Rusty heard the conductor’s call and ran toward the rolling train. Finally, he was able to catch up to where the man stood and with one swoop of his arm, Rusty found himself on the stoop beside the conductor.
“Yes, you must have a ticket to board the Reading.”
“I don’t think I have one, sir.”
“Check your pockets.”
Rusty dug in his pants pockets, and then checked the pockets of his jacket. “I-I’m sorry sir. I don’t have a ticket.” Rusty looked up to see a boy standing in the doorway.
“He’s with me. Here’s his ticket.” The boy handed the ticket over to the conductor and smiled at Rusty. “Come with me. I’ve got you a good seat by the window.”
They sat near the back of the car, and Rusty took the window seat. “Who are you?”
“First things first, did you remember the book?”
“The book? What book are you talking about?”
“Look in your backpack.”
Rusty reached up and felt the strap on his shoulder, he hoisted it over and unzipped it. Looking through the contents, he found his lunchbox, a few toys, and his Bible. “Is this the book you’re asking about?”
“Yes, your Bible. Turn it to where you were reading last night.”
Rusty looked into the eyes of the stranger, the kindest smile illuminating his face. “Can’t you at least tell me your name?”
“Don’t you remember me? You’ve been reading about me.” The boy pulled a sling from his belt and handed it to Rusty.
The boy’s eyes widened in recognition, “David?”
“Yes, you did remember.”
“What are we doing on this train?”
“I wanted you to see something. Look out the window, there.”
Rusty wiped the window with his sleeve and peered out, “That’s a lot of sheep. How do they know to follow that guy out in front?”
“They are trained, my friend. That was my job. I was a shepherd.”
“But you don’t look much older than me. Why did you have a job?”
“Ah, it was much different in my time. Look there.” David pointed out the window to two groups of men. One group looked much bigger and stronger than the other. “The big ones, they’re the Phillistines. They were bullies, always wanting to start trouble. The men were afraid of fighting against those mighty warriors, so God gave me the courage to fight.”
The train seemed to slow to a stop, so Rusty looked out, his eyes filled with anticipation. He watched a small boy step out from the crowd of men and take a slingshot in his hand. The sling flew round and round above the boy’s head and then suddenly the giant went down. “Cool. That was you, right? Hey, my Sunday school teacher said that you killed a bear with your bare hands. Is that true?”
“Yes, it is. Let me see your Bible and I’ll find it and mark it for you. You can read about it later.” David flipped through the Bible and laid a strap of leather between the pages. “Don’t ever slack up on your reading, my friend. There’s a lot to learn in this book.”
He heard his mom’s voice and slowly opened his eyes.
“Good morning, sleepyhead.” She sat on the side of his bed and ruffled his blonde curls. “I’m going to start breakfast now. You’d better get up and start getting ready for church. You don’t want to be late for Sunday School.” Mom stood and walked toward the door.
He raised up on one elbow and rubbed the sleep from his eye. “Mom, will you hand me my Bible? I want to show you something.”
“Well, it’s right there on the floor beside your bed, sweetie. You must’ve fallen asleep reading it.”
“I guess I did.”
“You can show me later. I need to get breakfast started. You get up, now. Okay?”
“Okay, mom.” He leaned over and pulled his Bible from the floor. Flipping through the pages, he stopped at a small leather strap. “No way.” He sniffed the leather and then placed it back between the pages. Tucking his Bible under his arm, he walked to the closet to find his best Sunday suit. I can’t wait to get to Sunday school. They’ll never believe this.
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