View Full Version : Fiction A What-If Story #3 (read only)
"I do declare, amour, you are a true rogue."
Remy Lebeau smiled and kissed his wife. Delilah Lebeau had just returned from market with Sam Guthrie, the slave master, and Louis, their newest acquisition.
"He still insists on being called T'challa." Delilah said, the Mississippi accent standing out in her voice. Remy had found her on one of his journeys to the state, and had married her only a few months later. They were a perfect match, vile and merciless.
Guthrie pulled the whip back again. "Yo' name ain't T'challa no more, boy!" he yelled, giving the slave another lash. The men and women in the cotton field had stopped working. When Guthrie saw this, he shook his fist at them. "You want a taste of this too?" he threatened, then went back to work on 'Louis'.
Lucas secured a rope around the stump that currently had his attention, then slapped the horse's hindquarters. The beast struggled, but was unable to rip the stump from it's place. "I don' have time for this! Master wants a crop in his new land soon as possible!" he told the horse, then leaned down and pulled. The stump came loose and the horse carried it away. Lucas had to be careful not to show his strength. If Master knew, he might not even give him the horse to help.
James was working in the blacksmith's hutch, making shoes for Lebeau's horses. He tried to ignore the lashing as best he could, but his anger got the better of him. He grabbed a coal poker and started across the field toward Guthrie.
"You better get back to work, James!" another guard yelled from the porch upon seeing the smith. He aimed his weapon when James did not stop. Remy went over and took the gun from the man's hands. He aimed at James's skull, and fired.
James had secretly taken the last name of his previous master: Rhodes. Msr Rhodes had been a decent, God-fearing man, who had drawn up papers of freedom for James and the few other slaves he'd owned. He had died in his sleep the night before he would have freed them, and his sons decided to sell the slaves and pocket the money. Now, as James died, he finally found the freedom he had been promised two years ago.
Guthrie ended the lashing the moment 'Louis' passed out. The man was too young and too strong to kill, too valuable to waste. Delilah allowed miss Monica, her house woman, to go and tend to the man's wounds.
Somewhere in his unconscious mind T'challa came to a decision. He would go to see the white-haired voodoo priestess that haunted the Bayou. He would have vengeance for all of these people.
"Lucas, forget the stump. Master wants you to get to the smith's shack and get to work. You the new blacksmith."
The words came from Sam, the slave in charge of caring for Remy's falcons. Lucas unhitched the stump and looked at the man.
"What about James?" Lucas asked. Sam shook his head and wiped the sweat from his brow with the back of his hand.
"James tried to stop Guthrie from beating the new man, Louis. Master shot him." Lucas smacked the hind of the horse, sending him back to the stables. James had been his friend. He felt the roiling anger rise and his throat tighten.
"It's the new man! It's his fault James died! We all had to give up our old names but he insists on bein' stubborn!" Lucas flexed his mighty hands. "I'll kill him!"
Sam put a hand on Lucas's shoulder. "Master paid alot for him. You try that, he'll kill you." Lucas looked him in the eyes.
"It might be worth it, Sam. It might be worth it."
When night came, T'challa left the plantation. Most men would have been too hurt to move for days after such a lashing, but he'd always quickly recovered from anything that happened to him. That didn't mean that his back didn't ache. He refused to let the pain stop him.
There she was, the old woman of the bayou. Her white hair flowed in the wind that blew around her. Indeed, the weather always seemed to be tempestuous in her presence.
"Speak not unto me, T'challa. Ye do not wan' the curse I would give ye." the woman spoke, her voice like a knife across bone.
"Wait, woman. You must help me. My people, YOUR people, are being oppressed by evil people. YOU MUST..!"
The woman's eyes disappeared, leaving only white orbs. She waved her hand at him and he fell back several feet. "No man tells me what to do! Ye better 'ere these words!"
T'challa climbed to his feet. "I beg you. I was once a king. I feel a need to defend these people. Do what you will, but grant me vengeance."
The old woman moved toward him, pulling a strand from her hair. "Beware what ye wish for..." she whispered with a laugh.
Lucas was frightened, more frightened than he'd ever been in his life.
