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 arms 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 at night.”
“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.