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Run Danny, Run novel Chapters 7&8

Story ID:11451
Written by:Richard Laurent. Provencher (bio, contact, other stories)
Organization:Retired
Story type:Fiction
Location:Truro Nova Scotia Canada
Year:17
Person:Esther & Richard Provencher
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OurEcho Preface This post deals with a mature theme or contains explicit language. While the post is not extremely violent or pornographic, it does contain language or explore a subject matter that may offend some readers. If you do not wish to view posts that deal with mature themes, please exit this post.
CHAPTERS SEVEN AND EIGHT CONTINUE THE NOVEL RUN DANNY, RUN BY ESTHER AND RICHARD PROVENCHER.

CHAPTER SEVEN

Finally the Reynolds's were on their way. It was holiday time.

"I wish Roy could have come, dad." As usual, Walt wasn't shy to say what was on everyone's mind. "He said his dad had other plans. But, I don’t believe him."

Larry tried to put on a little show of support for Roy, but it didn't ring true. In reality, the boy just could not bring himself to say he wanted to come. Anne had phoned and tried to coax him.

"I'm sure he wanted to," Larry said. After all, what fun was it going to be in Halifax, when you could go camping instead? He’ll also miss out on canoeing and fishing. According to the brochure Larry received, there were large lots with ample privacy.

"Anyway,” Larry said, “I also spoke with Roy’ dad and told him where we were going. Just in case they changed their minds and decided to come. You never know. They might even surprise us and come for one night. They wouldn't have a hard time finding us, either. Not many people camp there anymore, it's sort of out of the way."

"Fat chance Roy will come. I wish he would, since he’s my real brother." Walt turned away, trying to hide his sarcastic comment.

"Well, he had his chance,” Larry quickly replied. “I wish Danny could also come. Legally, he’s your brother, too."

"Dad, chill." The words surprised even Walt. He didn't mean to be nasty. They just shot out like an arrow from a bow.

Larry looked at his son in a new light. Aha, Walt is really jealous of Danny. Why didn't he notice before now? One brief statement of defiance stood out like a warning label. Walt was not happy about Danny, not at all.

*

The trip landed on them in a rush. Almost like an eagle's swoop. At first, no one had time to think of anything else. But since Danny had run away, home routines returned to normal. The family placed their emotions on hold and shelved their sadness. Everyone had to, since they could barely speak about the pain their father felt.

Susan sat in the front seat, her head leaning on Larry’s shoulder. "Daddy, don't be sad. We'll have fun, you'll see."

Anne was in the back of the station wagon. Larry could see Walt staring out the window, deep in thought. It wasn't too far to their destination, just about 40 miles from Truro.

"I wonder where Danny is now?"

"Larry Reynolds,” Anne said. “You stop it this minute. We've been through all this. We're on a holiday. Walt is right. Chill out."

"Okay. I know when I'm licked. Do you think our neighbors the Larkin’s will remember we went to Economy Lake? In case anyone hears about Danny?"

"Yes, dear. You didn't forget the cell phone, I hope."

"Nope." Time to give this Danny thing a rest, he thought. Let the Police handle it. "Yes, dear" meant Anne was getting ready to blow her stack.

"Sorry hon,” he said. “Try and get some sleep. You must be worn out from all that last minute packing."

Larry hoped the Larkin’s would pick up the mail regularly. Never know who might wander by and see a full mailbox.

*

Truro was left behind, along with heavy traffic and two malls on Robie Street. Larry concentrated on the road signs, turning right on highway #104, then north to the cutoff heading towards Glenholme.

This new highway had recently been completed and the 110 KM speed limit allowed anyone to really sift along, but not him. Since they weren't in any special rush Larry avoided that route and took the slower parallel one.

They crossed the Salmon River that meandered between dykes built by French settlers many years before. Cobequid Bay soon came into view on their left as they headed through Onslow, a small stretched out rural community. This was a more scenic drive.

After these last few hectic weeks, the family was finally able to fulfill their holiday plans. Larry’s Department was going to miss him since he had a caseload that enjoyed his attention and concern. He always acted as if his clients were part of his extended family.

They weren't just Welfare recipients. They had names and faces and he treated these families like his own. They were flesh and blood, to be concerned about and pointed towards a future.

"I'm glad I’m here instead of going camping with my Scout Troop," Walt said suddenly from the back seat.

Anne sighed with relief.

"Mom, I'm boiling." Walt began to unbutton his shirt.

"Open the window a little then. The fresh air will help."

"Okay."

"Can I open my window too, daddy?"

