Jayrod could hear the bell his teacher, Mrs. Snitch, wielded with great enthusiasm off in the distance. He was stuck to the earth unable to make a decision. In front of him was a deep gully full of honeysuckle and briars. On the other side stood the class bullies led by Horace Plunk and his cronies, Bobby Greenhall and Tony Farse.
The vine swung near Jayrod’s head as Horace taunted him with insults. The other two took turns clucking like chickens and calling him scared. In the distance, the bell rang again like Mrs. Snitch was trying to shake off a bee that had landed on her thick wrist.
It was now or never as Jayrod grabbed the vine, closed his eyes, and let it drive him to the other side. Just as he left the earth, it occurred to him that once he got to the other side, Horace was just going to push him back instead of allowing him to make a safe landing.
No need to worry. Jayrod did not have the momentum to make it. He could feel the rough vine slowing and he opened his eyes in panic. He had a quarter to go when the vine began to tilt back and head in the opposite direction.
“Like a pendulum he swung, back and forth, to and fro, until his hands slipped and he spiraled downward. Briars ripped the flesh of his bare legs and arms as he plummeted ten feet to the bottom of the ravine.”
“‘Jayrod broke the vine!’ Horace laughed. ‘Big fat Jayrod!’”
“The Night Train” by Carl Purdon is the story of Jayrod Nash, a nine-year-old growing up in a small town in Mississippi with a mousy mother and an alcoholic father. The title refers to his possible salvation, a train that can take him to a better place, a better life, and safety.
Purdon lives in Pontotoc, Mississippi, with his wife and two of their four children. In February of 2012, he released this debut novel, “The Night Train.” His fourth novel, “Red Eyes,” a sequel to “The Night Train,” is scheduled for release on March 23, 2015. His writing style has been described as a mixture of Mark Twain and Merle Haggard.
Carl Purdon is one of the many authors and publishers appearing at the second annual Author Rodeo Roundup on March 28 from 2:00 – 4:00p.m. at the RC Pugh library in Senatobia.