Clara sped towards her house, quickly followed by Convict. They stopped right in front of her glorious white mansion, which was burning by the second. A group of african americans her parents had owned were gathered around it, either cheering or staring at it grimly. They were finally free now anyways.
Her eyes pooled with tears as she ran up to them,” Are my parents still in there?”
“Yes’m,” One of the women responded,” Burning to a crisp right now, they be.”
She turned to the house, ready to run in. Before she could, Convict grabbed her by the waist and pulled her away,” Don’t you get it? This is exactly what the Creations want!”
“But my parents-”
He buried his face in his hands before looking back up at her,” I’m going to go look for them.”
Her face drooped,” You can’t do that. We barely know each other,” Her voice trailed off,” This is why you kidnapped me, isn’t it? You knew that if I came back, I would be dead by now!”
“Well, I knew that you’d be dead, unless you got lucky,” He sighed, scratching the top of his head,” I’m going in,” Convict nodded sternly before walking in casually. The fire licked away at the house surrounding him, sometimes collapsing onto the ground.
Convict had to remind himself that he was going in the house for himself, not Clara. He didn’t want to be like the other creatures, lifeless and with their only purpose to serve their evil leader. He wanted to do good to the world, and fix whatever they did wrong.
Suddenly, he came upon an unconscious woman on the ground; she looked remarkably like Clara, so he figured she was her mother,” Excuse me miss, I need to help you out of here.”
The collapsed woman the on floor looked up at him solemnly,” No, dear, you need to get away-”
“Ma’am, I can help you out, you can’t give up. I told Clara that I’d help you.”
She smiled softly, musky black ash clouding her face,” My Clara?”
“Yes, your Clara.”
Convict nodded,” Ma’am, we need to get out-”
“Promise me that you’ll take care of her.”
He searched her face when it occurred to him; no matter what he did, she was going to die,” I....please at least try-”
“Promise me you’ll take care of Clara.”
Convict gripped the woman’s hand, kissing her knuckles,” I promise.”
Clara’s mother smiled up at him, coughing up smoke and taking deep breaths,” She’s your Clara now,” Her hand went limp.
A flash of memories came before his eyes. This alway happened whenever he made contact with someone who was dieing, and he never liked it. By the time the person died, it was like he had known them their entire life.
Flashes of her life passed; The woman’s birth, her childhood, her first love, her marriage, and the birth of Clara. Suddenly, the memories flicked to another child, not much younger than Clara. It showed the four as a happy family until the scene flashed with a crack of lightning, showing a grave; the child.
Convict couldn’t bare to watch any longer; he dropped her hand, tears pooling his eyes. He gently picked her mother up and carried her out of the burning building to where Clara was standing. She let out a distressed cry and ran to them immidiently.
He softly laid her down on the soft green grass. Clara stood next to him,” Is she....”
“I’m sorry, Clara. There was nothing I could do,” She burst into tears, burying her head in his chest. After a second of considering, she pulled away stubbornly. It was obvious she was trying to stay mad at him. Convict just wrapped his arm around her shoulder, saying in a way You’re not alone.
“There she is!” Mabel’s mousy voice screamed. She was followed by two men in white suits and her sister, Elizabeth,” She killed her own parents, set her house on fire, and let all of those negroes escape-”
“Don’t call them that!” Clara cried,” I didn’t do anything!”
Elizabeth motioned for the men to get her. They slowly stalked forward, pulling out a pair of handcuffs. Convict looked at the sun, slowly rising above the horizon,” I guess it’s time to go.”
He turned to the men, then to Clara. After much consideration, he grabbed her by the waist,” Let’s get out of here!”
The forest scenery around them began to blur into a soft, glittery gold spinning around them. After a long squeak that sounded much like brakes, the gold stopped and fell to the ground or the walls, dissolving into trees and what looked like a road.
Clara blinked,” What just happened? Where are we?”
“Don’t you mean, when are we?”
Clara began pacing back and forth,” You mean I’m not in my own time anymore? You kidnapped me against my will! Again!”
“I didn’t kidnap you, I sorta just.....borrowed you.”
She stared at him,” You borrowed me? What kind of a response is that? I never asked to be taken away!”
“If I didn’t take you with me, they would’ve pulled you away from your home and experimented on you! At least this time they’re not shocking you and staring at you through glass walls.”
Clara bit her lip thoughtfully,” But why do you care?”
Convict looked down at his shoes before staring back up at her,” I made a promise to your mother.”
Her expression softened,” You.....you talked to her before she died?”
“Of course I did. She loved you very much.”
Clara nodded quietly,” I know. What did you promise her?”
“I said that I’d look after you, and I made a promise to myself to find out what the creations want with you. I will protect you.”
“Who said I needed protection?” She asked defensively. Convict’s eyes widened immidiently,” I didn’t mean it like that! I just.....well.......would you like to help me?”
“Help you what?”
He ran his hand through his sloppy hair,” The Creations are trying to make a cruel version of our world in the future, and my job is to stop them and fix whatever they messed up. I think you can help me, and honestly, it’s not that safe for you to be out there on your own,” He took a shaky breath,” So, what do you say? I promise I’m not crazy.”
Clara stared at him, a small smile forming on her face. Her bright eyes sparkled mischievously and she clutched her notebook confidently. This was the big break she had been waiting for. Sure, she didn’t really approve of what Convict did, but this was one big mystery she was itching to find out,” I would love to.”