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 novel Chapters 19&20

Story ID:11460
Written by:Richard Laurent. Provencher (bio, contact, other stories)
Organization:Retired
Story type:Fiction
Location:Truro Nova Scotia Canada
Year:2017
Person:Esther & 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 NINETEEN AND TWENTY CONTINUE NOVEL RUN DANNY, RUN BY RICHARD AND ESTHER PROVENCHER.

CHAPTER NINETEEN

Mrs. Cipek was annoyed. "Can't even get any peace around here," she muttered in the direction of her two cats.

One time, her life seemed to be under the control of others, when she was owner and camp director. At that time she was at the beck and call of inquiring parents. Sometimes complaining campers, strict government regulations and of course, her bankers.

But that was a long time ago.

When she lived on Queen Street in downtown Truro, it was the same. Busy, busy...busy. Always so many cars, hurrying down the street. She could never understand why there had to be one for each person. Hardly anyone took someone else along. She figured it must be a social status driving your own car.

So she bought one.

She was happy with her old clunker. That way she was boss of her own plans to get away. She also thought it was a good investment to buy the campground on Economy Lake. Sadly though, it was necessary to sell her lovely Victorian home on Queen Street, to secure the mortgage.

Life had been good in the early years. Her two children learned to adjust to country living, and to grow up enjoying the space the outdoors provided. Of course, one special feature was the summertime. Her children matured immensely as they pitched in and helped momma with necessary chores.

Their father had died when they were very young. And they had learned to help momma in every way. This was followed by experiences as campers, and camp Counselors.

After university her children moved into their own world of family and careers. Fred lived in Edmonton and Susan moved to Florida where she managed a tourist resort. Now Mrs. Cipek hardly ever saw them. And her dreams began to fall apart, not being able to keep up with the proper maintenance needs of her campground.

Her children felt bad about living so far away and unable to help, except to encourage their mother to sell. But she was stubborn and preferred to stay.

Mrs. Cipek was bewildered by what happened. Everything had been going so well. Attendance was growing, future leaders were being developed and her finances were beginning to look attractive.

But then Public Health inspectors were demanding new regulations be upheld, and her sewage problems brought everything to an end. And after several boil water orders, people were nervous about sending their children, or camping there. She didn’t have adequate finances to implement needed changes and was forced to shut down her children’s camping area.

After all these years, she had a desire to reopen the campground on a much smaller scale. Imagine, Larry Reynolds and his family wanting to spend their holidays here. Then somebody comes along shooting and tries to spoil it all.

Maybe she should phone the police.

And there’s that father and teenage boy, Roy. Both seem so nice and polite. They wanted to camp here too, just for one night they said, so they could visit the Reynolds’s. She sure could use this extra money, since her only income is the Old Age Pension.

She looked out her trailer and searched among the stars. It was so peaceful here. As far as she was concerned, this was her home until the day she died.

*

Barb Sloan made her decision after carefully reviewing the facts about the "Danny Reynolds File." She called the boy that now since the father's blood tests had confirmed what everyone had begun to surmise. The boy and father were one.

She decided to drop everything and follow her heart. Her usual stiff demeanor and predictable decision making wasn't used to making snap decisions. Drop everything and just take off? Why not? After all, she is the Executive Director of the London Children's Aid Society. Rank has its privileges.

Besides, her well-trained professional staff was capable of managing without her for a short while. She also had her cell phone and would simply be a phone call away.

As she made her plans she thought about the Reynolds boy. It wasn't fair he had been placed in a position to put up with so much. The same went for his father, Larry. She had the highest regard for a man of that caliber, not giving up, no matter what. Now there was a man and a father. He was exactly the type of father a boy like Danny needed. And finally, the lad would recover his own name…Danny Reynolds.

The boy had used so many last names in his ‘leap-frog’ from one family to another. What was one more? Would the Reynolds name fit him any better than previous ones? Her answer was already on her lips. Somehow she knew this one was going to last, forever.

