In my novel ‘Rebel Liar,’ a novel of British spying during the American civil war, one of the characters wonders how Afra, another character, who is a freed Negro slave, managed to acquire his freedom.
There wasn’t sufficient space in the novel to explore this in any depth, so I’m starting to explore it now, by writing a few flash fiction stories about him here on my website.
First, some background.
Slaves were usually freed only by paying a fee to their masters or by performing a valuable service for them.
It probably cost less for older slaves to purchase their freedom because they were nearing their end of their useful lives.
Or, if they performed a service, it was probably less valuable to their masters.
But Afra is young and fit, and intelligent, so presumably he had to perform quite an important service to gain his freedom.
This other character is a British ships’ captain, who is looking at Afra’s Certificate Of Discharge, a document which proves that he is a free man.
As he muses, when he is trying to decide what kind of service it was: ‘it must have been a considerable service…’ (for his master to grant him his freedom)
What kind of service could Afra perform, to gain his freedom?
As the theme of the novel is British spying during the American civil war, maybe he could perform some kind of service that relates to spying during the American civil war.
Maybe as a spy.
Who would he spy for? The British? The Union? The Confederacy?
Let’s see what happens.
You can take a look at ‘Rebel Liar’ here at Amazon Kindle
Or here at Kobo Books