He'd just seen a white-haired old woman fling T'challa through the air without touching him.
Now T'challa was on the ground, screaming. Lucas his in the bushes, watching. He had followed T'challa with the intent of killing him for James's death, but now all that was forgotten.
"Upon de next full moon ye will get your revenge." the old woman said, looking down at T'challa who writhed in pain.
"Thank you..." T'challa managed to wheeze."
The old woman smiled. "Ye'll not be thankin' me 'pon the next full moon. Now get outta here."
T'challa picked himself up off the ground and ran back toward the plantation. Lucas turned to follow, but a mighty wind pulled him from the bushes and deposited him at the old woman's feet.
"Lucas, ye were gonna kill him. Now ye will end up aidin' him. I'll make yer skin as strong as the very metals ye work in the smith's hut."
Lucas tried to get up. "You are unnatural! I'll not let you curse me!" he cried.
The old woman smiled. "Nobody more cursed than I. Dis power I got come at a price. Where I go, hell follows."
Lucas awoke in his room. He did not remember returning last night, but somehow he must have..unless it was all a dream.
"LUCAS! Master wants new shoes on his carriage horses!" Samuel Guthrie yelled from outside. The sun had barely come up and Lucas knew he would be at the forge all day.
Sam fed the falcons small bits of meat at a time. They were master's prizes, he cared for them better than he did his slaves. Sometimes Sam just stared into the sky, dreaming of being one of those falcons, flying free.
Samuel Guthrie entered the aviary, as foul-tempered as ever. "You better be hurryin', boy. Master needs all hands he can spare out in the field today." he said, smiling. Sam hated sharing the same first name with this man, and Guthrie resented it too. Sam did his best to ignore him and continued feeding the birds.
"Monica, help me with this dress." Delilah demanded. Miss Monica stopped brushing the woman's hair and lifted the dress up her mistress's shoulders.
"Careful! You'd best not tear my favorite dress!" Delilah cried out, spinning and taking the heavy brush. She began to hit Monica's hands with it. "Get out of my sight! I ought to put you in the cotton field!"
Monica ran from Delilah's dress room in tears. Some of her knuckles were bleeding. She ran out to the well and rinsed her hands off in the trough. Some day..some day.. Delilah would pay.
The next night, T'challa stared into the sky. Though overcast, he knew that the full moon was two nights away. What had he done, going to this woman? What had she done to him? He had never felt such pain in his life as he had when she performed her 'curse' on him.
Lucas had been looking at him strangely all day. He and James had been friends, and T'challa wondered if Lucas wanted retribution. Curse these white men! He had ruled his people with benevolence and care, they had never wanted for food. Many of them had been captured, others killed. For what? For a people too lazy to pick their own crops? Too cheap to pay laborers? They were MEN, and they were treated like work animals. They were abused, put to work, given barely enough food to survive, and expected to bend their wills to that of their masters. He burned with anger and hatred, thinking of what Delilah had done to Monica's hands.
The wind swirled in the bayou, around a white-haired old woman who bore a curse. "Dey will be an example, T'challa. You and de others with hate in yer hearts will bear the curse and make your masters pay..."
Lucas hammered the last of the nails in, all horses were now shod. Not that that meant he could rest. Master had demanded a new sword made, and that would take him well into the night. That meant one more day before what the old woman said about T'challa would come true.
Unless it had all been a dream.
Then one of the horses bucked. It's rear had gotten too near the forge, and it fought against the rope that held it by kicking behind it. Luke got hit square in the chest...and did not budge. There was no mark on his smooth, dark chest.
"I'll make yer skin as strong as the very metals ye work in the smith's hut."
Those had been the words of the voodoo witch.
In the evening, T'challa watched Monica as she made stew. She was beautiful, and he longed for a woman, but he'd had a woman and children..back home. He knew he'd never see them again, but..
The former ruler turned away from Monica and stared up at the moon. Tomorrow night. He had noticed today that he was stronger, faster than ever. His senses were more powerful. [I]where was the curse?[I/]
Sam had just finished feeding the falcons and was on his way to the hut when Guthrie came upon him.
