Nate let the paper curl up again and placed it into a drawer of the nightstand. He stood and put books back into the boxes. When he finished, he shoved them into his closet then carried the ones from the library downstairs, but kept the U through W encyclopedia.
The note had to be about the Underground Railroad. It read like coded directions. Maybe learning more about the UGRR would help decipher the meaning. Too excited to sleep, Nate settled down with the U encyclopedia in a wing chair in a corner of his room.
After reading the volume's short account of the UGRR, he wanted to learn about the conductors who had run it. In the library, he found that the encyclopedias had information on some of the ones he already knew about. John P Parker, Harriet Tubman, and Peg Leg Joe, all had risked their lives time and again and made incredible sacrifices. He wondered about the many others who hadn't made it into the pages of a book. How many of their stories had gone untold? His generation would probably never be asked to make such a sacrifice, but if they were, how many would answer the call?
Before he knew it, daylight showed outside the window. Finally, Nate returned to bed and slept till his granddad woke him at eight-thirty for breakfast.
At the table he asked, "Do your books ever do anything funny?" Nate yawned but was too tired to put energy into covering a mouth full of cheese grits.
"I'm afraid we weren't able to ascertain any books inclined to do stand-up comedy," Granddad said. "The ones we have just stay put until we come to read them."
"Funny," Nate said. "Like it would be so unusual for things to move on their own around this place."
"Nathan." Grandma looked at him as though she intended to check his forehead for a fever. "What makes you say something like that?"
"Because last night, the books we took from the attic and the ones from the library, got together in my room and made this giant arrow that pointed to a place on the mantel that hid a secret note." Nate took in a breath and shifted his gaze between his grandparents. "Really, they did that."
"They just piled themselves into an arrow?" Granddad asked.
"Well, dear, that is a new one. We've only known the ghost to disturb the Nathan Freedman picture."
"But it really happened," Nate said.
"Where is that note?" Granddad asked.
"So, you believe me?"
"We have no reason not to believe you, even if you only had a very vivid dream. But, as they say, 'the proof is in the pudding'." Nate looked at his granddad baffled. What the heck did that mean? Was there pudding?
"Can we see the note, dear?" Grandma said.
"Yeah, I'll go get it." Nate hurried to his room and took the note from the nightstand very gently, then returned to the breakfast table. His grandma cleared the dishes and they crammed their chairs to read it together.