. Lester dropped the sword, falling to the ground.

           Gondur roared with anger.

           “No! Find the boy and kill him!”

           Another knife flew through the air. Gondur caught it in his hand, inches before his throat.    

           “Gondur! Your fight is with me, not him!”

           Arias turned towards the voice. Yuran stood before them, sword drawn, eyes blazing.

           “Kill him!”

           The army charged at Yuran who waited patiently, accepting the challenge. Gondur waited beside Arias, fuming with anger.

           “You will get yourself killed!” Arias shouted, “There are too many!”

           “Silence! You are a dead man!” Gondur hissed, kicking Arias in the back.

           Yuran awaited the onslaught. Just before they reached him, two Shadows jumped up from the ground behind the army, swords drawn, quickly striking down four loyalists. Gondur cried out in rage.

           “What is this!?”

           “Gondur, meet my new friends! They go by the names Bastion and Gore!”

           Yuran joined in the fight, slashing his sword with incredible speed, striking down three loyalists within seconds.

           Arias looked up at Gondur. He was distracted, watching the fighting taking place before him. Gondur drew his sword, running forward to join the fight. As he did, Arias jumped forward on the ground, trapping Gondur’s foot under the chains between his hands, sending him crashing to the ground, dropping his sword.

           “You little-!”

           Before Gondur could finish his cussing, Arias leaped forward onto the giant, wrapping his chains around his neck, pulling with all his strength. Gondur struggled frantically to free himself, tossing and turning, his face turning red, gasping for breath. Suddenly, Arias felt a massive hand grasp his shirt. Gondur ripped him off his back, sending him flying, smashing into the sand. Gondur stood up slowly, hands on his neck, gasping for air. Arias spit out sand from his mouth, his head spinning in pain. He managed to open his eyes. To his relief, Gondur’s giant sword lay still beside him.

           Arias crawled over the sword, using his knees to balance the sword with its blade facing up. He threw his chains down over the blade, smashing them in half, freeing his arms. Before Gondur could regain focus, Arias grabbed the sword by its handle and, using both his hands, tossed the blade spinning towards Gondur. Before he could react, the blade penetrated his stomach. Sand flew up into the air as Gondur’s body hit the ground.

           “Well it seems you have done the job for me.”

           Arias turned around. Yuran stood facing him, his body covered in sweat and blood.   On the ground behind him was a mountain of bodies. Beside him stood the two men he had fought with.

           “You returned for me.”

           “I apologize for the wait. I could not come empty handed. I would like you to meet my new friends, Bastion and Gore. They are the greatest swords you shall find throughout the villages.”

           Arias nodded respectfully towards the men.

           “They are splitting with you the reward?”

           “Reward?” Bastion said smiling, turning towards Gore, “Well what do you know! Did I not tell you it pays greatly to aid the Chief!?”

           “The Chief?”

           Arias looked at Yuran, who nodded.

           “Why did you not tell me?”

           “I wished to earn your trust as Yuran, who I truly am, not as the Chief.”

           There was a pause of silence.

           “Well, Yuran, my trust has been earned.”

           Yuran put out his hand. Arias grasped it, looking him firmly in the eyes.

           “I must return to Atara now. She has been alone for days, most likely with nothing to eat.”

           “Neither she nor her stomach have been alone. I made sure of it.”

           Arias smiled thankfully, turning to leave.

           “Arias, one more thing.”

           Arias turned around.

           “There is a job open as head of the Chief’s guard, the second most powerful position a Shadow can hold. Being as you slew the previous head, I see no reason you should not be able to receive the honor.”

           Arias hesitated.

           “Then perhaps someday I shall.”

           Yuran smiled, nodding his head.

Stone's Backstory-deleted from chapter Heart of Stone

"We have no other choice! If we do not run, they will break us apart. They will sell our daughter."

            "But if they catch us..."

            "Angela."

            The barn was pitch black, no lights. Dozens of African slaves slept among the animals, pushing together bundles of dung-infested hay for comfort. The heavy, humid air stank horribly of manure. In the chicken coup, one man sat pressed up against the corner, his expression filled with concern. The man was skinny and malnourished, dressed in dusty, shredded rags tied around the middle of his body. In his arms lay a baby, sleeping soundly, her innocence rendering her unaware of the troubles surrounding. Sitting beside the man was a woman, her head resting on the man's shoulder. Her eyes were a deep brown, her hair a dark black. Her face was skinny, yet she was beautiful. She could not take her eyes off of the child.

            "Where we gonna go, Billy?"

            "Like I told you, I'm from the North. I grew up educated until I was taken here. We can go back there. If I can just get us to Chicago...I know the way."

            "Listen to me, Angela, listen to me."

            The man placed his hands on the woman's shoulders.       

            "I will get us out of here, I promise. We will have a family, just like the white folks have. We will have a house just like them too. I have it all planned out, the escape. We'll leave tomorrow night."

