When the four-year war ended, the former slaves had no gardens to harvest food and they had no live stock animals to eat. They also had no shelter, no clothing, no reparations, no land, or money. They, in every sense of the word, were penniless. So it was not "What should they do tomorrow?" For if they could not live each day, to many their tomorrows may never come. The urgency of their immediate day-to-day self survival left little room for considering the well-being of others.

In their prior world of slavery, they were fed but considered less than human. During those years of enslavement, they were considered the same as other beasts of the field. However, in this new world of freedom, their tasks as beast of the-field were no longer needed. So they had to find new sources of food and shelter. They had to find new ways to survive or die like the other worthless beasts of the field.

The fictional characters in my stories dealt with their new crises. They also witnessed sickness and death in their shacks and in the fields. Their attempts to be invisible and move around quietly, seeking food at night, caused for many in the white populations to call them Coons.

Each of my former slave characters crisscrossed each other with their new insecurities. Some experienced unexpected tragedy. Their release from bondage even caused pain, fear, resentment, and anger.

Some of my fictional characters are named Master Hind Turpin, Old Gus, Charley Boy, Sallie Mae, Indian Ike, Boogeyman, and Mo. The roles they portray and the emotional reactions of the characters are unpredicted, as they crisscrossed each other's paths.

Their crisscrossing led them to new paths of unfamiliar worlds and surprising adventures. As the former slaves crisscrossed each other's paths, they discovered hidden relationships that were never talked about. They also had some unexpected predicaments that created anxieties, some that will sadden them and some that will also brighten their days to give rise and hope for adventurous tomorrows.

I invite you to read, join, and share the emotions of my characters who crisscrossed each other's paths, as they sought ways to deal with the new challenges that each day presented.

--William T. Atkins Jr.