"No."

"How come Walt is allowed?"

"Do you want to have a great big fat juicy bug splat on your forehead?"

"Yuk! Momm!"

"It's true Susan. It's been so long since we went camping, I forgot. Better close the window up tightly, Walt."

"Do I really have to?" Walt asked, sticking his hand outside the window in defiance.

"Do what your mother said. Now." Larry’s voice held a hint of anger in it. "Please, son." He softened the blow a little.

"Everything was fine until crybaby Susan butted her nose in," whined Walt.

"Okay kids, time out." Anne finalized the conversation and once again there was peace in the station wagon.

Wheels hummed quietly on the baking asphalt pavement. The hardtop trailer provided a resting place for the canoe. And just to make sure the fastened rope was secure, Larry pulled off for an inspection.

Walt jumped out to help. He still had a pout on his face for the reprimand he received a while ago.

Larry wondered why the boy was so sensitive. "Come here, son." Walt came and allowed his dad to hug him tightly. Larry kissed him on the head and said, "Love ya."

“Me too. I’m sorry for being a jerk,” Walt said.

Don't be so serious, son. We're going to have fun. You'll see."

"Is that a promise, dad?"

"Yup."

Anne was pleased to see smiles from father and son as they returned to the car.

Andrew could hear the buzz from loud and busy voices, coming from the MacVicar house. The guys were always gabbing and horsing around. As usual, brothers Art and Mike were the noisiest in the crowd of teenagers yammering at each other. "Hey oaf!" one shouted.

The response Andrew gave wasn't pleasant to hear, and certainly not printable. "Yo Andrew," several others called. Then they were all around him slapping 'fives' and punching him on the shoulder. They couldn’t believe he actually did it. "How did you get away from the house, man?"

"Easy," his relaxed smile answered back. "I just gave my old man the stare." Then he turned his eyes stone cold and curled his upper lip back. His facial features provided a pantomime that told the rest of the story.

"Ya man. Way to go," Mike chortled. He was the younger of the two brothers and admired Andrew for his bravado. The policeman’s son always seemed so sure of himself. One day he wanted to be just like him. Andrew was cool and didn't take any guff from anyone.

"Hey dude," Dennis said. "Did you see Sam yet?"

"Did I see who? Oh yah, the fox."

And they all laughed.

It was good to be with the gang and carry on. Andrew was popular with the group and it was sort of a status symbol to know him. He enjoyed the feeling of being somebody.

In fact, it felt really good.

Later that night it was time for a little action. Andrew was first up the ladder. He lifted the window cautiously so it didn't squeak or anything.

He knew this was wrong. But being a member of the club had its price. Art and Mike said he'd be a chicken if he didn't get out with the gang right away. And if this adventure was to maintain his tough guy image, then he had to come along.

It was simple as that.

"Crud," Andrew grimaced as a splinter poked into his hand. A hot anger took over as he squirmed inside.

"Sshhh" the others whispered.

Good thing Andrew switched to long shirt and jeans, since the night was chilly. His watch showed 2 AM as he finally slid back through the open window. The ladder was parked at the side of the house, waiting for their sneaky footsteps to clamber back down. Breaking into someone’s vacant house was easy.

They really didn’t take anything, just snoop around. The gang had two more activities going on tonight. Knocking over garbage cans and smashing rural mail boxes. Should be a gas. Andrew could hardly wait to surf through the park.

On the other side of Truro another shadow moved near the edge of someone else's property.

For some strange reason Danny was quite nervous. It was obvious he was not from this neighborhood, the way he kept checking his bearings. Nighttime was different from daylight. His head kept checking first one way, then the other.

A pause followed footsteps placed carefully one at a time. He was furtive as a cat. This was the safest time of day when everyone was asleep. Or away from their home, thinking all was well with the world.

The moon was almost full, its bland face staring impassively at those cautious movements below. The huge globe in the sky didn't realize its flashlight-shaft of light pointed at something not quite right. A stranger was about, gazing upon the vacant house at 4 Rosewyn Place.

After hiding his packsack and blanket-wrapped package in Victoria Park, Danny spent most of the day walking around the block, checking everything out. Getting to know backyards for escape routes, and whether any dogs were around. Important also was how visible the Reynolds house may be from the streetlight.

Later that night he made his way to the back of the house, where a small window offered little resistance to a determined intruder. His practiced hand punched through a corner of the glass and removed the piece of wood blocking the sliding window. It was easy for a slender figure to fit through the narrow opening.

Amazing how many tricks a person could pick up in Training School. And Danny had learned more than a few at Waterville.

