TITLE: The Incredible Journey of Freddy J
GENRE: Middle-grade Historical Fiction
Two boys hop a freight train and find they are not alone.
He was small, but had a big head, bugging eyes, and little twisted hands. A broad, evil grin showed crooked teeth with wide gaps. His red and yellow striped shirt had ruffles and his short legs sprawled before him were encased in tight yellow pants. He hung onto the end of a thick chain with one hand and clutched a pistol in the other. Whatever was on the end of that chain lurked in the dark.
"Door's right there, sonny, waitin' for you to go through it." The man pointed with his pistol and continued to grin at them. "Need some help from Charley to find your way?"
"No, sir. Please don't," Freddy said. "We'd sure like to share our breakfast with you."
"Got beans we can share."
"Got a little piece of fatback and some hardtack."
"Too bad, 'cause Charley likes fish better'n anything."
"Fish!" Freddy said. "I got some sardines."
"Ha, ha, ha!" the man cackled. "Might be enough to make him like you. Better hope so."
Freddy dug into his rucksack. He pulled out two tins. There were a couple left if he needed them.He dumped the little fish and tasty oil into a shortening can.
The little man said, "Throw them tins out the door. Charley got'em he might get cut"
Stepping back in to the sun, Freddy wondered what to do with the bowl. He didn't like walking into the dark to give it to something, whatever that thing was. The train started around another curve and light moved slowly across the car. Link by link, the big chain was revealed. It climbed up, higher than Freddy was tall, and the train straightened out leaving the curiosity in the dark.
"Oh, Charley," the man crooned. "Why you hidin' in the dark? Come out and meet these nice boys."