            The woman looked at his face, tears in her eyes. She turned towards the baby, taking her from the man's arms. She held her close, kissing her forehead.

            "Billy," she whispered, "Billy, I'm scared."

            The man embraced her, holding her close, the baby between them.

            "Don't worry Angela, everything will be all right."

                                                                        ***     

            "Go! Run, Angela run! Don't stop! Don't stop!"

            Gunshots echoed across the air.

            Billy sprinted across the cornfields, the baby in his arms. His head spun in panic, his heart beat fast with fear. The plan had fallen apart. The baby woke up the master. Angela ran ahead. She was faster than him without the child in her arms, but she stayed back with them, refusing to leave the baby.

            "The fence, Angela! Hop the fence!"

            The fence surrounding the plantation stood six feet tall, topped with barbed wire. They were drawing closer to it by the second.

            Another gunshot sounded from behind.

            Billy felt a piece of shrapnel cut into the side of his face, he covered the baby, who by now was crying hysterically.

            Angela reached the fence first. She jumped, flying through the air, grabbing onto the top of the fence, just under the barbed wire. Billy reached the fence a second after.

            "The baby! Give me the baby!"

            Billy lifted the baby into the air. Angela grabbed onto her with one hand. With the other, she grabbed onto the barbed wire, screaming with pain as it cut into her skin, and tossed herself over, protecting the baby with her body, landing on the other side.

            "Come on, Billy! climb!"

            Just then, another gunshot sounded. Billy turned around.

            The master was catching up, riding through the fields on a tractor to break through the fence.

            Billy looked at the tractor, and then back at Angela. A tear dropped down his cheek. Angela began to cry, reading his intentions.

            "Billy please, no...don't do this..."

            "I love you Angela...take care of our baby girl."

            Billy looked back at the approaching tractor.

            "Go, Angela! Go!"

            Angela shook her head, tears streaming down her face.

            Billy stuck his hand through a crack in the fence. Angela took it.

            "I love you too, Billy."

            They let go. Angela sprinted off, carrying the baby in her arms.

            Billy turned towards the tractor.

            The master got off the tractor, pointing the shotgun at Billy's face.

            "Well look what we got here...If it ain't ol' Billy..."

            The master walked closer. The man was shorter than Billy. His long hair was blonde and greasy, his teeth a rotting yellow. His skin was red with sun burn.

            "Where'd ya think ya'll were gonna go, huh? Pay a visit to ole Lincoln, ask him for an education? Well let me tell ya, he ain't listened to 'round here. He's the reason things like this happen. You were lookin' for freedom, huh black boy? Well let me tell ya somethin'. There's a reason your skin's all black like dirt, and my skin's all white, clean and tidy. Freedom weren't meant for your kind. Now you tell me where your girlfriend's run off to, and maybe I won't blow off that head of yours off with ma' shotgun."

            Billy looked at the master, his heart burning in anger.

            "My people will have freedom one day, just like the white man!"

            "What'd you say to me black boy?"

            The master cocked his shotgun.

            Just before he could shoot, Billy quickly jabbed his right arm into the butt of the shotgun, sending it flying.

            "You dirty lil'-!"        

            The master punched forward with his right arm. Billy ducked, jumping forward, tackling the master to the ground. He then jumped up to his feet, running over to the shotgun. He picked it up, turning around. The master had stood up. Billy pointed the shotgun at the master's face.

            The master began to laugh.

            Billy's finger began to shake on the trigger.

            "What you gonna do, black boy? You gonna shoot? Go ahead! The whole darn town'll be lookin' for yer girlfriend. They won't stop 'til she's burned at the stake for bloody murder. The both of ya!"

            Billy stood there, hands shaking, finger on the trigger.

            "Come on, black boy! Kill me you-!"

            Suddenly, a large, knuckled fist struck Billy in the back of the head. He blacked out, falling to the floor.

            "Harley, get this piece of dirt back to the barn. I want his arms and legs in iron."

                                                                        ***

            "Wake him up. I want him to watch this."

            Harley splashed a bucket of water on Billy's face. Billy slowly opened his eyes, his head aching with pain. The master stood, shotgun in hand.

            "I want you to look at this, Billy. We want all ya black boys watchin'. This'll be an example. This is what happens when someone tries to run away passed the fence."

            The master turned towards Harley.

            "Bring the girl!"

            Harley walked into the barn and then emerged again, dragging along a woman by the arm.

            Billy's eyes widened with fear, his heart racing.

            "Angela!"

            She looked at him, her face bloody and beaten. Harley threw her to her knees.

            Tears streamed down Billy's cheeks.

            "Let her go! Please, let her go!"

            He turned towards the master.

            "Please, take me instead. Please..."

            The master walked over to him.

            "You, Billy. You're gonna watch yer girlfriend die. For your punishment, I'm gonna let that haunt you the rest of yer worthless life."

            The master stood up.

            "See, all ya!? This is what happens when one of ya tries to get away!"

            He aimed his shotgun.

            Angela looked up at Billy. She had no tears left.