She had shocked her staff and Board of Directors when first announcing she was taking two weeks vacation and heading off to Nova Scotia.

Imagine, Barb taking time off, to Nova Scotia? The pending trip was a source of gossip around the office for a few days. Each staff member wondered what caused her to make this decision so abruptly.

It certainly wasn't like her to be secretive, either. She didn’t want any of her staff to make a fuss or even see her off at the airport. This mission of confidentiality and personal business was really none of their affairs. If only they knew why she was going, they would have a heaving fit.

Barb Sloan had a secret, one that no one else on staff knew. In her heart, she felt an obligation to try and make sure both Larry and his son did not repeat her own mistake many years before. During her late teens, she had a fling with a young man, became pregnant and had given her baby up for adoption.

All these years she never had the courage to seek out her daughter as Larry Reynolds searched for his son. Barb Sloan wanted to be there when they were re-united.

She wondered where her own daughter was this very moment.

*

Walt had been so certain this was the right path. He thought he heard voices from that direction. If only he hadn't spent so much time daydreaming in the outhouse. Being sheltered from the wind had given him a chance to warm up a bit. However, he had remained too long.

And of course, as was his custom, he had to walk around the premises checking out everything he could. His eyes recorded discarded items rusting in piles mingling with the majesty of the forest. Humans are so messy, he thought.

His meandering took him off the trail his family and taken. Without realizing it, the boy had wandered in the wrong direction. Now everyone had disappeared. Looking around once more he tried to find the right trail. Surely his family couldn’t have disappeared that quickly. Besides, they must be looking for him too.

Dad always said to be careful in the woods. "If the wind was mischievous it could take voices and place them in the opposite direction," he once said.

And it was like that now for Walt. He was sure he heard voices, but their return echoes kept coming from different directions. After listening carefully he decided the family was heading back to the canoes. All he had to do was keep in a straight line and eventually he too would come to the lake.

Walt stepped carefully around a pile of rusted cans and stacked up bottles of pop. There was even an old mattress showing fire stains. Someone must have been careless in the cabin.

He was glad to get around the old pile of junk and garbage dump.

It felt eerie being alone in the woods, away from his family. Tree limbs creaked and a squirrel’s sudden scampering sent shivers up and down his spine. Every once in a while he gave a shrill blow on his silver whistle.

Dad said if ever alone it would act as a friend. And more importantly, it might prevent him from coming up unexpectedly on a large animal.

Walt tried not to think of bears or wolves…what’s that? He stopped in mid stride and listened carefully.

It sounded as if a paddle had struck the hull of a canoe. The lake can’t be much further, he thought. He hurried in the direction of the sound. A branch snapped back and smacked his cheek. The stinging didn't slow him down. All he wanted right now was some company.

Walt finally broke through the heavy brush and stepped into a tiny clearing. It was the family's original landing spot. "Hey!" he yelled at an unfamiliar figure. "What are you doing? Those are our canoes!" It was a boy, not much older than himself. He had never seen him before. "Stop!" he yelled again.

But it didn't seem to faze the stranger. He continued to pull their canoes from the shore using the untied rope lines.

Dad said the rope tied to the bow is called a "painter." Right now it didn't matter. Someone was trying to steal the canoes. How were they going to get off the island? The stranger waved in a mocking way from his own canoe, making Walt furious.

Walt waded in up to his knees and was prepared to swim after the intruder. But the wind was too swift to overtake the three craft now drifting quickly away from the island.

Laughter followed Walt as he turned and furiously worked his way back to the cabin. The woods were so thick he almost passed the old shack without seeing it. And of course, in his headlong rush he stumbled over the familiar garbage pile. He had to get a hold of mom and dad. Now he realized he even missed Susan, big time.

Once again Walt was undecided. Which way should he go? He decided to follow what might have been a deer trail, a thin line of space showing between the trees.

It took him away from the cabin, and away from the lake and deeper into a wooded area. Then he headed across a small clearing and beyond.

