Our Echo
Title, story type, location, year, person or writer
 
Add a Post
View Posts
Popular Posts
Hall of Fame
Projects
Visitors
Contests
Search

Run Danny, Run Chapters 15&16

Story ID:11458
Written by:Richard Laurent. Provencher (bio, contact, other stories)
Organization:Retired
Story type:Fiction
Location:Truro Nova Scotia Canada
Year:2017
Person:Esther and Richard Provencher
View Comments (0)   |   Add a Comment Add a Comment   |   Print Print   |     |   Visitors
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 FIFTEEN AND SIXTEEN CONTINUE IN THE NOVEL BY ESTHER AND RICHARD PROVENCHER

CHAPTER FIFTEEN

Deputy-Chief Delaney received a frantic phone call patched through to his radio, from Andrew. At first he didn’t believe it was really his son.

"Daddy, it's about Sam. You have to come. I'm at her house. Quick."

His son always called him "Daddy," when he was frightened. Perhaps this was not the time to turn on his siren, but he did hit the gas.

When Trent’s Police car pulled into Sam's driveway, it was 6 PM. No other vehicle was parked there. He slid out of the seat and ran to the door just as his son answered. Andrew didn't have those spikes anymore. His hair was combed to the side just the way his mother had liked. But there was no time for conversation as he listened.

"I got a call from Sam," Andrew said hurriedly. "I think she had an overdose, dad. Hurry up, I'll show you where she is."

"How do you know, son?"

“Dad, come on. I’ve seen it before,” the boy answered. "She told me her parents aren't home. They never are dad. They always buy her things to make up for it, but she isn't happy."

"Did you phone for an ambulance?"

"Not yet. She doesn't want me to. Sam says this isn't the first time she tried it."

Father and son entered the affluent home. It was supposed to be a place where a fourteen-year old girl had everything. Yet nothing seemed important to her at this moment.

Sam lay on her stomach on the bed. She was wearing a white top, and jeans. She looked like she had cut her hair, with a bread knife. Strands were sticking out in all directions. The last time Trent had seen her she had the most beautiful long ponytail.

Did she have some kind of spat with her parents? He wondered.

Sam gave Trent a weak pixie smile. Sitting on the floor with her back against the wall was another girl.

"Are you a friend?" Trent asked.

"Yes. Sam asked Andrew to call me too."

Trent turned his full attention towards a moaning Sam. "How are you feeling?"

"Not so good. I took 60 arthritic pills. I counted each one out as I took them. And I found 20 other pills---me kind of ‘relaxo’ pills my parents use. She sounded sleepy. “I'm so hot,” Sam said.

Officer Trent turned down the electric heat, which had been turned up so high making the room too stuffy. He checked her vital signs then called an ambulance on his radio. "Keep talking to her," he said to Andrew and Sam's friend. “Keep her sitting up, help is on the way." There was nothing more they could do.

"Dad, she's been like this for an hour. She kept trying to get up, then flopping on the bed. She really didn't want me to call anyone, except her parents. Couldn’t find them anywhere. I phoned all over. Dad, I really tried. Then I had to call you."

Trent looked at his son. He hadn’t called him “Dad” for a long time. “Dude” and “Hey You,” but not “Dad.” Andrew had even spoken without hateful words and cursing exiting his mouth, like a foul river. Not even once. Trent was impressed.

"Why? Why?" Andrew kept asking Sam. "I thought you were my special girl." Then the answer smacked him right between the eyes. Their spat earlier in the day made him realize how much he must have meant to her.

He remembered saying she meant nothing to him, that there were plenty of other chicks. She had simply decided to do something about it in her own scary way.

Trent noticed how thunderstruck his son was. To see him care for someone else was touching. He began to phone around trying to locate Sam's parents. Silly girl, he thought. She’s so pretty too. Except right now she looks like a boy with her hair all chopped off.

He looked thoughtfully at her bedroom wall covered with pictures of a rock group called, Poison.

Then she threw up and sent everyone scurrying to help.

As if on cue the ambulance arrived and two Emergency Health Care specialists rushed to her side.

Sam's parents added to the commotion by hurrying through the door along with their younger son. "What's going on? Sam! Are you hurt honey? Her father said."

It took only a few brief moments to bring Sam's parents up to date. "We'll follow her to the hospital," they said. Her father held out his hand to Trent. "Thanks," was all he could say through his tears.

"Don't thank me," Trent answered. "Thank my son. I can see he really cares about your daughter."

