This is the sequel everyone's been hoping for to Sins of the Flesh. This first chapter is a bit short, but it picks up right on the heels of Sonic's execution by his dear lover, the princess. For those who do not remember, Sonic came forward and confessed to murdering Sally's son so Shadow would not be sentenced to death. Instead, Sonic suffered his former enemy's fate at the gallows. So, what now? Read this short chapter (less than 1000 words) to find out.

Chapter 1: Awakening

Everything had become murky and silent. Sonic stirred about in this new sightless space – was this darkness the afterlife, he wondered? Was it really the antithesis of the famed light at the end of the tunnel?

"Wh…where am I? Damn, my neck sure hurts, and it's dark in here", he thought to himself. The air felt very heavy. He stretched out his arms, only to have them collide with barriers on all sides. After a few moments of speculation as far as where he was, Sonic eventually gained full consciousness and awareness and screamed, "Holy shit, I'm in a coffin!"

He assumed he had already been buried, but he knew he had to get out of that coffin soon or he would suffocate. Using his spin attack, he smoothly cut through the coffin and dug his way up through the ground. He emerged outside the cemetery in the middle of the forest, about a quarter-mile away from his burial spot. He covered up the hole he made and proceeded to flee. He went as far from Knothole as he could before sitting down to rest and to think.

"How the hell did I survive the hanging? This is reality, isn't it? Am I dreaming?" he asked. He pinched the flesh on his arms and yelped in pain. "Yep, this is real. But…how did I live?"

He rubbed the back of his neck – it was terrifically sore, and most likely injured. Apparently, the hanging starved him of air long enough to render him cataleptic, but not enough to kill him. He figured his spine was wrenched out of alignment since he had a difficult time as well as leg weakness running at top speed; he was amazed, though, that the failed execution had not left him paralyzed. Surely, luck had smiled down upon him in more ways than one, but he'd sustained injuries that had to be dealt with immediately. Then he realized he could probably use a power ring to mend himself, since any doctors he would visit would likely turn him in. There was a ring pool a few miles from where he was sitting, so he gave his neck a twist and ran toward the pool.

He waited for a few hours for the ring to surface, but the hedgehog's rarely employed patience finally paid off when a glowing power ring surfaced. Sonic held the ring over the back of his neck, and then he felt a throbbing jolt go through his spine like a prickly serpent slithering from his neck to his hips. When the ring's glow dwindled, Sonic no longer felt any pain…however, the weakness in his legs lingered. As the used ring was tossed back into the crystal depths of the pool, Sonic couldn't help but wonder why the ring had not helped his slightly weakened legs. Running as per normal proved to be successful, but also felt extraordinarily strange, as if his limbs would crumple from underneath him like destabilized stilts holding up a house on flood-prone land.

But this wasn't something he had time to muse over – he had to move far and fast. Sonic walked for several miles; he felt constrained to just walk due to the bizarre new sensation in his legs. His limbs, however, were neither his primary nor his solitary thought; countless reflections rushed through his fatigued mind. Everything seemed to have happened so fast and all of it hitting him at once was making his head spin. He still could not fathom how he survived the execution – he thought, perhaps, maybe he was not yet meant to join the choir invisible. Maybe he had some unfinished business to tend to…or maybe he was just plainly and simply very lucky, being one of only a few individuals privileged to carry the honor of surviving their own execution.

"I can't go back to Knothole – they'll just execute me again..probably by shooting me." Sonic thought to himself. "The people who I believed to be my friends and supporters were all encouraging the execution. They all turned their backs on me, and for what? Because of some bastard kid? Well…at least Shadow is off the hook."

He sat hunched up against a tree, his arms folded while he stared down at the grass, as if the answers he was seeking were hidden among the individual blades. His temples throbbed as his troubled thoughts began nursing a dreadful headache. He wasn't quite sure what to do; if he left and never looked back, exactly how would Knothole survive? He was always the one to save the day with his speed when things went wrong, and he had always sort of been the leader of the Freedom Fighters. On the other hand, if he went back, what assurance did he have that the kingdom would take him back? He couldn't even count on being allowed to live, should he set foot in the place he once called home.

Sonic took a good, long look up at the moon. He cracked his knuckles and sighed, "Fine, Knothole…you decided you didn't want your hero, so let's see how well you handle battling Robotnik without me."

End Chapter 1
Author's Note: I'm quite flattered that so many people have read and enjoyed this story, as well as anticipated the sequel. However, please note that badgering me will not make me write and post stories any faster - in fact, doing so will make me intentionally wait longer to update with any material I've written. I didn't think I'd have to write this disclaimer, but apparently, some folks feel if they bother me enough, they will get to read a sequel that they feel they are owed. People, neither I nor anyone else here gets paid to write this stuff - it's totally for fun because we enjoy writing. Trying to force creativity by being a pain in the ass will get you no points and certainly will not impress any authors. Work comes first, then play.