"What you doin' out after dark, boy!" Guthrie yelled, reaching for his whip.
"Aw no..no sir, I was jus' feedin' master's birds, like I always do." Sam replied, showing his hands as to appear non-threatening. Guthrie continued to move toward him.
"You telling me NO? Who you think you are, tellin' ME no?!" Guthrie lashed out, striking Sam across the face. Sam screamed and fell to the ground, blood spilling everywhere. T'challa and Monica came running out of the hut.
"You better stay put, boy! Woman, get over here and clean him up!" Guthrie commanded. Monica ran to Sam's aid.
"he's blind." Monica cried. "he's BLIND!"
Monica had cleaned and bound Sam's wounds last night, but his eyes had been seriously injured by Guthrie's whip. Sam would never see again.
Master Remy had beaten Guthrie with a stick for 'ruining his property'. Guthrie took it, knowing full well that he would make the slaves pay for any pain he endured.
In the morning, Sam and the others were displayed before Remy and Delilah. This was done every Sunday. Remy inspected the men and women, surrounded of course by rifle-toting slave drivers. Guthrie stood near the porch, glaring at them.
"Louis, you heal up real well. Thas' good, I got lots of work for you." Remy said, surprised that there was barely a scar left on T'challa's back.
"Lucas, you do better in da smith's hut than James did. Wasn't such a waste to kill him after all."
Lucas bristled with the remark. If what the woman said was true, he could reach out and kill the man right now and those rifles would be useless against him. He would wait, though. T'challa would do something tonight. Lucas would back him up, like the woman had said.
Remy finally came to Sam. He was dressed in his usual rags, now joined by a blood-stained white cloth wrapped around his eyes.
"Oh Sammy, you was good wit' my birds. Now.. you a blind man. How you going to get around? What work you going to do for me?" Remy told the slave. He glared back at Guthrie, then told the rifleman next to him "Kill him.". A moment later, Sam was dead, his head burst.
Monica screamed and fell into T'challa's arms, weeping loudly. He held her tight, whispering to her. "It'll be made right tonight, It'll be made right tonight."
The work that day was hell. All most of them could think about was the sight of Sam being killed. T'challa worked silently, waiting the day out. Vengeance would come tonight.
In the evening, few ate. Monica had not truly recovered from the death of her friend, and lay on her straw-filled burlap mattress, thinking about how she could make the masters pay. Lucas sat in a corner, looking first outside then at T'challa, who was staring out at the night sky.
The moon rose.
T'challa screamed, an unearthly cry not possible for a human. His entire body was wracked with pain, he felt a transformation overtaking him. His face extended forward like a muzzle. He collapsed, his hands and feet extending and bending in inhuman directions. A sheen of jet black fur grew upon his entire body. Fingers became claws. Teeth became fangs. A man's eyes were replaced with the predator's glare of a panther.
Of course, everyone in the room fled from shock and fear, screaming and running for their lives.
All except Monica, who was paralyzed with fear, and Lucas.
"Don't be afraid. Vengeance has come upon the Lebeau house." Lucas assured Monica. He moved to put a hand on her shoulder, but it passed through her.
She had become a being of light and energy.
Monica wailed. Her mind could not take the madness. "Monica, don't fear. This is the work of the voodoo witch of the bayou, so we can get vengeance upon the master!" Lucas explained. Strangely, Monica was calmed by this. It was the very thing she had prayed for.
"Leave Delilah to me. That Rogue is MINE!"
T'challa, The Panther, bound out of the slaves' house and headed toward the Lebeau mansion. Two riflemen were on the porch. He ignored them and bound through the french doors. The riflemen headed toward the gaping hole.
"Hey, you wanna shoot someone? SHOOT ME!" Lucas yelled, still barely believing he had. The riflemen indeed fired on him, ripping his worn yellow shirt to shreds. Lucas bound up the steps and grabbed the first man. He threw him several feet from the porch.
The second rifleman shot him in the head. Lucas grabbed the gun and bent the barrel back on itself. "Now I'm mad!" he yelled, punching the man in the face. Blood spurted everywhere. The rifleman was dead.