This would be a perfect hideaway for a day or so. It wasn't hard finding out the Reynolds’s were on vacation for a week. The paperboy living around the corner was a chatty ten-year old named Nick.

Suddenly, Danny heard sounds coming downstairs to the basement. It was more like a thumping of something falling from step to step. At his feet a loud “meow” almost made the boy jump right out of his skin.

After calming his heart, he figured there must be a plan to feed the animal. Otherwise the family would have taken the cat with them. He had to be careful about other pets. What if a dog lurked about?

Danny carefully searched every room.

His silhouette showed briefly as the security night light in the living room suddenly went on. He tried to duck down quickly but not before Mrs. Larkin across the street thought she saw a shadow.

That was strange, she wondered, especially since the neighbors were supposed to have already left on holidays. If still here, why would they have asked her to start picking up the mail tomorrow morning? She wondered if she should call the Police.

Silent as the pussycat that followed him, Danny's hunger brought him to the fridge. Thankfully there was still food left. Half a liter of milk someone forgot about, cheese, a few slices of bologna and half a dozen apples.

There was nothing interesting in the freezer though.

A check of the cupboards brought a few treasures --- 2 cans of beans, soup, cookies as well as coffee and tea. And the freezer downstairs provided three pork chops and several packages of hamburger.

It was better than nothing. Maybe Danny could look around and find some money to buy more food.

He had to be careful not to knock anything over in the dark. Sounds at night, especially in an empty house could make a lot of racket. Although it was something to be concerned about, the boy needed more than anything right now to get some sleep.

Feeling so tired, Danny had to lay down somewhere. Before heading upstairs, he noticed a large family picture on the wall. He'd check it out in the morning. Right now a comfortable bed was waiting somewhere for him.

Was it a coincidence the one he chose to sleep in was Walt’s?

CHAPTER EIGHT

At the campground, Walt stirred in his sleeping bag, stretched, then sat up and looked around with tired eyes. Suddenly he remembered where he was. His leg and right side felt chilly as he felt where the zipper had slid down. Must be time to fix or replace the sleeping bag, he wondered. Something woke him up. What?

Dad said to try and keep snuggled up as if in a cocoon. And that’s exactly what he was trying to do. The last remnant of his dream had him camping---like now. He was so excited, because he loved to get out in the woods. He drifted back into a dreamy peacefulness.

In his dream he imagined himself getting up and going out into the night air. It had been rather warm in the tent trailer.

He needed to relieve himself and it was so good to relax under the stars by the side of a lake. A warm feeling began to press against his leg. In his dream he moved slowly towards the nearest tree. He could feel the tightness in his bladder as liquid prepared to surge forth.

"Oh, no." Sudden realization made Walt jump fully awake and skitter out of his moistened sleeping bag. His barefooted rush took him, from the trailer, across the damp ground to the nearest tree where he finished peeing. It would have been terrible if he had really let it all out in his sleeping bag.

What a way to have begun his holidays.

Memories of being called "piss-pants" shuddered through him. It was only last year he was finally able to have enough discipline to control his bladder. His embarrassing problem seemed to evaporate when he knew for sure he had a dad again. Larry was the only one he could talk to about his situation.

"Walt?" Mom's voice wafted through the open door from the hardtop trailer. "Are you coming back in?"

It was getting cold outside dressed in pajamas. Walt walked gingerly across the dewy ground covered in what felt like miniature boulders. Both feet longed for a return to his warm sleeping bag. As he peeked in he noticed mom up on her elbows looking around. She sure looked funny with her hair all mussed up.

"It's me," he answered.

"I know it's you. Next time, please shut the door. Chilly in the morning, you know. You’re not at home now."

"But, I was in a real hurry mom."

"Did you?"

"No I didn't. A real close one though. I was dreaming I was already outside beside a tree and..."

"What's that? A tree?" piped up Susan.

"Sssh, you'll wake your father," Anne motioned with her hand.

"What are you talking about?" Susan persisted rather loudly.

"None of your beeswax," Walt said, quickly cutting her off.

"Is it a secret, mommy?

"No dear, just a chat. Walt ---are you coming in?"

"Yeah. I better, or I'll freeze my butt off."

"Mom? Walt said a bad word."

"Butt. Butt." Walt repeated.

"I suppose by now your father is awake, with this entire racket. You two make more commotion than a pack of coyotes."

"I heard them last night," Larry piped up from under a bundle of blankets. "While I was laying on my butt," he chuckled. It was a hoot listening to your family on their first day of vacation. Welcome to the great outdoors. "Come on Walt, crawl back in. Much too early to get up right now, remember, we're on holidays."

