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Run Danny, Run novel Chapters 9&10

Story ID:11452
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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CHAPTERS NINE AND TEN CONTINUE THE NOVEL RUN DANNY, RUN BY ESTHER AND RICHARD PROVENCHER.

CHAPTER NINE

Sizzling sounds escaped from a frying pan on their Coleman stove. The scent of bacon and eggs stirred sleepy bodies into movement.

"Oohs” and “Aahs" drifted from sleeping bags and the air suddenly filled with activity. After sliding into jeans and warm pullovers, Walt and Susan poked their heads from the trailer. The air was crisp and allowed their breaths to float as misty clouds with words descending on mom and dad.

"Yikes!! It's freezing!!" punctuated the stillness of the woods. Years later they would cherish the delicious recipe of such a morning.

The children had little time for speaking any further. Their parents were smiling as they waited with breakfast, nodding at each sleepy-eyed child with a bright, “Hi kids. Have a good snooze?”

Walt and Susan were so famished they could barely speak. Hunger was slaked, by placing this delicious breakfast into hungry tummies. Now, they felt alive again and able to join the human race.

"Mom, you're the greatest," came first from Walt.

Lean and agile, young and spry Anne thought as she gazed fondly at her boy turning into a man. She remembered his nights of sleepwalking and tortured dreams he later shared with her, not so long ago. Of wild animals chasing him up a tree and once he was sure a bear was crunching his bones.

A story of fear from her little boy was hard on a mother who had such an abundance of love. Now look at him, pajama bottoms overlapping the waistline of his jeans, a tee shirt flapping loosely over bony shoulders. But his blue eyes were penetrating and full of life.

“Go get a jacket or a sweater on,” she said.

Anne turned to gather in the view of her youngest. Susan was prepared for the cool morning with her heavy pullover and track pants. She was busy dipping toast in the egg yolk. "Yum...yum" was her signal for more. Anne accommodated her.

And Larry also sat quietly soaking up the atmosphere, his meal untouched. Anne knew weighty thoughts clambered for attention. She blew him a kiss and he rewarded her with a grin, giving a thumbs-up.

It was noticed by the children, their faces growing wider as they joined the family circle with their own thumbs up.

This was the first day of a well-deserved holiday. It was just as Anne had planned, family and fun. Now here they were. She stretched with satisfaction on the lawn chair, listening to tidbits of conversation. Words rose above morning's heavy dew. Her smile overcame the eerie mist that caroused with an early sun as the yolk of bright yellow stretched across an eastern horizon.

"Look! Way over there, loons!"

"No, they're ducks," said Susan.

"Dad? Aren't they loons?" Walt shaded his eyes with both hands, hoping he was right.

"I think they are ducks," his sister insisted.

Anne knew Larry was the outdoorsman, the wise one.

"Their flapping is too quick. Besides loons only travel in pairs." He shrugged his shoulders at Walt. "Sorry."

Sounds from far off were now distinguishable. They were ducks.

"Aren't there any loons around?" Walt persisted. He wanted to learn everything he could about the outdoors. It had taken more than a few trips into the woods to get over his fear of the unknown.

He now knew no animal was interested in ripping off his flesh. Although he still wasn't allowed to watch scary TV programs. Larry coming into his life had helped settle the boy down and now Walt really enjoyed the outdoors.

"Do you know how to imitate a loon, dad?" Walt asked.

"No, but I promise you'll hear them later, for sure, tonight. Then you'll have the privilege of listening to the most beautiful sounds in the woods."

Walt nodded. Whatever dad promised came to be. And he always held his dad to it too.

*

In the meantime Anne was making her way to the beach. The family seemed to be adjusting well to each other, especially being in such close proximity. Their trailer not very spacious.

Back home there was, too often, word fencing between the children, each jealous of any attention the other received.

Here they seemed to accept limited living space while learning to enjoy the outdoors. After all they were a fair distance from any town, or other human contact. Unnecessary competition was not part of the agenda.

