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Run Danny, Run novel Chapters 17&18

Story ID:11459
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 SEVENTEEN AND EIGHTEEN CONTINUE NOVEL RUN DANNY, RUN BY ESTHER & RICHARD PROVENCHER

CHAPTER SEVENTEEN

From the mainland a pair of eyes watched carefully through Larry’s binoculars. So that's good. Let them get away for a bit. It would give Danny time to check the whole campsite and figure out what new mischief was on the agenda.

He was startled for a moment by a sound and turned to look behind. Danny thought he had seen a tree branch move. Yes, something was there just down in the ravine about a hundred feet away.

The boy trained his binoculars on what looked like a dark shadow on the ground. Except it wasn't a smudge of darkness. It was a huge animal. Danny nervously shifted his weight onto his stomach.

Now he could easily see an awesome sized moose. No mistake about it. He had seen pictures of them in school and on TV. Except this one was real. It was just a short distance away and here he was, alone, with a huge beast in the wild woods. He read they could be real fearsome. Now huge antlers full of spikes turned towards him. This moose looked like the granddaddy of any picture he had ever seen.

The boy couldn’t help staring. Now he didn’t need the binoculars as the animal moved closer. It was magnificent, with long legs, a large head and a long muzzle. Danny remembered the long flap of skin hanging beneath its throat was called a "bell."

Now he knew why it was a good decision to move his center of operations to the old shack he found on the island. Yesterday Danny paddled there with his new treasure, an old cedar canoe hidden not far away. It obviously had been forgotten in a corner of one of the old buildings on the campsite property.

After sweating from a lot of dragging and puffing he managed to get the craft to shore. And now he had watery wheels.

The moose was nibbling on branches, but kept slowly moving in Danny’s direction. Good thing the wind was blowing towards the boy. If the animal caught his scent, it could easily be a scary situation.

The boy scrambled to pack the few things left to take. A hatchet, rope, and some leftover snacks completed his menu. He hoped the Reynolds's wouldn’t stumble on the old cabin like he did. Finding it was a lucky break since it wasn’t anywhere near the weed-grown trail on the island.

Last night's sleep there had been quite refreshing. Maybe he should have moved the rest of his gear yesterday.

The moose was tramping around and continuing to feed on leaves and twigs. Every once in a while it raised its head and sniffed the air, as if some unfamiliar scent bothered him. Danny knew it was time to go.

*

Larry met with Children's Aid Supervisor Sparkes. Her friends called her Cathy. Co-workers called her a tough nut. Right now they needed to share information on how to find this boy, and quickly too.

Some crucial facts had finally come in from Lunenburg, especially about the missing .22 rifle. And the scary thought was, this kid knew how to use it.

"Apparently, his foster dad, Mr. Lapointe had taken Danny hunting with him many times. And the boy often used a target practice area set up in their backwoods," the Sgt. said.

Adding to this growing concern was the report Sergeant Matthews had received from the CAS in Ontario. It stated Danny could pose a danger to himself and others, if in possession of a firearm. Under no circumstances was he to be allowed in any home where accessibility of any firearm was possible.

“So this sounds like misplaced trust by the Lapointes,” Sgt. Matthews said to Ms. Sparkes. "It certainly adds a new dimension to the situation," he said more to himself.

“We better find him quickly then,” she finally answered.

The Sgt. had already apprised Deputy-Chief Delaney on the situation and noticed his superior seemed to be in a better frame of mind these days. In fact he was downright cheerful. Maybe it had to do with Danny being found after all these years. Everyone on the Police Force was quite pleased.

Now they had to find this boy, before he spoiled everything.

*

"We made it!" Roy yelled out as he shook his head. He never figured they would make it by noon the way they kept getting mixed up.

The jeep finally pulled into its destination, at the far end of the old campground. A little rain had added moisture to deep ruts the four-wheel drive easily covered. After passing the lake several times, they had turned around and retraced their steps to the old campground. Finding and speaking to Mrs. Cipek, allowed them to understand this was where mom and Walt and Susan were camped. Larry too.

Roy was first out of the vehicle. "Mom? Walt? Susan? No answer. They should be around somewhere. The car was here and the dining tent…and, Roy hesitated as he heard someone inside the trailer.

He stood quietly, anxiously waiting to surprise a familiar face. It wasn't hard trying to convince dad he wanted to come for an overnight visit. They came totally self-contained, with a nylon tent and all the equipment they would need. Maybe he might even get some canoeing in. And fishing too, Roy thought.

Then a boy-stranger stepped out of the trailer. He looked about the same age as Roy and carried a ghetto blaster. "Who are you?" he asked the stranger. "That's my brother's. How come you have it?"

Danny looked back dumbfounded. At first he didn't know what to say or do. He stood looking at the boy in front of him, noticing a man walking around the dining room tent.

Then he remembered the pictures and yes, this must be the older brother, the one who lived in Halifax. He carefully closed the trailer door behind him and moved closer, extending his hand. "Nice to meet you," Danny said. "You must be Roy." What else could he do but be extra polite? At least until he figured out what his next move would be.

