Sunday, September 21, 2014

Chapter XI: The Chase.

This is the eleventh in a series of blogs chronicling an expedition into 'space' with Jack Pynesapp and his granddaughter Red. You may want to read these in the proper order by skipping to episode 1: [ click here ]

 [I don't know if I'm up to this reality shit. But here goes...]

Chapter XI: The Chase.

Jack and JJ stood watching the train chug across the old trestle and disappear around the bend. The sound of the locomotive soon faded and the sounds of the wind in the leaves and the birds chirping in the trees soon took over. The sound of the train whistle in the distance jostled Jack and JJ out of their daze and JJ asked; "What do we do now?"

"I guess we'd better head for Oakwood," Jack answered, "and see what Billy finds out."

JJ looked around and saw the lid from one of the milk cans that must have fallen from the wagon as it drove away. "Dad," he said, "maybe we should follow the wagon back to the farm and ask those folks what's going on."

Jack thought for a bit and said; "I guess that wouldn't hurt. It will take the train a while to get to the Oakwood since there are a few more farms between here and there."

So JJ picked up the lid and they started following the path to the farm.

It was a field road - which was more like a path, worn in the grass by the daily passing of the wagon from the farm to the tracks. It wound through a small wooded area, up a small hill and then down into a broad valley where the farmstead was located. When Jack and JJ came over the hill the grass in the trail became longer and soon the tracks disappeared entirely into an thicket of prickly ash and honeysuckle. They looked all around for a sign of where it had been but couldn't find one.

"This is weird." Jack said.

"Ya think?" JJ agreed.

"We're not going to get through this stuff. We'd better go get the car and head for Oakwood."


They started backtracking and found that the trail they had just followed had grown up into grass and weeds, leaving no sign of the trail. They had to make their way back to the tracks fighting their way through ragweed, quack grass, wild raspberry, and chicory.

"What's going on, Dad?"

"You tell me."

"Are you scared?"

"I don't know, this is pretty freaky."

"Do you think we dreamed all that?"

"You've got that lid." Jack assured.

"Yeah, there is that."

By now they had fought their way to the tracks and started walking back towards the house.

"Dad, look at the tracks." JJ said. "They're all rusty again. All that shine is gone."

"Hmm." Jack said. "We'd better beat it to Oakwood."

"No kidding."

Both Jack and JJ broke into a trot. It is hard to run on the railroad ties because you can't get into any kind of a stride. The ties are unevenly spaced so every step has to be measured. But they made it as fast as they could and within 5 minutes they were scrambling down the embankment to the street and then it was easier going for the quarter mile to the house.

On the road

They jumped into the car and Jack backed out of the driveway and onto the road. They didn't even stop to tell JJ's Mom where they were going. They knew she would be angry but then again, what would they tell her? What could they tell her?  How would they ever explain this. They needed to know what Billy had found out before they could possibly explain any of this. They desperately needed to find Billy - period.

"Dad, what's going on?"

"I don't know JJ"

"What if Billy's not in Oakwood?"

"I don't know JJ"

"Was Oakwood even there when they ran the trains ran?"

"No. But there was a farm there and they had a milk stop."

"Will Billy know enough that?"

"I hope so."

"Would he have enough sense to get off even if he did?"

"We can only hope."

"And where do we look for him? Where was the milk stop anyway?"

"That's all gone now of course. But the old farmhouse is still standing so I would assume it was near that. "

"Can we beat the train?"

"That's possible, I guess. There were a lot of farms along that line and they will probably stop for every one."

"What if there's no train?"

"We saw the train, JJ. There was a train and Billy got on the train and rode away on the train. There was a train. There has to be a train."

JJ was quiet for a while as he looked out the window at the farm fields.  Then he continued; "And Billy said he'd call us from Oakwood. How can he call us if there's no Oakwood? Did they even have phones back then?"

"Yes they had phones, JJ. " Jack assured,

"What if Billy's not in Oakwood?"

"JJ, I don't know. Okay? You keep asking questions that I don't know the answer to."

"I know, Dad, I'm sorry. I just feel like I"m going crazy and talking helps."

"That's alright JJ, I understand. I feel the same way."

"And," Jack continued,  "Billy will be in Oakwood." 
"My stomach hurts." JJ moaned.

"Mine too."

"Dad, you're going too fast."

"Oops." Jack hadn't noticed that he was going 20 over the limit.

"We don't need to get picked up."

"I know, right? What would we say to the cop?"

"Yeah, try explaining this." JJ laughed uneasily.

"Yeah." Jack answered.

They were quiet for a while as the enormity of their situation hit them. How would they explain this; to anybody.

"Dad, " JJ Said finally, "I hope we find Billy." .

"Yeah, me too, JJ. " Jack sighed. "Me too."

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