Their campsite was ideal, with much needed privacy. No other campers had come by perhaps because the condition of the campground was not encouraging for visitors. Besides, the owner Mrs. Cipek preferred to keep to herself. The few short visits made by the Reynolds family to say hello were rebuffed. It was probably well enough to leave her alone.

Anne shifted her gaze towards the carefree 'shussh' of waves, slapping quietly yet forcefully against the rocky shore. Looking back towards the campsite she noticed their hardtop trailer was almost hidden from sight. She knew the children were in safe hands with Larry.

They promised each other back at the house to make sure one adult would always be with the children. After all, this was the wild forest. No sense worrying, but you never know what might saunter by.

Their camper was set up approximately fifteen feet from the dining room tent and close to the water. This allowed them to be handy to what passed for a beach. At the same time they were able to take advantage of the refreshing breezes. Anne learned from Larry that black flies did not like the wind, which was fine with her.

Fly repellent was available, just in case. It felt good to be here, almost in isolation, as if they were the only people left in civilization.

Anne slipped quietly from the chattering and the cacophony of receding voices. She tightened the sweater thrown over her shoulders and waded through ferns grasping at her jeans. She felt comfortable here. It was so peaceful. Her family appeared quite content, enjoying their escape from the hubbub of Truro.

It almost seemed the ‘ups and downs’ of looking for Danny was a distant dream. In fact, it was more like a distant memory. This was a time to be selfish and forget about the boy. If he didn't want to meet them or be part of their lives, then so be it. As the movie said, “Hasta la vista, baby.”

She could feel the aroma from the trees stroking her senses. Anne had come to enjoy the elements of nature she knew Larry needed regularly. It was his escape. And now, finally, all of them were here, together.

Well, not quite. Roy wasn't here. A real shame, she thought. He too loved the outdoors.

She closed her eyes and saw his freckled face. If only he wasn't so hurt and disappointed about the breakup. She wished he were here right now, looking across the lake with his mom. Anne wished she could remind him how much she loved him. She hadn't had much of a chance to tell him lately.

Maybe Roy' father would bring him for a short visit, perhaps stay long enough for a swim. Or join them at a campfire, with hotdogs and marshmallows. He'd like that. He's almost like Danny, a missing part of the family. She wondered what both of them were doing this very minute.

Watching from the shore she saw what looked like a collection of rocks spread out upon the surface of Economy Lake.

"It's really an island, dear."

At first Larry’s voice startled her. But his warm embrace from behind was soothing. Strong arms wrapped around her, and his soft kiss on her neck took away any shivers she had picked up standing alone.

"Remember last summer? I promised to take Walt camping on a little island, someday. Well, you're looking at it.” Mrs. Cipek told me it used to be occupied by an old trapper who spent the winter there. He must have been a recluse---"

"Or a fool," Anne interrupted. “Who would want to live on that speck of land?”

"Mrs. Cipek says it’s much larger than seen from here. Apparently he used to have his food flown in. It was way before the gravel highway was built alongside this lake.” He smiled as he kissed her. “Just thought I'd throw in a bit of history."

"I still find it hard to believe anyone would want to live on that little piece of rock. Is it really an island?" Anne asked.

"Yes. From here it does look tiny, especially with the mist obscuring the view. But up close it's large enough for a whole family of tents and really great to camp on. That is, according to Mrs. Cipek. Actually what you see can easily fool you. Her topographical map shows a second much larger island right behind it.

Can't see it from here though. Want to try a little overnight there? I've got our pup tent, for just the two of us. Sound great?"

"No way. I'm perfectly happy with the nice comfortable beds in the trailer. Thank you very much. Besides, what about the kids?"

"They're old enough to survive one night by themselves," Larry said, arching his eyebrow. “In fact they’re alone right now.”

"You're a real tease. And I am tempted."

