Summary (Masterplots II: Short Story Series, Revised Edition)
Tom Beavers, a native of Richton, Mississippi, recently returned from World War II, lives in Jackson but frequently drives to Richton to check on the elderly aunt who reared him after his mother ran away with a salesperson. He is talking with the pharmacist in the local drugstore about a ghost that is a part of the mythology of the town. For years, people have reported seeing an elderly man waving at them from the Jackson road near Richton at twilight, the time of day referred to as “first dark.” A group of men on a chain gang once reported having had a conversation with the man, who asked them to move a bulldozer because he had a sick girl in his wagon and had to get her to the hospital.
During the discussion, Frances Harvey, a woman in her thirties who lives with her invalid mother, enters the store. Overhearing the conversation, she asks Tom why he is inquiring about the ghost. When he relates that he had seen the waving man the night before as he drove into town at first dark, Frances says that she saw the figure at about the same time. Although the two of them have never known each other well, the ghost story draws them into conversation, and the next Saturday at twilight, they are sitting in his car at the spot where the ghost had been sighted. Frances recalls that, as a child, she and her sister, Regina, were terrified by stories of the ghost related by her family’s servants.
The couple soon discovers that they are attracted to...
(The entire section is 877 words.)
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