Journey to Freedom

Written for the Alternative History contest. Takes place after "The Unexpected Attack". After the plantation they lived on was destroyed during the firebombing attacks, a group of former slaves decided to go to St. Louis, the only city spared from the attack.


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On April 9, 1865, Ainysian airships firebombed the eastern United States. That incident happened because eight years earlier, a man attempted to sell several slaves to a powerful Atlantean sorcerer. The sorcerer, angry that someone would sell him slaves, created a huge army and built a fleet of airships to punish not only the cruel man, but to destroy the country that allowed slavery to flourish.

How that fleet of airships showed up and attacked the country is for another story.

The day is now April 16, 1865, almost a week after the Ainysian army attacked the United States. Many people were killed in the attacks and many buildings were destroyed or damaged beyond repaired. Of course, Sir David Trichenberg scolded Ulysses S. Grant for fighting war to free slaves when the White Americans stole land from the Native Americans. That unforgivable act was punishable with many white people (those who managed to survive the bombings) being killed or carried off by the Indians.

But that's for another time.

14-year-old Issac Cotton had watched his home on Southblossom Plantation in Kentucky being destroyed in the firebombing. His father Hazell and older brother Burley were killed in the bombings. Then a group of Native Americans kidnapped his mother Malaya and older sisters Fionna and Gelicia, leaving him without a family. He wasn't alone, as most former slaves living on the plantation had either died during the firebombing or were stolen by the Natives. The Marple family (who owned Issac and his family) was decimated, with 3-year-old Daisy as the only survivor.

In fact, only 30 people were left on the plantation. The plantation was destroyed beyond recovery.

'What will we do now?" said Tevari as he stared into the distance. "We can't go anywhere, nor is anyone available to help us. We're all by ourselves, and we're all we have now."

"But there's still the cities," said Heleena. "We can go there for help."

"And will they help us?" said Vertasha. "In case you forgot, most of the cities were blown up during those attacks. Those cities were burned to the ground and everyone in those cities are probably dead. We're on our own now."

"Not if we have God," said Zarela. "And only by the Will of God can we make it."

"Even then, how are we going to survive?" said Heleena. "Miss Daisy is a girl; she can't lead us. Who's going to take care of us?"

Everyone frowned, wondering who would rise as a leader and taking care of the group. But Jamichael snapped, "Are you all insane? We're not going anywhere! This place is our home, whether we like it or not, and we're not going to leave this place, not for all the freedom in the world!"

"But we don't have a choice," said Tevari. "The home we have is gone. Do you think we can live on a empty pile of ashes when help is a few miles away?"

"Nobody's leaving this place," said Jamichael. "I mean it. You're not going anywhere! We're staying here and that's final!"

Most of the survivors frowned, wondering if they would ever be freed. While President Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation in 1863, the order had yet to take effect. Many slaves rejoiced because they were freed, but this group did not. Not when freedom had brought them death and uncertainty.

"We must leave this place," said Issac as a small group met that night. "We can't stay here anymore. Jamichael may think we should stay here, but what's the use of living on a dying plantation when we can find another place to call home. Besides, we've got no families or homes, and Miss Daisy has nothing left if she stays here. I say we must leave this place tonight!"

With that, Issac took Daisy and left the plantation. Several other people went with him. Yet the rest stayed with Jamichael, as they were either too scared of him to leave or they didn't know where to go. As it was night when the group left, the full moon was out, lighting the path. Daisy said to Zarela, "Why are we leaving our home?"

"Because we have no home to go back to," said Zarela. "Plus, since our home is gone, we need to find a new home to live in."

"And what about those of us who lost our families to the Natives who stole them from us?" said Gwindell. "How do we know they won't come after us? What if they, God forbid, decide to steal little Miss Daisy? We need to find a city quickly."

As I've heard, Washington, D.C. was destroyed in the attacks, along with almost every city on the eastern side," said Heleena. "I'm sure we're risking a lot if we go to California. But I know some people in St. Louis, and so far as I heard, St. Louis is the only city in this country that wasn't hit by the bombs. We must go there."

"And we must," said Issac. "There's nothing else for it. I heard that many other people are heading to St. Louis, and Missouri and Kansas are the last two states in the country still standing. I know we'll have better luck if we go there instead of going to Washington, D.C."

Well, the rest of this story was what happened when the group went to St. Louis, Missouri. As they walked passed the destroyed cities and farms, Issac saw the damage that the firebombs had done to the land. Even worse were the mental scars of those who survived the bombings. Many people they spoke to were also traveling to St. Louis, as they had lost their homes or family members in the attacks. Issac knew there had to be a way for the people to find a way to rebuild their lives and restore their country to what it once was.

And that's for the next chapter of this story.

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