"Maybe we could all jump in the canoes and explore the shoreline around the islands. It's probably a mile around," he said.

Then reality set in. From across the air the sound of another disagreement---

"Mommm!! Susan won't give me any more toast. Come on, just one more."

"You already had six, that's too much. Mommm! Walt is being a big piggy!"

Anne moved gracefully, if you would call it that, pushing away a few willows. They whipped and pulled at her sweater. “The great outdoors brings out the best in people,” she laughed, heading towards the commotion. What a family, she chuckled. Two of her children were squabbling nearby. Another stubborn one lived in Halifax and a phantom one recently ran away from a perfectly good home.

"Okay. What's the story?" she asked. It was hard not to laugh out loud, watching Susan and Walt making faces at each other. "I wonder who's got the longest tongue?" she asked. "Now if only I had a ruler."

The children got the message. They closed their mouths and scooted off together. Maybe this was the right time to have a contest skipping flat stones across the lake.

Anne spent the next while focusing on how to enjoy their week together at this isolated campsite. Mrs. Cipek thoughtfully had the campsite grass mowed and the land tidied up. It was also kind of her to give permission for the Reynolds’s to camp so close to the water.

"At no charge," Mrs. Cipek had said. "If you don't mind the extras missing."

There was no working pump and they soon discovered the lavatory was an isolated outhouse a hundred feet away. A door with rusty hinges threatened to fall off during the usual human rituals. "Roughing-it" was something they plAnne ed on anyways. Larry said they could survive without extra services. How true. This was nature at its best. Anne was determined to have a good time, even if those pesky mosquitoes tried to drive her insane.

She now had it figured out. Repellent was designed to attract bugs, not repel them.

"Okay, time to get organized. Walt! Susan! Dishes! Where are you?"

"What about me?

"You too," Anne said as she linked arms with her husband.

A great big morning hug and a long kiss established the first rule of the day. Love at work. Now, where were those kids?

Amazing how they disappear just before chores, she mused.

*

Walt heard dad calling but felt compelled to continue sitting on a log beside the shore staring out over Economy Lake. His excited eyes shone in fascination taking in all the sights.

He noticed everything. That swirl of clouds, were dancing just for him. Peeking sunshine managed to cover part of his bare leg and the slapping from gentle waves provided a peaceful kind of music. Larry had taught him to carefully listen to sounds within the woods. Now he was enjoying himself following dad's instructions.

Although still a young boy, Walt had this empathy with people and animals. Once he tried to outstare his cat. They sat for at least ten minutes until Walt figured out what was going on. The animal wasn't trying to outdo him.

JC was simply curious and was observing the way Walt’s hair was slicked back, and the curve of his chin. Even the way Walt swaggered when he felt good about something was the cat’s observation.

The boy closed his eyes and allowed the natural silence around him to cover his wiry frame. He was like his cat, absorbing everything around him.

His bare feet felt the coolness of the lapping water. He listened carefully to the piping melody from a chickadee as it called to him. Camping and just resting like this was awesome. Coming here was turning into a neat holiday.

Walt wondered how the Scouts were doing.

Then reality wrestled its way into his thoughts. Pleasant images were clouded by the possibility of another boy coming into the family picture. It brought a scowl to his face. Danny . The very name caused an anxious feeling to jiggle in his chest.

If that kid was here right now, he thought. "Scram!" escaped from his lips. Walt looked around rather sheepishly. Did anyone hear him? They might think he was, "Duhh." He glanced down at his fishing gear. He almost forgot, it was the call of the open water and the possibility of catching a "big one" that brought him to the shore.

He carefully checked over his collection of spinners. Red and white as well as yellow and green combinations suggested he had an arsenal to fool any rainbow trout. Did fish actually get tricked just because he offered them a variety of colors and shapes?

Some of his lures had feathers and hooks. Better bait might be one of the two-dozen juicy looking dew worms he collected from their lawn a few nights ago.