"What time is it, mom?" Susan asked.

"I think mom's already asleep," whispered Walt. He pulled his sleeping bag over beside his dad and snuggled in close. Everything was okay now, only some wetness inside but not enough for anyone to notice.

"Hey leave some place for me," Susan whined. Today she was slow getting up so she could cuddle up beside mom and dad. Walt acted too quickly.

Anne lay silently, pretending to be asleep, and also basking in the warmth of her family. It was so nice to be whole again. There were too many nights being alone while her husband was off on his quest. Thank goodness we're getting a rest from all of that, she pondered. Anne pressed in closer to get some of her husband’s warmth.

She drifted off into another world where the trees were short enough she could see over them. Anne was used to jokes about her shortness at 5' 2". In her dreams mosquitoes were nonexistent, and fairies came out of the woods and cooked each meal.

It was a time of bliss, at least for now.

And to think, there was a whole week of this.

Earlier this very same morning, a sound had disturbed Danny. It sure was different being here in Truro. In fact the house seemed rather small compared to the one owned by the Lapointes. And their hobby farm must have at least 15-20 acres.

In the rural area, near Lunenburg where he had lived, sounds in the night were quite different. Wind and lightning mingled with owls and early morning tractors.

It was quiet here, at least until the sound of a siren went by. Police? Ambulance? Danny wasn't sure.

The sound that awakened him must be from the cat. And yet it was more like a tapping. His stocking feet slid noiselessly onto the hardwood floor. He tiptoed to the window, peering through the blinds, annoyed at the intrusion.

It was the first time in two days he had been able to rest. Staying up all night hitchhiking from Lunenburg to Truro was tiresome. Now he needed every opportunity to sleep.

Danny discovered a large branch was the reason for the ruckus. It was being pushed by a restless wind causing it to scrape against pane and vinyl. He wished he had a hatchet or hand saw. Then he could go outside, climb the tree and cut off the offending problem. Maybe even throw a stick of dynamite at it.

Can't snooze around here with that racket. He gave the wall a kick, fists clenching and unclenching. He hated it when his sleep was disturbed.

Cold feet coaxed him back to his temporary bed. A thought nagging at his mind pointed him downstairs. Something he noticed when he first arrived had to be checked out.

Moon-glare shone through the window and landed on a family picture hanging in the living room. It must be same one he had seen earlier. Danny didn't dare turn on an inside light, or even use his flashlight.

Inside the darkened room, he could barely make out features of a man, woman and three children. There were two boys and a girl. The adults must be their parents. A familiar looking face stared back at him and recognition flooded across his face.

It was like a wake-up slap that caught his immediate attention. A painful feeling worked its way up his side. The sensation caused him to search that face more thoroughly. The man’s similar nose construction and high cheekbones seemed to look directly at him. Almost like saying, "Hi Danny, finally we get to meet. I'm your father."

It’s him.

After all this time, that's what he looks like.

The boy reached up, grabbed the large framed photo and sent it crashing against the wall. Balled fists rubbed harshly against his bare legs. "I hate you, forever," he muttered as he headed back upstairs.

Just maybe he'll catch some Zed’s this time.

And fourteen year old Danny dreams about a dad he never met.

*

And not so far away, Larry also dreams. Perhaps there is a bond of unsettling spirits between Danny and himself. A boy searches for memory from the depths of anger. And a man seeks answers from his past.

*

Andrew Delaney was having a ball skate boarding on the asphalt beside Truro Legion Stadium. The space had been provided by the town's Department of Recreation. Several park benches and garbage receptacles were also donated.

Other groups of skateboarders had pitched in and built several wooden ramps. Some of the angles were quite steep and novices trying them were literally putting their physical health at risk.

Right now an audience of young children, a dozen skateboarders and Sam cheered Andrew on. He felt the sun's warmth on his back as he flipped and dipped with what looked like impossible moves.

This is what he lived for. The cheers, the clapping and a huge smile from Sam.

Besides, everyone liked his orange dyed hair.

Not far away, Deputy-Chief Trent Delaney watched from his unmarked patrol car. He had another meeting but needed to see his son for a few moments. Andrew hadn't phoned home lately nor even visited his father.

Trent hated to head home after his day’s work was finished. There wasn’t much to go home to anymore. In spite of his son's looks and behavior, the boy was still his son. And he was loved very much. But, how to convince him to come home where he belonged?

Trent sure missed him.