*

Later that night, the phone rang in Deputy-Chief Delaney's office. It was a habit of his lately since there wasn’t much reason to be home.

"Dad?" It was Andrew. "Okay if I come home? I’m sorry for being such a jerk."

"Better still," the man answered wiping away sudden tears. "I'll pick you up in five minutes." Trent left the Police Station with a song in his heart.

CHAPTER SIXTEEN

The campfire tonight added a special topping to everyone’s overnight adventures. Walt rushed around getting all the right type of firewood. He was proud to show off his wood lore because of dad's training.

The boy made sure small twigs snapped between his fingers. It proved their dryness. Larger pieces were needed to create a glowing bed of coals for their steaks. His imagination began to soar as he wondered if he and dad could go moose hunting this autumn. It would be neat to have steaks every day.

"Walt? Are you getting the firewood? It's a bit chilly out."

"Coming dad." He was going to build the best fire anyone could ever have. And no one was going to be chilly.

After toasting hotdogs and marshmallows, drinking hot chocolate, they listened to more stories about each other’s overnight adventures. Following much laugher, they all turned in. At least the children did. Susan's heavy eyes caused her to be carried to the comfort of her sleeping bag.

Walt also drifted off to sleep and needed to be awakened and led to his corner space inside the tent trailer.

After making sure the children were comfortably settled in bed both adults returned to the closing sparks of their campfire.

"So bring me up to date once more on what's happening," Anne asked.

Larry gave her every detail. About the Police call, the break-in and mysterious message.

"Now what do you think "Payback" means?" he asked.

"It must be Danny," She nodded to herself. "Actually, it sounds ominous. Do you think he’s looking for us?"

"If he is, then maybe we should go home," Larry said, alarm in his voice.

"No,” Anne said emphatically. “How would he even know we’re out here? If he’s hanging around Victoria Park, maybe he wants to talk.” Anyway, let the Police and Children's Aid do the worrying. We're on vacation, remember?"

Reluctantly Larry followed her into the darkness of the trailer. He kissed each sleeping child's forehead and climbed into his and Anne's double sleeping bag.

They snuggled up really close.

Somewhere out there, his son was looking for him.

Larry wondered if the boy knew he was here.

*

"DAAADYY!" Susan repeated, rubbing sleepy eyes then rolling forward like a little fullback. Her head launching into Larry’s midsection was a surefire way to wake him up first thing in the morning.

"Ooomph! What is it precious?"

"Get up daddy."

"Honey, what time is it?"

“Mommy says it’s almost six o’clock.”

"You want to get up right now? It's still dark out. Why don't you leave daddy alone and go back to sleep. He’s really tired."

"It’s still dark outside because your eyes are closed. Daddy, I heard somebody outside our trailer last night," Susan said as a matter of fact. Now she had her daddy’s attention.

"Someone outside our trailer last night?" Walt repeated.

"Are you sure?" Larry asked.

"Yes, I heard bushes moving."

"Must have been raccoons. They like to sniff around, especially if humans like us left any snacks after our campfire last night. I'm sure they munched on a few marshmallows that fell on the ground."

"Something else happened when you were gone. That's why mommy made sure we stayed in all night. We even had to pee in a pot."

"What happened when I was gone?" Larry’s attention was on full alert. Just then he saw Anne motioning with her fingers. Later, her message said.

Walt sleepily pushed past him and headed outside to their homemade latrine. "Got some paper?" Larry asked. No answer. It seems when you're eleven ablutions are not open for discussion.

There was no maybe about it. Larry, Anne and Susan decided it was time to get up. Now that they were fully awake they became aware of morning's chill. Heads burrowed one last time into their sleeping bags before changing into warm clothing.

Anne was first to be dressed. Soon the coffee pot was on and Larry came alive as the aroma drifted in his direction.

Later, with breakfast finished and the children playing chess in the dining room tent, she showed Larry a scratched-in message on the back of the trailer.

There it was again, a simple statement. "Payback."



Danny was observing them from his hidden shelter. It was uncanny how well protected he was. He could watch the family below as if they were an ant colony. Each had their regular spot around the campsite. It was the type of family-togetherness missing in his life.

The little girl swinging her arms and singing to herself seemed to be quite happy. She looked pretty from here. What was she like up close? Probably had a scar on her face or something. And the man and woman held each other as if they were in love. He had never seen such a public display of smooching before.

