TITLE: Freedom Boys
GENRE: Historical Middle Grade Fiction
A shiver shoots down my spine. I grasp the rabbit’s foot for protection from spirits—not that I’m scared or nothing.
A cool breeze whips oak leaves and ashes into a dust devil. It whirls past the remains of Master’s big house, twists through Captain Ross’s cemetery, and comes toward me in the woods. Sweet Jesus! Near a wooden cross, my friend Gibson hops from foot to foot. Maybe a haunt blows hot breath on his soles.
“Granville, hurry!” he says.
In the tree above me, owls hoot back and forth, regular as a tick-tock. I lower my head and pray hastily, “May God help y’all rest in peace. Amen.” My hand shakes as I pluck up a string of cowry shells, a piece of plate, a ring carved from a horn, and a brass amulet from my friends’ graves and stuff them inside my jacket. In case of trouble, I scoop up a handful of cemetery dirt. Uncle Hannibal claims it throws off a slave’s scent.
We race downhill, cutting across the fields where the cotton bolls peek out. Most of the stars have already faded from the sky with the moon shining a pale white before dawn. We should be safe in bed, but Gibson lags behind me. Again.
I stop dead in my tracks and say, “Come on!”
A dog howls in the woods.
Brownie! That’s trouble all right. Most nights, he’s chained behind the overseer’s cabin.
I pick up a stick—not much of a club.