Dad taught him how to catch them. "Use the edge of a flashlight beam," Larry had said. "And look for their stretched out bodies on top of the soil. Then grab them before they get away!"

Larry would then pinch his son on the arm and the two of them would wrestle and tumble around on the living room floor.

Walt really loved his dad. He was more like a pal, or an older brother like Roy. Except Roy wasn't around much. He spent most of his time in Halifax and hardly came to visit anymore. Maybe if Walt had paid more attention to Roy, Larry wouldn't be so interested in another son.

Most of the time Walt called him, "Dad," instead of Larry. His new dad liked that. “Dad, when are we going fishing? Dad, I'm going to catch the biggest, hugest, monster fish in this lake!" Walt liked to say the “Dad” word and act out his statements. Maybe one day he'd even hitchhike to Hollywood and become an actor and be famous...

"Whom are you talking to, son?"

Walt almost fell into his pile of lures and hooks scattered around his legs. "You scared me.

Were you listening?"

"Sorry and yes."

"Dad?"

"That's me."

"Want to fish?"

"Right now?"

"Yup."

"First, dishes, then fishing. Didn't you hear me calling?"

"I know, but it was so nice and quiet. Not like the noisy Friday traffic in Truro. I had to stay a while longer." Walt continued to stare across the water, his head tilted at an angle, as if wanting to ask a question. "Ok dad. Work first."

Later they did go fishing.

*

How come some dads never spend enough time with their sons before they grow up? Walt wondered. Like watching baseball games, or going fishing like Larry does with him. Sometimes it was important for just the two of them to be together. Good for me my dad does, the boy thought.

Walt stood on the old wharf, fishing rod in his hand. Squinting eyes scanned a parade of waves rolling in against the shore. His hand lifted back in a long gentle arc, then swung forward. He released his thumb from the control, watching the monofilament line streak across the lake’s surface. Plop of lure, shiny along the bottom, then retrieval. No fish this time.

But, it felt good to know dad was standing beside him, watching.

After all, he did teach his son to do it just right.

The man was so proud of his new son. Goose bumps on Larry’s neck rippled as he admired the lean young man a short distance away. Walt was growing so straight and tall in his blue and white t-shirt and GWG jeans. Dark brown hair was blowing in the wind.

My very own son, Larry thought. And I love him so much.

Is there room for another child in our home? He wondered.

CHAPTER TEN

A Truro Police car arrived shortly after the call came into the station. "Around 1 AM. Mrs. Larkin said she had seen a light come on next door," Officer Tufts said to his partner. "Apparently she's the party responsible for keeping an eye on the house. You know---pick up the mail, feed the cat---that sort of thing."

Lately other occurrences had been happening in the Victoria Park area. This time last year there was a fire at the Kinsman food booth. They couldn't take a chance some prowler or arsonist was hanging around. It was their duty "To Serve and Protect," and when the call came in to the dispatcher, a quick visit by the constables was in order.

The Reynolds’s had also previously notified Police Services before leaving for their holidays. "Smart thinking," the officers had agreed as they raced to the premises.

Officer Tufts was anxious to use their new secret weapon. Shep, a two-year old Police dog, was a reliable ‘sniffer’ now attached to their Canine Services Division. If any unwanted guests were here, he'd flush them out. The dog was definitely a potent addition to their arsenal against crime.

Mrs. Larkin was waiting in the driveway and nervously unlocked the Reynolds’s front door. Then Shep eagerly entered the supposedly empty premises. It was the practice of the enforcement agency to allow the dog into the home first. One officer waited outside as backup while the other paused a few minutes, before following Shep into the house.

*

Danny found a topographical map on top of a pile of papers in the living room. Scattered about were other brochures on Cape Breton and New Brunswick. And left behind on the kitchen table was a Nova Scotia road map.

