“Yes,” I said through trembling lips.
“Good, then stand up straight and listen. I need your help with something.”
“W-w-what would that b-b-be?” I asked.
“Oh, for crying out loud, stop shaking! I need you to help me get to the railroad tracks. Then I can catch a ride back home to Virginia.”
“I thought that railroad tracks didn’t exist back then,” I suggested bravely.
“Listen kid. I’ve been wandering around here for about 200 years. I didn’t just curl up in a hole and sleep.’
“If you can wander around, how come you can’t get to Virginia without my help?” I questioned.
“I am bound to my death place, unless a living person helps me,” he patiently replied.
“Why me?” I asked.
“I saw you coming home from school, and you looked like a nice kid. If you help me get to the railroad tracks, then I’ll help you in history,” he said.
I thought a minute; his request seemed genuine, and it would be really cool to have a ghost as a history tutor. “All right,” I decided, “I’ll help you get to the railroad tracks.”
“Thank you. My name is Samuel Tillman,” he replied.
“Mine’s Jesse James,” I said.
“Nice to meet you Jesse,” he stated.
“Same to you,” I said, grabbing my jacket. I walked outside and jumped. In my driveway was a bright yellow Mustang.
“Like I said, I didn’t curl up in a hole,” he said, clearly amused. We got into the car and started down the road when Samuel got a flat tire. “I knew that I should have gotten new tires instead of using the ones of my old wagon,” Samuel remarked.” I guess we’re walking.” I nodded in agreement. We had been walking for about 10 minutes when we finally saw the tracks. We noticed a train just pulling in.
“I guess that this is goodbye,” Samuel said sadly.
“Yeah, I guess it is,” I replied, taking on the same tone.
Samuel reached into his pocket and pulled out a small, leather-bound journal. “This should cover a lot about the Revolutionary War, but if you have any more questions, you can e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org.,” he said.
“Thank you,” I said.
“No, thank you,” he replied.
We said our goodbyes and he boarded the train. It started, and I watched it chug into the distance, carrying a new friend with it.