Pynesapp Home | jack-red | Chapter-12

The Adventures of Jack and Red.

This is the twelveth in a series of blogs chronicling an expedition into 'space' with Jack Pynesapp and his granddaughter Red. To read the entire story (with notes) please see the JackPynesapp web site: [ click here ]

Part XII: Oakwood

Oakwood is the next town up the tracks from Mayville on the old railroad line (and now on the snowmobile trail.) It is one of those bedroom communities that sprang up after they built the freeway. It's all houses and apartment buildings,  a couple churches, a quickie-mart, a video store, etc. It all started when the Morgan's retired from farming and sold off their land to developers who sub-divided it into lots and built houses. The original farm house still stands on Morgan Avenue just before the snowmobile crossing. This is where Jack parked the car and he and JJ got out and started walking up the trail.

"Okay, here we are." Jack said; "Now where's Billy?"

"Hey Billy!"; JJ called out; "Billy!"

"Do you think that will help."; Jack asked.

"I d'know. What do you suggest?"

"I don't know either." Jack admitted.

"Do you think the train's already been here?"

"What train?" Jack asked.

"I know - it's impossible - there aren't even any tracks."

They had walked up the trail a few hundred feet by now and they were both looking back and forth for any sign of tracks. There were none. 

"So where's Billy?" JJ asked frantically.

"I don't know, JJ."

"Do you think we should ask somebody if they've seen a train go by?"

They started walking back to the road.

"I don't think that would be a good idea, JJ." Jack said.

"But we've got to do something."

"Maybe we could just ask if they've seen or heard anything strange. How about that?"

"Good idea. Who do we ask?"

"See that lady in the yard of the old house. Let's ask her."

They walked over to the yard. There was no fence so they crossed the sidewalk, waved at the lady and called to her; "Hello! " Jack called out as they approached.  "Nice day for a little gardening."

The lady straightened up and called back; "Yes, it's a beautiful day. Are you folks out for a drive?"

"Yes, sort of." Jack and JJ had arrived at the edge of the garden by now and Jack continued; "We're looking for a friend of my Son's and we think he may have come this way."

"Was he walking?" She asked.

"Yes, " JJ said, and then he added, "Well, yes, he probably would be."

"Probably? Don't you know?" She asked.

"We were walking down the snowmobile trail and we got seperated." Jack said sheepishly.

"How did you get separated in broad daylight on an open trail?" She was getting a little suspicious of these two strangers.

"Well, he likes to play tricks and do practical jokes on people and we think he may be doing that - is all." JJ piped in.

"Where did you last see him?"

"A little this side of Mayville. We were out walking and were just about to old rail trellis when he took off this way."

"That's a long hike. Are you sure he came all this way?"

"No, we're not sure of anything but we need to find him and this was the next place we thought to look." Jack said.

"Well, I haven't seen anyone walking around here this morning - until I saw you, that is."

"Have you seen or heard anything strange or out of the ordinary this morning?" JJ asked.

"Not until I heard this story you're telling me." She smiled and then added; "No nothing unusual."

"Okay thanks." Jack said; "Well, if you do see someone - like 15 years old, short black hair, and about JJ here's height and build - can you give me a call?" Jack wrote his name and number on an old business card and handed it to her.

"Well, sure." She said while she took the card and tucked it into a pocket. "What's his name?"

"Billy"

"Just Billy?"

"Billy Thompson." JJ said.

"Okay, " She said, "If I see Billy Thompson, I'll have him call you."

"Thank you, that'd be great. " Jack said as he and JJ started walking back towards the car.

She stood there and watched them walk away - a little relieved that they were leaving - and she thought over what they'd said. What if they weren't crackpots? What if this Billy Thompson is really missing? And only sixteen years old.

They were about half way across the yard when they heard her call to them; "Wait - guys. I just thought of something."

They turned around and walked back to the garden.

"What is it? Jack asked hopefully.

She said; "Well, it's probably nothing but - there was one thing. When I was getting ready to come out to the garden. I was in the house, you know,  and I heard this big truck drive by on the road."

"A big truck. Why is that unusual?"

"I don't know. It just struck me as strange since we don't get much traffic out here and certainly no big trucks. Where would they be going?"

"I don't know. Did you see it?"

"No, it had passed by the time I got outside. But it was very loud and seemed to be traveling very slowly."

"Really."

"Yes, you know now that I think of it," She laughed,  "if I didn't know better I would have thought it was a train." She laughed again, nervously. "But that would be silly wouldn't it?"

"Well, I don't know." Jack looked at JJ.

JJ smiled at his dad and then asked the lady; "Did you hear a whistle?"

"A what?"

"A whistle - you know - a train whistle?" Jack asked.

"Oh, don't be silly." She laughed; "I was only kidding about the train. That would be impossible."

"I know. " JJ insisted. "But did you hear a whistle?"

"Is this a joke?" She was serious now. "Are you guys pulling some sort of prank?"

"No, " Jack assured, "Forget it. We were just curious - since you said it sounded like a train. You know. "

"I shouldn't even have brought it up. I'm sorry -  of course it was just a truck." She insisted.

"Okay, thanks. " Jack said. "We'd better get going. Thank you for your time."

"No problem." She said cautiously. "I hope you find your friend." She acted like she was anxious to get back to her gardening.

Jack took the hint and said; "Thanks. Please call me if you see Billy." And he and JJ turned and walked back to the car.

"Or a train." JJ said under his breath as they walked away.

"Shhh" Jack whispered. "She's already freaked enough."

"But she heard the train." JJ insisted.

They were back in the car, JJ turned to his dad and said; "She did hear a train, Dad! She said she heard it go by."

"Maybe she did." Jack said calmly, "and maybe it was only a truck."

"If it was a train it would have blown it's whistle at the crossing."

"She didn't say that she didn't hear the whistle, Dad."

"No she didn't. But she didn't say that she did hear one either, did she. And what if she did? What does that mean?"

"Well, maybe the train was here and maybe it did stop at the old stop and - and - maybe Billy got off like he said he would."

"Well, where is he, then? If he got off, where is he?"

"He should be here." JJ insisted. "He has to be somewhere. Where else could he be?"

"I don't know JJ. " Jack said quietly. "Let's wait here for a while and see if he shows up. It's all we can do, I think - for now, at least."

[To be continued....] [ Click here to continue to part XIII ]