Danny wondered how sincere it was, probably just showing off in front of the kids, as if they meant it.

His own background was filled with shouting and shoving. Angry shouting and crying himself to sleep was his usual display of emotion. Watching the group below made him jealous, since he had missed out on the simple pleasures of life.

They were in for it now, all of them. He'd show them. Wait 'til the man finds out his car tires were slit, and the trailer's, too. One step at a time was his philosophy. Take it slow. He couldn't wait to try out his other plans. The boy's face clouded over with memory. Somewhere in the distant past there was an angelic face.

It once belonged to a little boy named Danny.

Now it was filled with revenge.

*

The shooting began around ten o'clock, just about when everyone was ready to go in for a nice swim. It was a nasty interruption since the family had taken a while to convince each other a refreshing dip would give them a good lift.

At first one shot sounded, then another. And another. The continuing barrage made it seem as if it was hunting season. The whine and ricochet of bullets could be heard as saplings interfered with the direction of the tiny missiles. The sharp “P-POWS!” were more than a little disturbing. They seemed to be close to the Reynolds campsite.

Larry couldn’t believe anyone would wish to disturb any of the peace within the forest. "What do you think is going on?" he asked.

"Maybe poachers," Anne responded shielding her eyes from the sun, trying to spot the offender.

"Well, I wish they'd go somewhere else," he muttered. For goodness sakes, his family was all here. They were on their holidays. “For crying out loud.” He reached in the corner of the trailer for his jeans, searching his pockets for car keys.

Should he get his cellular from the front seat and call the police? He felt chilled. Something wasn't right. The shots had stopped for now but they had already disturbed his family. Couldn't whoever it was know they were simply trying to spend some time together?

He was going to have to speak to Mrs. Cipek about this. Perhaps she gave someone permission to do a little target practice. She’d better have good reasons for allowing this nonsense, he thought.

Three more shots came in quick succession. Their explosive whines echoed loudly, continuing to shatter the quietness of what started out to be a terrific day.

A duck took flight, his “whicker-whicker” of wings scooting in case he was the next target. Nature had a way of providing an inner instinct for survival, even if it wasn't time for September’s hunting season. Anxious flapping carried the fowl to a safer bay across the lake.

"It's a .22 rifle, dad."

"How do you know Walt?"

"Don’t you remember last hunting season? You taught me how to fire your .22 single shot. It has a short ‘pop---pop’ sound."

"Just checking, sport. Just checking. And you're right. It is a .22 and shouldn't be fired in this area. Sounds quite loud when everything is still. I'm going to see what's going on."

"No, don't daddy---please," Susan whimpered beside him.

"It's okay sugar, don't worry. I need to take a walk over to Mrs. Cipek's and see whether she has any other campers around. Sometimes people do strange things for kicks. Like set off firecrackers or something to scare people. And right now, I'm a little nervous. I don't want anyone firing in this direction, that's all."

A .22 has a danger range of up to one mile," Walt said rather proudly.

"It's okay son. I don't think anyone wants to hear that right now."

"Susan’s right, you know," Anne interrupted. "Stay here with us. It might be better to simply wait out who's doing this. No sense getting into a huge row with everyone getting upset. We may as well go for a nice canoe ride. Forget the swim for now. Let’s keep our bathing suits on. We can get wet later."

"Great idea," Larry said. "Not only would it be fun but also take our minds off this nonsense. Listen, the shooting's stopped."

Larry knew Anne was right. Everyone cuddled close. Walt was trembling as he wrapped his arms around his father and placed his head on Larry’s chest. Anne pulled in close and did the same with each child for comfort. It was a long time before she could feel her own steady breathing.

Anne closed her eyes and relaxed within the circle of her family.

God help anyone who dared to scare or hurt any of her loved ones. She vowed they would have to deal with one angry bear of a mother.

She quickly decided if they were heading out on the lake a good meal was in order. It was almost time to get dinner on the table anyways.

"Everybody sit down in the dining room tent and don't move. Just watch me put a nice meal together." Coffee was soon on and bacon and eggs were quickly added to the menu. "Look, the sun says it’s still going to be a great day," she called to her three quiet campers. "And the lake is just like glass.”

“Great day for canoeing," Larry added.

Everyone agreed.

Just then two loons began their calling. Their sounds ascended the staircase of early morning light, and rose through the mist in triumph. A new day was officially announced.

"Come on kids, you too Larry-slowpoke, brunch is ready."

"But mom," Walt protested, "I'm not really hungry. Susan and I already had breakfast.