Now it was the other boy's turn to be surprised. "How do you know my name?" Roy asked. "Besides, my brother and sister didn’t even know I was coming up. It’s sort of a surprise."

This was too easy, Danny thought. He now had enough facts to carry on a credible conversation. "They're out canoeing now, and won't be back for a couple of hours," he lied. At least he hoped they would stay away until he made his own getaway. "My name is Danny," he said squeezing Roy' hand, hard.

"That's who you are!" said Roy excitedly. "They found you, wow." He turned towards his dad who was heading towards the shore. "Come 'ere, quick!"

"What's up, son?"

"Dad, this is Danny!"

"Danny?"

"You know, the missing boy."

"Oh for goodness sake. Well I bet you all had some kind of reunion, eh?" the man said. "Nice to meet you."

At first Danny was not sure what to do. But during their conversation a plan came to mind. "Look," he said. "Are you guys staying long?"

"We plan on staying just one night. Maybe camp a little ways over there. Mrs. Cipek gave us permission. Do you think they'll be back soon?"

"I have an idea," Danny said. "It's only a little ways to that island. That's where they are," he lied again. He really wasn't sure. "I could go get them in my canoe---I mean the camp's canoe. I was supposed to catch up to them anyhow. And bring this radio," he quickly added.

Everyone agreed it was a good idea. "That way," Roy' father said, "the boys can spend some time together before night falls."

They didn't think it unusual Danny took the ghetto blaster with him or that there was a bulging packsack in the center of the canoe, as if he was going on a trip.

But they did shake their heads when they watched him head out without a lifejacket on.

"Now that's a 'no-no,' " Roy said to his dad.

CHAPTER EIGHTEEN

Anne and Susan agreed. The island was much larger than first imagined. Right now the blustery weather made their journey more than a little uncomfortable.

Mother and daughter were brave in spite of the wind and the rising whitecaps. As they approached the rocky shore, they discovered how difficult it was trying to beach their craft. Wind drove them to the right side and it was then the true size of the island surprised them.

It was like a curving finger stretching further into the lake. Or more like a plan from some giant to build a footpath across the water. Many seasons allowed the rocky shore to develop foliage. Towards the back end, a dense forest seemed to crowd tightly to the shore.

*

Finally, the buffeting wind settled down and both canoes were able to scoot into the small bay. Arms ached and weary bodies were limp with exhaustion. Paddles tiredly whacking into canoe gunnels finally ceased.

Susan was first to speak. "That was fun, daddy."

Three pair of eyes glared at her. "You've got to be kidding," Walt blurted out, rolling his eyes.

This sudden burst of wind wasn't according to plan. For a short while they had simply rested and stared at the shoreline. Then as the waves rose furiously they had no choice but to abandon the point of land where Larry and Walt had first camped. The rectangular shape of the lake seemed to encourage the flowing water to roar past the island.

Susan's hair was clumped together, longer strands twisted and pointing in all directions. Her eyes were merry and cheeks red. Anne was proud of her little girl. Then Susan began to laugh at Walt for his glum look, at dad scratching his head, and at mom squinting into the sun, admiring the majesty before them.

Not so long ago they were fearful, running from the sounds of gunfire. Now it was as if they were the only humans on the face of the earth. A hearty echo of her high pitched childish laughter kept returning with waves of cheerfulness.

It was catchy. In a few moments Anne and Larry joined in her merriment. Leave it to Susan to break free from the coldness and wetness, which covered them all like a heavy blanket.

Reality came once again as a chilly wave splashed over the side and drenched both of Larry’s legs.

"Is she weird, or something?" was Walt 's only comment. "Coming across that open water felt like trying to climb Mt. Everfest," he chided.

"Mt. Everest," Larry corrected.

"Whatever," Walt responded, not happy about being corrected. He had completed a project this spring and was astonished by the number of expeditions attempting to climb this highest of peaks. He held his head high after pulling off an "A" on that one.

"I think we should be very proud of ourselves," Anne said, stepping into the conversation. By now both canoes were bobbing side-by-side, a dozen feet off shore. They had somehow found the energy to pull into the protection of the island away from the frontal assault of nature's blowing.

"How about landing here for a 'pit' stop?" Larry asked.

"I don't think we're too far away from our last night's camping spot," Walt added. “Remember that neat Privy I made, dad?”

"Good idea!" the rest of the expedition shouted.

"Besides, I'm soaked," said Larry.

"I need a dozen peanut butter cookies!" shouted Walt.

And Susan began to laugh uncontrollably again. Anne looked up at the blue sky and joined the celebration of happy sounds.

In ten more minutes both parties hauled in their canoes, secured them with ropes to a stout birch and stood there, unmoving.

Everyone was amazed at the beautiful foliage. It was as if a hidden world was waiting for them, sort of a retreat from civilization. Their tiredness and confusion was now left behind on the mainland.

"Okay," Anne advised, "put on your jeans. I don't want you scratched to pieces from those berry bushes. Keep your bathing suits on underneath, we'll go for a swim later."

Anne was intoxicated with the sweet smell of cedar as she walked with hushed steps across the velvety moss covered ground.