Samuel Guthrie came running around a corner, the noise waking him. When he saw Lucas, he grabbed his whip from his waist. "I'm gonna strip the black skin from your hide, boy!" he yelled.
T'challa/Panther roared as he ran through the mansion. He had never been inside before, so he did not know where the master slept. He finally bound up the stairs and passed between two double doors, roaring again.
Remy Lebeau had sat up awake when he heard the glass of his front door shattered. He had shooed Delilah into the nearby dressing room and took up his new sword. In his other hand he had a deck of playing cards, grabbed from the bedside table.
"Back, beast! Back!" Remy yelled, throwing the cards at T'challa. They scattered, flying all around the room. The panther roared and crouched. Then it pounced at Lebeau.
Delilah curled up in her bath, frightened by the noise from the next room. Remy cried a bloodcurdling scream between the growling and ripping sounds of the animal.
"Don't worry about them, you'd best be worried about yourself." came a woman's voice.
"Monica, what you doin' in here, shug? How'd you get past the creature?"
Monica strode to Delilah and smiled. She plunged her hand into Delilah's chest. Delilah screamed.
Her heart had stopped. Delilah died of fright, a stripe of white developing in her hair.
When Guthrie learned that he could not hurt Lucas, he ran to the smith's shack. Quickly he loaded a cannonball into a cannon and lit the fuse.
As Lucas turned the corner, an explosion sounded and a cannonball struck him in the chest. He fell from the force of the attack. His chest ached.
"You CAN be killed, eh boy?" Guthrie gloated.
Lucas climbed to his feet and grabbed Guthrie. He plunged the man face down into the still-hot forge. He could not hear the man's screams as he continued to shove him into the coals.
When dawn came, so did a peddler and his wagon. He was surprised by the iron statue of a black man near the smith's hut, and appalled by the remains of a man in the forge.
Everywhere he went, the peddler saw death and mayhem. He finally entered the mansion to find the master of the house.
In the bedroom upstairs, he found a shredded, very dead man holding a sword. The sword was plunged into the heart of a giant black panther.
At the end of his wits, the man saw a woman's corpse in the dressing room. In the corner of his eye he saw a woman's form disappear as the sun hit it.
The man went mad.
In the bayou, an old woman laughed. "Twas not I that cursed ye all. Twas the hate in yer own hearts. Ye have yer revenge, T'challa, but at what price?"
A red falcon flew overhead.
I hoped you like it. Please feel free to post here now and tell me what you think. Any comments/criticism is welcome.
Another great story. You made me feel T'challa's anguish at one point and I understood what he was feeling. Good show.
Another good story Masada, still along the bleak lines but at least I got a laugh or two out of it. Remy throwing the cards, Guthrie shooting the cannonball ... a little corny, but still funny.
Here is the key of characters for anyone who doesn't recognize everyone.
Lucas/Luke Cage-Power Man
old white-haired voodoo priestess of the bayou/ Storm
James/Jim Rhodes-Rhodey-War Machine
Monica/Monica Rambeaux-Captain Marvel-Photon
ol' Sam the bird tender/Sam Wilson-Falcon
Wow, these stories are amazing. You should write them in a book and sell it...wait, i'm reading them now for free! Nevermind!
The avengers story reminded me of the "deaths head 2" saga
where there were only a few heroes left. Lost that series, but these are even better! Keep up the good work!!
just keeping these on page 1 for new readers..
Another good story by the Realms very own Author!
Still trying to get cought up on all these - excellent work, Mesada. Highly entertaining. Keep up the great work - on to story 4!
Nice work Masada.
Seriously I got shivers when Falcon was killed.
Ironically I thought that Monica was T'challa ex-fiancee Monica Lynne for most of it, until she turned into an energy being and then I remember that Photon's name was also Monica. :cheeky:
Great work....I'll have to read #1 another time.
I am taking it upon myself to give all of Masadas old stories a fresh bump as a tribute to the currently away due to illness Masada. We miss you, get well soon.
I'm still hanging on edge for the continuation of what-if 12
These haven't been up on the front page in months, so...
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