Pynesapp Home | jack-red | Chapter-14

The Adventures of Jack and Red.

This is the fourteenth 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 XIV: What now?

On the drive home Jack and JJ decided to tell JJ's Mom the whole truth. They had seriously considered sticking with the story Jack had already told her. But what if Billy isn't home? (They were sure he wouldn't be.) There had really been a train and Billy had really gotten on it and rode it to Oakwood. But he wasn't there now so what was left to do but to tell the truth and face the consequences. "Maybe Mom will have some ideas." JJ said as they pulled into the driveway.

"A train?" JJ's Mom laughed when they told her what happened. "He got on a train? A real train?"

"Yes Margie, a real train." Jack said with an awkward smile.

"A train running on these old tracks?"

"Yes, a train running on these old tracks." JJ repeated.

"Where did it come from? When did they start running trains again out here?"

"I don't know." Jack said.

"I didn't hear any train." Marge said. "I think I would have heard a train. The track's right there. It would've gone right by here, wouldn't it?"

"Yes." JJ said. "But it was an old-time train, Mom. And it had stopped to pick up milk from a farm up the track a bit."

"It stopped to pick up milk?" Marge cried. "Jack, what is JJ talking about?"

"Yes dear, the train stopped to pick up milk. There were people there with a horse and wagon and they had milk cans that they put on the train."

"What people? Who has a horse and wagon around here?"

"I don't know, Margie, but we saw what we saw. It was a train and it was a horse and wagon."

"And Billy was there too?" she asked.

"Yes, Billy was there too. And there were people riding in the passenger car and Billy jumped on while it was beginning to leave."

"And you let him?" Marge asked incredulously.

"I couldn't stop him." Jack protested. "The train was already moving and he yelled back that he'd meet us in Oakwood."

"Yeah, Mom, I tried to follow him onto the car but Dad grabbed me before I could."

"Well thank God for that." Marge cried. She was beside herself and had to sit down to think for a minute.

They told her about following the wagon and then JJ showed her the milk can cover.

"That doesn't prove anything." Marge said. "That could've been laying there all these years."

"That's true." Jack agreed. "But see what good shape it's in. If it'd been laying out there it would be all rusty."

"Maybe." Marge said softly - unconvinced. "And the path disappeared? Right in front of your eyes?"

"Yes, it was the weirdest thing."

"That was the weirdest thing?" Marge asked with a laugh. "That part was the weirdest part of this whole story? You've got to be kidding, Jack."

"Yeah, I guess the whole thing is a little weird."

"A little weird? Jack, JJ, a little weird? A whole train appears out the past - from nowhere - along with a wagon load of milk - and a horse - and the train picks up the milk and leaves with Billy on board and then the whole thing just disappears again without a trace?"

"There's the milk can cover." JJ offers sheepishly.

"That's it? That's your evidence? That's your reason for me to believe this?"

"But it's the truth." Jack insisted.

Marge put her head in her hands for a long minute and then looked up at Jack. She was speechless. She just looked at Jack and then at JJ and shook her head.

Then they told her the story about Oakwood.

"The police?" She cried; "The police know about this?"

"Well not exactly. " Jack explained. " We only told them the story I told you when I called."

"So you lied to the police." Marge said quietly. "Well thank God you had enough sense to do that, at least."

"Thanks dear, I think."

"So Billy wasn't there - in Oakwood - obviously." Marge said. "So where is he?"

"You tell us." JJ said.

"Well people don't just disappear." Marge said. "He has to be somewhere. I know Billy. He's probably just playing a trick on you guys and he'll turn up any minute."

"We all know Billy." Jack agreed. "Let's hope you're right."

"Maybe the cop was right." Marge said; "Maybe he's already home and waiting for you to call so he can laugh at you for being so gullible - or whatever you are."

"Do you wanna call over there to see?" JJ asked.

"No, not really." Marge said; "I think that's something one of you needs to do. This is your deal after all."

"I say we wait." JJ said. "Let him call us if he wants to. I don't like being laughed at."

"Won't his Mother be worried?" Marge asked.

"Naw, " JJ said, "he hardly ever goes home for lunch. So she won't expect him till dinner."

"If he's really missing." Jack added; "And if he's just trying to play a joke on us, he'll probably come back here first, anyway." 

This conversation had planted the seed of doubt in Jack and JJ's mind. Or, at least it had enabled them to push the weirdness back and pretend the more plausible (more possible) scenario was somehow what really happened. So this is what they acted on and hoped - beyond hope - that all the rest had been some sort of illusion. Perhaps some sort of 'mass hypnosis' that affected the three of them. (Or had Billy learned some new tricks?)

So they had lunch. It was pretty quiet as everyone seemed to have a lot to think about. After lunch Jack and JJ went back up to the tracks and retraced their morning walk. They looked all around the area where the train had stopped and searched for some other sigh - another milk can cover perhaps. There was nothing to find and after a while they headed back home.

They had just climbed down the bank to the road when they heard Marge call their names. They hurried back to the house and Marge was waiting.

"Billy's back!" She called as they got to the driveway. She was so excited that she could hardly talk.

"Call this lady." She handed Jack a piece of paper with a phone number written on it. "It's the lady in Oakwood. She just called and said that a boy named Billy just showed up at her front door." 

[ To be continued ]