Even her children, used to the noise of automobiles and train whistles, paused in awe. This seemed to be an enchanted place. Each was lost in private thoughts. For once the children just stared open-mouthed, words foreign to their tongue.

After double-checking rope knots for the canoes, they followed an old path, which took them to a used campsite.

Walt was right. It wasn't far at all. "This is where dad and I camped out last night," he said proudly. "And that's my fireplace. Neat, huh? I took the rocks right from over there by the shore and built a wall so no fire could get past. Dad taught me all that," he said with a broad grin.

While he was busy yakking, Anne, Larry and Susan were jumping up and down, waving their arms for warmth.

"Are you cold, mom?" Susan asked.

"Sure am."

"Daddy, why don't you rub her back? Mommy likes that, because it makes her feel warm," she chuckled.

"Leave it to you to notice those things," Larry said. "Hey, let's get into the woods, and out of this wind." He led the race as everyone crashed through the brush after him. Some trees stretched 30-50 feet tall and gave them the desired protection from the cold. A series of trails led in various directions and they tried several. Larry figured a whole army could lose itself in the thickness of these woods.

It was pure luck they stumbled across an old cabin. Little did they know it was the same one Danny had somehow found yesterday.

"Dad? Okay if I check it out?"

Walt, always the adventuresome one, thought Larry. "It must be private property, son."

"But the door is sort of hanging open. I'll just take a peek."

"Wait!" Larry rushed to his son's side, fearful that some wild animal might have taken refuge in the cabin. A bear or even a raccoon could easily have inherited this ancient looking cabin. It had been abandoned a long time considering the condition of the roof and framing.

Certainly no human had come very regularly in order to keep it properly maintained.

Larry’s family followed him into the small wooden camp.

Inside, several wooden cots had collapsed from age and rot and stacked in a corner of the room. The inside was reasonably fixed up, as if someone had taken the time to organize the interior. Dry wood was piled beside what looked like a workable pot-bellied stove, in spite of rusty looking stovepipes. An old garbage bag was stuffed in the broken window.

Several opened cans of beans and spaghetti, Larry’s favorite brand, were on a small kitchen shelf.

"Look," Anne said, pointing to a dark corner. Someone's sleeping bag lay open on top of a bed of freshly cut spruce boughs. As each looked around the room, they realized the property was indeed being used and very recently too. Perhaps a hasty morning wake-up call had taken the occupant into some other adventure.

Why did someone not even take the sleeping bag? Or at the very least fold it up or hang it on a tree branch to air it out. Perhaps an early walk in the woods had taken place, or maybe the person went to take in some fishing.

Larry wondered if they should wait around until that person returned. He or she might help his family take the right path back to their canoes. No telling how long they would have to stay. Strange though, since no other craft had been seen, at least not on this side of the island.

What if they had scared off someone as the Reynolds family approached the cabin? A lone occupant might have been fearful from hearing their thrashing around in the woods. Larry knew everyone made quite a racket getting from the shore to this location.

There was still a half empty pot of coffee on the stove. And he was surprised to find bread and some pork chops in the old icebox. A two by four was propped up against the door. It was designed to keep any animal or flies from having a meal.

"Yes," he said, "someone definitely has been living here. And not so long ago, either."

Help to get them out of this predicament might be closer than they thought. He could hear the wind outside picking up.

"Listen," Larry said. "I'm going to get this fire going so we can all warm up. Then I'm going to dry off my clothes. Maybe I can get rid of this chill. My backpack also got a little wet from that last wave.

"I'll take the children outside for a little look-around," Anne said.

*

It wasn't difficult for Danny paddling with the wind at his back. His canoe raced to the island. Although a bit chilly, he was elated. The hunt was on, and he was the hunter.

He felt really good at pulling off his bluff with Roy and his dad. All he had to do now was find his father and scare the crap out of him and the others. Then he could hide away in the cabin and figure out his next move.

It was a stroke of luck to come upon their canoes tied to the shore. He landed his own then untied those belonging to the Reynolds’s. Danny gave them a mocking wave as they slid easily and noiselessly into the water.

Carried by the current, both canoes headed towards the far shore of Economy Lake some two miles away.

As Danny stood basking in his achievement he felt a pair of eyes boring into his back. He quickly turned around and saw someone in the trees watching him.

It was Walt.

*

Walt was restless and could barely stand around waiting for dad to get dry. He was anxious to get going. Maybe check out some of these neat old trails.

“I think I’ll explore around a little,” he said to mom. Besides he had some business to do and quickly too. Leaving the others he rushed around looking for an outhouse where he could have a few moments to himself. There should be one nearby, he thought.

He finally spotted it hiding behind a strategic placement of trees. Unless you stood at the right angle it might easily remain unseen. Maybe out here it was important to have privacy, so squirrels and birds wouldn't see you, he giggled.

There was only one door, with two painted signs side by side. Pink for LADIES and Blue for GENTS, with a wooden peg holding the door closed. It must be someone’s idea of a joke, he thought.

The boy dashed inside, not remembering if he had even told the others he had to answer the call of nature.

Excellent. Someone was kind enough to have left fresh paper.