An orange highlighter marker outlined a highway journey. It led from Truro to Bass River, then turned north on a secondary road to Economy Lake. This was a great find and confirmed what the paperboy had said. The map pointed to the family’s destination, and what might be their camping spot on the western side of Economy Lake.

Danny calculated it should be no problem hitching rides that far, since it looked to be only about 50 miles west of Truro. A piece of cake he thought, since he had just come an easy 100 miles from Lunenburg.

Arriving here had seemed too simple. While standing at the side of the road he had tried looking serious sometimes, then happy. You had to pick a variety of faces. There was no telling what demeanor would convince any driver to stop. Three “hitch-hikes” later, he was on the outskirts of Truro. His last ride passed exit #13 then let him get off at #14 right beside the Comfort Inn.

Good thing the driver pulled off here the boy thought, otherwise he would have kept going all the way to Amherst.

Now he formulated new traveling plans, this time towards Economy Lake. His breakfast included half a dozen toasts with molasses and a can of peaches. Drinking the sweet juice reminded him of the time he received a week's grounding for snatching a can of peaches. He couldn't even remember which foster home, there had been so many.

In a way it was exciting to be on the trail of his father. Danny walked the whole house from top to bottom, hoping to find anything useful. He was to find the small flashlight in the kitchen drawer. Had to be careful not to allow a flash to be seen from outside. He learned that at the Detention Center in London, Ontario. Cup the end with one hand, fingers controlling how much light escaped.

Danny checked out each child's room, library, letters from friends and the types of clothes they wore. He packed a couple of Walt 's shirts and a jacket, since they were about the same size. He knew the boy was 11 from a recent Birthday card and that Susan was almost seven. An unfinished letter from Anne Reynolds to Roy explained the other boy in the family picture.

Amazing what you could learn about a family from snooping around their house.

He was thorough. Nothing escaped his careful searching. Finally his packsack was organized and ready. He was rested and anxious to be off. Five o'clock was early enough before most people were up. Time to slip out the back door and fade away between the houses.

Then he could walk to the highway just outside of town and hitch a ride. The turnoff at Bass River would only be a short distance to the gravel road heading to Economy Lake. Those ten kilometers should be a breeze and he was eager to begin.

Tucked into his pocket was the letter never delivered to the dad he had never met. The letter was returned, address unknown. Danny had mailed it to the address where mom said his dad lived in northern Ontario. Guess he moved by that time. It was a simple letter with caring words, and at the time meant to link up with the father he never met.

Now the boy knew where the man lived. And, where he had gone camping with his family. They were strangers who had stolen his father.

The words Danny wrote years ago still sent a shiver through him. Pages from the past stirred up an angry feeling. When the boy was younger, he cried a lot for his father. Now it was going to be "payback-time." He wanted to make everyone sorry for all the bad times he had. He was going to meet his father on his terms, and not anyone else. Taking off from Lunenburg now made sense to him.

Last night as he lay half asleep on Walt's bed, Danny read his letter once more.

*

Everyone was playing RISK at the campsite when the cell phone rang. To hear Walt whine if he wasn’t winning made you think it was a real game of war. The interruption was welcomed. Now no one had to endure his ragging.

“Ringgg...ringgg..._ing.”

“Not fair, just ‘cause I’m winning,” Walt said.

“Don’t brag too much, the game’s not over yet.” Anne had a way of bringing children back to reality.

“Susan, wait until dad finishes with the phone before taking your turn. Okay?” Walt asked.

The look Anne gave Larry was not very positive. They both knew only an emergency situation would allow this call to be made. It was the agreement they had with Mrs. Larkin, or the Police.

“Must be about Danny,” he whispered in her ear as he rushed for the phone in the trailer. Suddenly the game wasn’t very important. He scooted the short distance from the dining room tent.

“Do you think it could be about Danny, mom? Someone tell him we’re here?”

“No Susan, he doesn’t have our number.”

‘”Probably the cops,” Walt butted in. He had a habit of wanting to make sure everyone knew he was around. And he wasn’t shy to state his opinion. “I’m psychic, you know.”

