Not long ago, but before interstate highways ran around towns and cities, a young
man left Greensboro late one night to drive to his old home in Lexington.
At that time, just east of Jamestown, the old road dipped through a tunnel under
the train tracks. The young man knew the road well, but it was a thick foggy
night in early summer and he drove cautiously, especially when he neared the Jamestown
underpass. Many wrecks had taken place at that spot. He slowed down
on the curve leading to the tunnel and was halfway through it when his eyes almost
popped out of his head. Standing on the roadside just beyond the underpass
was an indistinct white figure with arm raised in a gesture of distress. The
young man quickly slammed on his brakes and came to a stop beside the figure.
It was a girl, young, beautiful, resplendent in a long white evening dress.
Her troubled eyes were glaring straight toward him. Obviously she was in need.
He jumped from the car and ran around to where she stood motionless. "Can
I help you?"
"yes." Her voice was low, stranger. I want to go home.
I live in High Point."
He opened the door, and she got in. As they drove off, he said, "I'm
glad I came by. I didn't expect to find anyone like you on the road so late
"I was at a dance." She spoke in a monotone. "My date
and I had a quarrel. It was very bad. I made him drop me back there."
He tried to continue the conversation, but she would say nothing more until they
were into High Point. "Turn at the next left," she said.
"I live three doors on the right." He parked before a darkened house,
got out of the car and went around to open the door for her. There was no
one there! He looked into the back seat. No one! He thought she
might have rushed up the sidewalk and out of sight.
Confused and undecided about what to do next, he thought it only reasonable to find
out if she had entered the house. He went up the steps and knocked on the
door. No one came. He knocked again. There was no sound anywhere.
After a third knock, through the side panes a dim light appeared from the pitch-black
hallway. Finally the door was opened by a white-haired woman in a night robe.
"I brought a girl to this house," he explained, "but now I can't
find her. Have you seen her? I picked her up out on the highway."
"At the Jamestown underpass. She told me she had been to a dance and
was on her way home."
"Yes, I know," said the woman wearily. "that was my daughter.
She was killed in a wreck at that tunnel five years ago tonight. And every
year since, on this very night, she signals a young man like you to pick her up.
She is still trying to get home."
The young man turned from the doorway, speechless. The dim light in the house
went out. He drove on to Lexington, but never has he forgotten, nor will he
ever forget, the beautiful hitchhiker and how she vanished into the night.