Review: “Free Jim’s Mine” by Tananarive Due

4 of 5 stars.

A pregnant, runaway slave and her husband, a Cherokee skirting the Trail of Tears, face all their fears in this horror short story with an allegorical bent.

Lottie is wet and exhausted and still not out of Georgia, as she and her Cherokee husband, William, hide from every white man and barking dog. The Appalachians loom large and foreboding as they contemplate how to get north or at least as far as North Carolina where they know of a Quaker that helps escaped slaves. Lottie’s pregnancy and the hope for a better future that it represents drives them toward the unknown and away from the beatings, threats and misery behind them.

With things not going smoothly, they seek refuge with Lottie’s free Uncle Jim that owns a gold mine. Jim’s fortune may have come at a steep supernatural price. And, now he’s unwilling to risk himself further. In a moment of prophesy, threat or promise, Uncle Jim shuttles them into the pitch black, flooded mine but warns that they can’t both expect to survive the night . . .

Appearing in the anthology, Ghost Summer, this short story first appeared in Long Hidden: Speculative Fiction from the Margins of History, eds. Daniel Jose Older & Rose Fox (Crossed Genres Publications).
[Check out my other reviews here.]

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