“Policemen, Walt. ‘Cops’ is rather rude.”

“Mom, all the kids at school---“

“I don’t care what the kids at school say.”

“Sorry.”

“Accepted, son.”

They could hear their father’s first words, as they traveled furiously across this peaceful place. “What the hell is going on!” he shouted.

Abandoning the Risk game, everyone rushed over to find out what was happening. It certainly didn’t sound like good news.

*

At first Mrs. Larkin was nervous when the police arrived. She didn’t wish to be a bother, especially with them so busy in their work. She hoped the Police didn’t think she was imagining things. She had considered it an honor to be asked by the Reynolds’s to keep an eye on their house.

It wasn't often she had taken to newcomers so quickly. They were a lovely couple. And they had two such mannerly children too. In fact it wasn't her usual habit to volunteer to help anyone these days, what with so much crime about. And now to think someone had maybe broken into these nice people's home.

What was the world coming to, anyways?

*

Now it was Larry’s turn to be disturbed by the news.

"Your neighbor, Mrs. Larkin phoned us this morning. It seems an intruder spent last night in the house---" continued Sergeant Mont from the Truro Police.

"---but nothing was taken or damaged, except for some food. And a family picture was smashed against the far wall in the living room. I have no idea why."

At the other end of the phone, Larry had good reason to wonder why. It was obvious Danny had found them. "Officer, you should speak with my Social Service's office in Truro. Ask for my supervisor, Mr. Maitland. Also please have him contact the CAS in Lunenburg. I think I know who did this."

Mrs. Larkin listened to the conversation on the other end and noticed her knuckles finally regain their pinkish tint of skin. She had squeezed them so tightly they were almost like two clumps of ice. She was sitting on a chair in the kitchen with JC in her lap.

In the excitement of the moment, no one seeped to be listening to her, except the cat purring away, fascinated with all the activity.

"The Reynolds’s left me in charge. I'm supposed to watch out for their cat, JC. Well, feed her, you know." It was a conversation she had already repeated several times to the police.

Sergeant Mont continued on the phone, "Yes, Shep from our Canine Unit discovered your old cat all too well. She gave the dog a clout on the nose before disappearing under the bed. She seems settled down now."

"Poor thing," Mrs. Larkin continued. She was pleased to be a comfort to JC. And the old cat continued her purring.

"Yes, she seems fine now," the officer said. "We'll keep you informed of any news or clues after we get back to the office and make our report. You should come down ASAP and check for any missing items. Probably call your Insurance people.”

Turning to Mrs. Larkin, the policeman said, "We have sort of a new agreement, ma'am. The Police are going to place a watch on this house, since it's now part of a crime scene. Also just in case the intruder returns."

"Do you think they'll come back?" Mrs. Larkin shrieked.

"Just a precaution, madam."

"Thank you for coming so soon officer. You know where I'll be, if you need me. Now I'm going to bring this beautiful cat to my house. You can tell that nice Mr. Reynolds before you hang up. Come with me JC old girl, and we'll look after you."

"And thank you for calling," both officers said before she left.

Then Sergeant Mont spoke quietly into the phone, "Curious about that message scotch-taped to the fridge door. We're not sure what to make of it. It’s on the same bond paper from your office. Say, this boy's not dangerous, is he?"

"What message?" Larry asked. His voice sounded tired and discouraged from about thirty miles away.

"I found you," Officer Tufts said into the phone. And it was signed, "Payback."

*
In the meantime phone lines were burning up between Truro, London and Lunenburg. How could a fourteen-year old boy be on the loose, with a .22 rifle in his possession?

What was more perplexing was the fact Danny had not been sent to the Youth Assessment Center in Truro. A judge had allowed the boy to be kept in a foster home, instead of being incarcerated at the secured facility.