After working his way through waist high ferns, the boy turned in another direction, then another. Suddenly Walt stopped. An understanding shook him from his sneakers to the tip of his head. Weird feelings worked their way into his brain. His hair felt as if static electricity raised each strand as high as possible.

Suddenly he realized he was lost.

No one was around. No voices could be heard. And there was no trail left, only a wall of tall trees. The wind wailed a lonely song. It must have been written just for him, he thought.

How could he be lost? It wasn't possible. This was just an island. His folks and sister must be here somewhere.

"MOMMM! DAADDD! LEAAHH!"

Even his blowing whistle could not be heard.

CHAPTER TWENTY

Danny watched from behind a large birch tree. He had been careful to stay out of sight as Walt frantically searched in all directions. He sure looked confused. Danny wondered how Walt had gotten separated from the rest of his family.

After releasing the Reynolds canoes, Danny waited half an hour before returning to the island. He paddled quietly into shore then carried his canoe into the shelter of the forest. His little spot was easily camouflaged from any viewers on the shore side or water. He was hungry and couldn't wait to get to the cabin. That's when he found out he had company.

Walt must have been really lucky to discover the hidden cabin, just as Danny had done. And now the other boy headed off on a runt of a trail.

Danny was curious and decided to follow the boy and see what he would do. He could hardly believe he was observing the same boy who was also the son of Larry Reynolds. They're sort of brothers, he thought. “In fact, we are brothers,” his lips hissed.

Should he warn the fool he's headed into the thickest part of the forest? It was getting harder to keep a safe distance behind and see through the foliage. As luck would have it, the solution to Danny’s spying presented itself right beside him. Looking up he noticed an observation post someone had built for deer hunting. Ladder boards headed upwards about twenty feet.

Danny kept one eye on his quarry as he carefully worked his way up the old planks nailed into the tall spruce. He shifted his weight uneasily one step at a time. Finally reaching the top, he was able to stand and observe Walt’s confusion as he tried to figure out his next move.

There wasn't much room up here. Danny sighted down his index finger and aimed at Walt, pretending he was a deer. After all, this was a deer hunting observation post. Mr. Lapointe had built one last hunting season and it gave anyone daring enough to climb, a chance to see everything.

Just like this one.

He stretched his arm, cocked his finger and aimed right at Walt's leg. "Pow," Danny said through gritted teeth. That would have slowed a deer down, he thought.

Then a nasty thought entered the boy’s thinking. Too bad his .22 had fallen into the bottom of the lake when he was pulling the other canoes. From here he could have thrown a real scare into the boy below. Walt would have found it impossible to figure out where any shots were coming from.

Danny remembered trying to grab the rifle as it headed into the bottom of the lake. He had even jumped in fully clothed trying to retrieve the firearm. No luck though, too dark down there. He had even planned one day to return it to Mr. Lapointe.

Now he was soaked. Good thing it was such a warm day. He could go back to the cabin later and get a change of clothes he had hidden. Danny kept a vigil watching for the rest of the family.

Walt had disappeared from view.

*

The Bald Eagle hunched immobile in the tree top, head curving towards his feathery chest. Watching, surveying---his keen vision was on the lookout for any rodents, birds, snakes or rabbits. Powerful talons were itching to get into action.

In the next tree another eagle perched, and in the next, another. Five in all provided an awesome sight. Walt anxiously looked around trying to locate an eagle's nest, nearby. Perhaps it was a family out hunting together, as long as he wasn’t the main dish, he thought.

It was fairly easy to sit dejected on a stretch of ridge looking over a vast forested area, especially if you felt all alone. Farther away was a small pond with tall dead looking trees around the edge. And what looked like crows from this distance. He couldn't believe crows could be that huge, until one flew overhead and its wingspread gave away its true majestic identity.

They were eagles and Walt spent the next hour studying them and enjoying their entertainment.

The next little while provided Walt with sights as spectacular as anything he had ever experienced in eleven years. Their antics were even better than July 1st fireworks outside the Legion Stadium in Truro. Perhaps they were performing for his benefit or simply because he was allowed a glimpse of a side of nature he had never realized existed in the woods.