            "No! Stop! No!"

            The shot echoed throughout the fields.

                                                            ***

            Billy woke up. He picked himself up off the floor.

            "She's gone. Angela, my Angela. He killed her. He killed her!"

            Billy's heart filled with grief and rage.          

            He turned towards the sky and screamed, his voice sounding with uncontrollable wrath.

            "He killed her!!!"

            He walked over to the place she had been killed, picking up a blood-stained stone from the ground, his cheeks soaked in tears.

            "'bout time ya woke up. Now get back into the barn where you belong, with the chickens and the horses."

            Harley stood at the entrance of the master's house, shotgun in hand.

            "I said get in there!"

            Billy turned his gaze toward Harley. His eyes burning red. The tears stopped. His fingers wrapped tightly around the stone. He began walking slowly towards Harley.

            "Hey! What do ya think yer doin'?!"

            Harley lifted the shotgun, pointing it at Billy.

            He kept walking.

            "Don't come any closer! I'm gonna shoot ya!"

            Suddenly, Billy's skin began to harden, turning the color of rock.

            "What the-!"

            The shot gun fired, the bullet smashing into Billy's stomach.

            His skin cracked, quickly mending together again.

            "Help!"

            Harley quickly cocked the gun, preparing a second shot. Before he could shoot, Billy grabbed the shotgun, bending it in half with his hands.

            Harley's face froze with fear.

            "What...what are ya!?"

            Billy jabbed his stone fist forward into Harley's chest. He flew backwards, smashing through the wooden door and the wall behind it.

            Billy walked into the house, heading up the fancy, marble staircase.

            Two men ran down the steps, each holding a rifle. The master's sons.

            "Stop right-!"

            Billy grabbed the younger one by the collar, smashing him through the wall. The elder son shot rapidly at Billy's head. The bullets fell to the floor.

            Billy grabbed the man, smashing him down through the staircase and to the floor.

            He walked up stairs, heading towards the master bedroom.

            The master walked out in his night robes, holding in his arms a shotgun. His arms shook with fear.

            "Billy! Stay where you are Billy!"

            He fired two rounds.

            Billy grabbed the gun from his arms, snapping it in two. He grabbed the master, throwing him screaming out the window.

            Billy walked into the master bedroom. The master's wife lay huddled against the edge of her bed.

            "Please...please don't hurt me..."

            He walked over to the candle and matches standing on the nightstand. He took a match from the matchbox, striking it lit. His face glowed by the fire's flames.

            "That's what Angela cried, over and over again, while they beat her."

            "Nobody listened."

            He threw the match into the window drapes, lighting them on fire.

            "No! Please, stop!"

            He lit another match, throwing it onto the wooden floor, and another one on the bed.

            He walked out of the room, matches in hand. He walked through the house, lighting every room on fire.

            Billy emerged from the smashed down entrance, the house in flames behind him. A pillar of heavy smoke fumed out the noises of screaming from within.

            "No! My family! The children!"

            Billy turned towards the voice. It was the master. He lay on the floor, bones broken, unable to move.

            He turned his head towards Billy. He screamed, tears in his eyes.

            "What have you done!?My wife! You took my children! You monster! You took everything from me!"

            Billy walked up to the master.

            "I had a baby myself once. You took her away."

            The master looked up at him, eyes crying out in agony.

            "Please...kill me...please..."

            Billy raised his stone fist.

            Time to complete his revenge.

            "Stop!"

            His hand froze.

            He couldn't move.

            Billy looked up. Before him stood a cloaked man, his face hidden within a hood of darkness. He hissed as he spoke, his voice filled with power.

            "You can't stop me!"

            Billy pressed forward with all his might, but to no use. He looked up again, tears in his eyes.

            "Please, please let me finish this!"

            "He sentenced you to a much worse fate-the fate of having to live with the pain of having lost everything. It is only just that he suffer the same punishment."

            The man began walking closer.

            "But of course, you wouldn't know that, because you are, as everyone is, slave to your emotion, which drives you to kill the man before you. It is that same emotion which renders you weak, keeps you from achieving your full potential."

            Billy's voice dropped to a whisper as he listened carefully to the mysterious figure.

            "Who are you?"

            "I am a doctor, here to fix you. My master has been waiting a long time for you, Billy. He needs your help."

            "I don't want to help. I want nothing more than to leave this world. I have nothing left here but pain."

            "Yes, but my master can give you something. He can give you both peace and purpose. He can take away your pain. He can take away your emotion. The only thing He asks in return is for you to join me in his goal of punishing the human race for the atrocities which they have committed, and to make sure they never commit them again. He wishes to control them. You have seen with your own eyes what they are capable of."

            Billy looked down at his stone fist.

            "What...what am I? I am not human..."

            He looked back up at the creature.

            "Fix me."

            The man nodded, slowly removing his hood.

            "Stop!" Billy commanded.

            Everything around him froze. He turned his head and screamed.

            "Get out!"

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