Now the scene shifted to the Lunenburg CAS office. Executive Director, Mr. Ross Allen and his senior Casework Supervisor, Mrs. Dorothy Melon sat facing each other. A stack of files lay on the desk between them.

"How did this all happen?" Mr. Allen asked. He was not happy, not at all. “It should have been foreseen,” the man continued. “The boy was obviously experiencing some deep resentments and no one noticed?”

"Well, let's get back to this letter. It's a copy," Mrs. Melon said. "Danny insisted we give him back the original." Pulling it out of the file, she read:

Hi Dad,
I always wanted to meet you. I want to know everything about you. Mom says I look like you, so you must be pretty handsome. Where do you work now? anyway, how are you? I'm fine I guess my school is okay I have an 74 avrage (I will need a math tuter) I am in grade 6 now. and my homeroom teacher is Mrs. Bishop, I don't like her very much. I don't have Very many friends, But my best freind is Jerod. He lives next door. We hang around alot and go to his house to play super nintondo (his dad is an achitect and his mom cleans the city hall) so he gets a lot of money. I wish mom had that kind of money. what do you do for fun? I like fancy car models. I put them together. But my Little Bratty sister nadia, ruins them when I leave them

*

"We don't know where he got the idea about the shoe store. He hadn't seen his mother since she gave him up at two," Mrs. Melon stated.

"What about the letter? Was it really just a school assignment and that was the topic he picked?" the man asked.

"Yes, it was quite a shock to his teacher. Mrs. Bishop felt awful, but thankfully had the courage to show it to her principal. They've released it for our files."

"And who is this sister? I thought there were no other siblings."

"There are none, sir. This boy, Danny, is known for his imagination. At times any statements of bravado were disregarded."

"Like threatening to run away?" Mr. Allen asked, disgust showing in his voice. "Maybe we should have taken his statements a little more seriously, now that I've seen his file."

"Yes sir."

"So you think he's really interested in this father of his?"

"Based on his case files and statements he made throughout his youth, yes. He's interested in finding his father."

"Then why this charade? Good grief, the boy was only hours away from meeting him."

"He must have panicked, sir. Something triggered bad memories. Perhaps there was something unsavory from the past. It could be he did suffer molestation, and he was ashamed his father might find out."

"So these accusations against one of his earlier foster parents had some foundation? I suppose it was never followed up."

"No sir. He did have his Annual physical check-up and there was nothing out of the ordinary. And the foster parents had impeccable references, one of our best homes. But we did move him to avoid any further flights of imagination."

"What else do you have?” Mr. Allen asked. He was known to be a very stern man and certainly not one to trifle with. At the moment his demeanor was quite upset at the attention this case was drawing from the 'Halifax bureaucrats.' Once their noses got involved, cases had a habit of getting screwed up. And then, someone would pay.

Mrs. Melon continued, "During his adoptive home stay there was never a younger sibling named, Nadia. However the school records show a Nadia, who used to be in grade four with him."
"And---?"

"You guessed it. He didn't get along well with her. Somehow it fixated on his mind. Danny seems to hold grudges a long time, Mr. Allen. We're dealing with a very troubled young man. He comes across as someone with an axe to grind."

As the facts began piling up the case became even more complicated to Mr. Allen’s way of thinking. "He could be dangerous," he added. “What if he’s out there somewhere looking for his father? Does the boy even know where he lives?”

"We think he does. Should we notify Mr. Reynolds about everything we know?" Mrs. Melon asked.

"Yes, it's time to disclose everything. No telling what this boy is capable of. Do you know he has a .22 rifle with him?

"Mrs. Melon was shocked. The concern showed through her tight-lipped concentration. She was not used to being put on the spot about a case, especially one from other jurisdictions. “A rifle?” she stammered.

"Better make sure everyone involved with this case is aware of it. We hoped to keep it confidential since getting pertinent details from Lunenburg. Apparently he's also an excellent shot."

Mr. Allen shook his head as he got up from his desk.

This meeting was over.