Their swooping and delicate floating on kite-like wings seemed so effortless. Each took turns soaring to high altitudes from warm thermals, diving with great speed only to turn and drift lazily over the trees. Several times they must have spotted prey because their torpedo diving took them right to the ground as dinner awaited.

These actions reminded him how hungry he was himself.

At least Walt didn't feel so lonesome anymore.

*

The rest of the Reynolds family couldn't believe they had been separated. All they had done was walk around the cabin area while waiting for Larry to change.

Yes, they did see Walt rush off somewhere, not realizing his destination. So often he would head somewhere on his own without telling anyone. And then he would crop up from behind a tree and rush towards his family with yelling loudly. Or fall to the ground ending up in a wrestling match with his dad.

Not this time though. He hadn’t been heard from in a while and everyone began to worry. They wondered if he was lost or if he was actually pulling a prank, which was not amusing at this moment.

After all, these woods were dense and it would be no fun to be alone. The rest of his family had been calling his name repeatedly, until they suddenly stopped. A realization hit them. Their squirrel-chattering son was not answering.

Impatience began to show after waiting for about fifteen minutes before Larry decided to lead them back to the cabin. He didn't want any more of his family to get confused in these deep woods.

Anne looked around anxiously. She could not believe Walt would try anything funny. And if he tried any short cuts…surely he would be at the old cabin. She was becoming quite worried.

Susan missed her brother, even though sometimes he could be such a pain. Right now though she wanted to show him the cutest caterpillar she had just found.

Larry was also getting more than a little nervous. Now where is that son of mine? He asked himself for the tenth time.

*

Danny held his painful shoulder as he lay on the ground. One of the boards broke apart as he climbed down the deer stand and tumbled to the ground. The boy landed hard on his side, losing his breath for a few moments.

He was tired, irritated, and biting his lip in agony. What a way to celebrate something special. Today was his fifteenth birthday and he was wet and all alone. Well, not totally alone. Somewhere on this island was a family who wanting to meet him. Hopefully they were on the far side of the island because right now he needed to rest. And have time to think.

They were not really his family anyway, someone else’s. And that man not really his father, someone else's. Maybe he belonged to that other boy, Walt. Maybe Danny should just take off somewhere and forget he was ever here.

Sad thoughts scrambled around about all the mean things he had done. These were not good feelings.

Strange as it may seem, Danny did have a conscience. He knew deep inside he was not a "Socio-path." A counselor once shouted that phrase at him during a rumble Danny had instigated in a group home. Later he checked out the word and was astonished anyone could think that of him.

He did have feelings. In fact he was sorry for what happened back at the Lapointes. And it was stupid running away just because Mr. and Mrs. Reynolds were coming to visit him in Lunenburg. Even taking food, camping gear and the rifle from the Lapointe’s was really mean. After all they had done for him.

Feeling sorry was an old habit. Maybe that's why he kept screwing up each time he ended up with a different family. How could anyone love him? He was a misfit, an abandoned child. Not even his mother wanted him. And the long and difficult road from his home to a series of foster homes had left its mark.

Getting abused was the worst part. For cripes sake, the first time he was only six years old. At first it felt kind of funny and tickly when that guy started to wash him all over. It didn't seem that bad for a while. It stopped when he was moved to another home. The social worker had asked lots of strange questions.

He was too shy to tell about what really happened over there. He sort of put it out of his mind after he was moved to another foster home.

But, as he grew older he heard of other children getting the same kinds of abuse treatment. He vowed it would never happen to him again. And it didn't. At least, not until he went to Training School. Then it started up again. Some of the older boys liked to pick on the younger ones. "I'll kill anyone who touches me," he had said to a group of teenagers who were after him. Finally they left him alone.

