Unchained


"What the hell do you think you're doing nigger," Master Thomas yelled.

"I'm doing the same thing you did to me. To my family. My people," Big Bobby yelled back at him.

Master Thomas was tied to the big table where he ate with his family. His wife and sons were up against the wall. Guns in their face. Crying for their daddy. I know what we doing ain't right. But we don't have any of choice. They was gonna keep beating us. We run, they chase us, they send the dogs. I ain't ever killed nobody. I don't really want to. But, I ain't afraid to if it means I'm free.

"Nigger when I get free from here," Master started

"When you get free what? You ain't getting free. Can't you see, you the nigger and you ain't ever gonna call me that again," Big Bobby promised.

I closed my eyes and clenched my fist when I heard the sound of the whip tear through our master's clothes. I recognized it so well. My back burned when I felt it. I felt that whip the first time when I was six. Master said he was merciful, three lashes for looking at his daughter. She married some fancy man, master gave her some of us as a gift. I know the pain he's feeling but I don't care. He deserves it.

"Y'all wanna be free," Big Bobby asks. "Are you willing to kill your masters? To break the chains that bind us," he whips master again.

I still can't watch. But I want to be free so bad. I just don't have the heart for torture. If we do that, we're no better than they are. I walk over to the gun that was knocked from master's hand when we rushed him. A silver hand gun, a revolver. I've never held one before. Still, I can mimic his motions. He'd open it, show us six shots, close it, spin it, aim, pull back the hammer thing and pull the trigger.

A loud bang follows when I pull the trigger. There's some scrams, warm blood covers us all. He stops screaming. His wife keeps sobbing, much quieter now. Everyone looks at me, gun in hand, covered in the master's blood. Fear, love, joy, all kinds of emotions fill the room. It's overwhelming. I keep waiting for Big Bobby to speak up. Tell us what to do next. He's been our leader.

"Let's go to the next plantation. Someone kill the wife and kids. The wife will tell on us and the kids will grow to hunt us down," Big Bobby takes my shoulder and leads me out alongside him and some others. "We gonna need more guns," he tells me.

I can hear the screaming of the wife and children, I can't even imagine what's going on back inside that house. It ain't quick and I know it hurts, payback for years of torture and it's my fault. Did I take this too far? Is my freedom worth a life? Five lives? Is it right to repay them with the hell they paid us? I don't know, but I know I ain't ever picking no cotton again.

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