"Cold cereal and a banana is just a tease. You're going to need something decent for the paddling ahead of us. Now, quiet. Eat." And they did, every morsel. After all, mother bear had spoken.

After the satisfaction of filling up, Anne 's orders were fast and furious. "Lifejackets! Let's go! Maybe whoever was causing the commotion a while ago will be up and gone by the time we get back." The next fifteen minutes were spent preparing both canoes for their escape from unsettling noisy memories.

In a way, it felt like they were retreating from an unknown situation. Larry didn't like it one little bit. He would certainly speak to Mrs. Cipek about this later. Maybe he should even ask her to call the police if she doesn't know anything about it.

*

Not far away, wary eyes watched. Danny was anxious to see if his shooting at a nearby stump would unsettle the family. And it worked. He had made sure he aimed in the opposite direction, away from their campsite.

After all, he wasn't a monster. Besides, it would be terrible if anyone got shot accidentally. He would never do that.

His whole being vibrated with excitement a wicked smile crossing his face as he nodded. He had figured it just about right. It took only fifteen shots to spook them. Now was the time to put the rest of his plan into action. He wrapped his .22 in a blanket, and slung it under his shoulder.

*

Larry and Walt were in the green canoe, Larry’s favorite color. Anne and Susan were in the red one. As dad had instructed, backpacks were fastened to the thwarts, along with laced-together sneakers, socks inside. Shorts, jeans, snacks and other miscellaneous items had been placed in each pack.

At first, it was cool in their swimsuits and bare feet. But the warm sun quickly warmed their 14’ fiberglass canoes.

"If we tip," Larry said, "our gear is secure. But hang onto your paddles."

Walt and Susan new from previous practices their lifejackets could easily keep them afloat. Like dad said, "If you fall out of the canoe, all you'll get is wet."

Susan wasn't afraid of tipping over. She knew mommy was good at paddling and a good swimmer too. At least she was as good as daddy. Their canoeing soon turned into a race across the water.

Temporarily forgotten were previous shooting noises from the mainland. Out here on the open water there was bliss. The breeze pushed them along making their paddling much easier.

Susan and Anne were anxious to explore the little island, which had intrigued them after the tales shared by Walt. Right now seemed to be the perfect time.

"How come you keep looking back all the time, daddy?" Susan yelled. She was always quick to pick up on any tension. Susan was constantly on alert for an opportunity to play the role of peacemaker or even troubleshooter. Sometimes Larry wished she would simply act her age. And just be a little girl with her cute ponytail.

"Well sugar, I keep thinking something bad might have happened if we stayed at the campsite and---"

"You shouldn't put ideas in her head," his wife admonished, from her canoe a few feet away.

"I'm trying to be as honest as I can with her, dear."

Anne was quite concerned. She knew it wasn't Larry’s nature to run away from anything. He simply wanted to see what was going on nearby, although it frightened her at the time. She felt the need to speak up and not allow fear be given any room to take over this trip. Call it woman's tuition, or whatever. At least they were away from the campsite, for now.

Their paddling swung into a nice cadence. Anne and Susan moved swiftly ahead, their bow cutting deftly through little side waves. Larry and Walt picked up their speed, catching up to them in a few moments. Then both groups rested, paddles across their gunnels, and looked around while enjoying this little breather.

"Mom! It's really a neat little island." Walt said proudly. "Now you'll see where dad and I camped out last night. We parked our tent over there between those rocks."

Larry dipped his paddle, maneuvering his canoe into the lead. He was quite pleased how well his son handled his bow position, always alert for hidden rocks ahead. Walt also knew enough not to change paddling sides without checking with dad.

He had been taught a ‘sterns-man’ was like a foreman. In order to get the best balance and flow of movement, Walt had to paddle not too deeply, but regularly and simply enjoy the exercise. One day soon, and with a little more practice, he too could be a foreman.

Traveling a quarter mile distance from the mainland didn’t seem to take very long. Now everyone's attention was drawn to a small cove. It was well protected within a section of rock and trees looming in front of them.

Larry’s eyes hunted across the humped terrain, fringed with trees perhaps fifteen or twenty feet tall. They seemed to provide a respite for anyone needing to settle down for a spell. And their tired arms agreed this was a perfect time to catch their breath.

At least Larry needed a long break. He had overdone it a bit, trying to prove how good a canoeist he was. His "power paddling" as he bragged to his son was definitely hard work.