He had a hard time getting over the strange feelings he had all those years thinking some people were only after one thing. It was hard trying to make friends with any other foster dads, in case they were the same. But, even though it was hard he tried to be friends with anyone who took an interest in him. His uncertainty and low self-esteem robbed him of a possible healthy relationship.

To make friends and have a father were personal wishes. He wanted to have a father most of all. The only way he could find out for sure how much anyone wanted to adopt him was to test them, except he usually went too far.

And then just when Danny thought it might work out, they gave up and he had to move again. A couple of families lasted a long time.

When the Lapointes came along, he figured everything was going to be A-OK. The thought of finally getting adopted was neat, but the belt smacks changed everything. And he began to steal again. His friends said it was cool. Selling stolen articles gave him lots of bread to spread around.

But then, stealing from everyone became a terrible habit. Foster parents, foster children, school chums and new friends. No one was spared. All this was for kicks and good times spending his new found money on pills and booze.

The mild punishment of physical pain from Mr. Lapointe brought back terrible beating memories when he was younger. No way was he going to allow anyone to belt him again. Then he tried everything to get kicked out of the Lapointe house in Lunenburg. And it finally worked, but it almost drove everyone nuts.

It made Danny sad to think about what he might have done to them. But he had to get out. He was afraid one more licking might send him out of control, even hurt someone.

There was an anger bottled up inside that threatened to explode.

Everyone thought he was now out of control. Big time...

*

The sound of rushing water caught Walt’s attention and encouraged a turn to his right. At first it sounded like a gaggle of voices, or a flock of Canada geese.
Except this wasn’t the time of season to be flying north or south. These were more like the type of sounds he heard so often at school when classes were finally out. Or like when there was a large gathering of excited conversation at someone's wedding.

But, there was no school here, nor was there a wedding. Armies of pine trees paraded up and down ridges as far as the eye could see. If only he had wings to soar above and see which direction was the right one.

Maybe one of those eagles would come by and give him a ride over the foliage, like the boy in 'The Never Ending Story.' By now he was hoarse from yelling and didn't even have a clue where the lake was. It was as if this island had a mind of its own, almost alive. Not wanting him to join up with his family. Perhaps this collection of rock particles wished him to roam forever in its developed jungle of moss, ferns and trees.

And then he saw something from his perch on the side of a high rise of rock. It almost blew him out of his socks. Walt’s eyes widened and stared downwards to what looked like a long crevice between two hills. He slipped out of his doldrums and hastened downhill to explore the scene. After scuffling down the hillside, almost twisting his ankle in the process, he reached the bottom.

Now looking up, he was able to view an awesome waterfall. No, it was magnificent. And its roaring water tumbled over and around a series of upraised rocks. The rushing cascade created a cauldron of suds, foamy and arousing an excitement within his soul.

It was a beautiful display of nature to Walt. Perhaps it was a gift to help him overcome his confusion in the woods. If only mom, dad and Susan were here. He had to show them. They just had to see this. Nature restored his confidence and he was keen to find his family.

There was nothing like this back home. Water spread across the face of the massive rock in dividing rivulets, each with an intensity of spray. The sun's rays reflecting from the rock face pierced the downward plunge of water, sending images of Christmas glitter towards the boy.

The sudden realization of what was placed before him had to be shared, if not now, sometime soon. No matter what adventures occurred on this trip, he had to come back. Walt knew he was witnessing something precious. This scene would remain with him a long, long time.

What was even more interesting had already been revealed. There was another island beyond the thrashing river, which seemed to cut the land in two. Now he knew for sure his folks were not in this direction.

Tiredly, and with a satisfied wonder in his chest, Walt turned and planned his next move.

His family was somewhere behind him, and hopefully had retrieved the canoes. They might even be at the cabin getting warmed up. As sure as his name was Walt Reynolds, he knew they would never leave him alone on this island.

Dad would search for his son 'til he dropped.

Walt headed back over what looked like an old lumber road. He couldn't wait to join up again with his family. Clouds were beginning to drift in. Nightfall was coming. And Walt’s determination was greater than ever.