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Run Danny, Run novel Chapters 21&22

Story ID:11461
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
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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 TWENTY-ONE AND TWENTY-TWO CONTINUE NOVEL RUN DANNY, RUN BY ESTHER AND RICHARD PROVENCHER

CHAPTER TWENTY-ONE

The man moved forward, slowly, the ache in his leg a reminder of the skirmish with Danny a short while ago. During the tussle, he came to understand how angry this young man was. Now he knew for sure it was his son.

It was the same boy who had refused to wait for Anne and himself in Lunenburg. And certainly must be the same one who broke into his house and followed his family here to scare them.

All Larry wanted to do was love him, and somehow convince him he could become an important part of the family. Now the man’s frustrations and precious time lost with his own family boiled over. He was in a mean mood. Susan and Walt trembled as they watched, fascinated as their dad glowered at the stranger.

They were now comfortable knowing they had two fierce protectors. Momma bear, and now Poppa bear would chase away any bogeymen.

"Dad!" Walt shouted. "That’s him!” At first he didn’t recognize the disheveled boy. But that look was there, neither anger nor hatred, only sadness in his face. “He's the one who let the canoes go."

"What?"

"I saw him. He came in his and took ours out into the open water. Then he let them go. How does he expect us to get back?"

"He did that?"

"I didn't mean to… I'm sorry," Danny mumbled.

Larry rubbed his hip and felt a rage he had never known before. This boy-man dared to bring fear and pain into the jurisdiction of his family.

He had heard Susan screaming and crying not far away. And by the time he had come to the right location he saw Walt comforting her and pointing to a dirty looking boy leaning against a tree.

Without another word or thought he had rushed the stranger and roughed him up a little, slapping, then shoving him to the ground.

No one was going to hurt his little girl.

At first Larry wanted to jump on this boy, or give him a swift kick. “Are you Danny?” he had asked.

A mumbled “Yes” confirmed his question. Larry felt like giving him a thrashing he'd never forget. However he could see the boy was in pain and helpless. This was his chance. All of the running and worrying these past few hours came flooding back.

Finding their car and trailer vandalized, the rifle shots, escaping to the island, and now the canoes. Enough was enough. The audacity and boldness of this boy; coming to the island and further terrorizing his family. There was a limit to what any sane person could endure.

Larry approached the silent figure, one step at a time. He was holding a stick as a club raised in defense. For a fifteen-year old boy, Danny was strong and wiry. He had kicked and fought back as the stronger man had wrestled with him.

The man now stood over the still form. What he saw was not a stranger, nor an enemy. It was neither the smeared face of someone who had hated Larry and his family. Now a hint of confusion set in. Larry was sure he could see wet-stained cheeks amid the dirt and mud. Is it possible, he wondered, this boy toughened by years of neglect still has feelings? Even after what he had put them all through?

Larry detected a stirring. One leg from the prone figure twitched. A painful grunt escaped from the downed boy's lips. Then he turned slowly from his side and lay fully on his back, staring up at the man. There was a bruise on his cheek and forehead, left over from the scuffle. His eyes pleaded for understanding.

"Help me," a child-like voice said. "Please," it whispered.

The boy then took a deep breath and exhaled. Larry couldn't tell if there was any serious physical damage. He was almost afraid to ask. He crept closer, holding a two-foot length of wood he had picked up. He needed something to fend off any attempt from the boy to hurt him.

From their last entanglement his arm had been whacked with a stick Danny had grabbed onto. Kicks to Larry’s side and back still ached. The man moved forward slowly, thoughts in disarray, aware his other children were watching.

This fallen child is his son? A boy he helped bring into the world? The boy certainly came across as a hotbed of anger and confusion.

Would there be any chance to reconcile the past?

Could they ever discover a semblance of love for each other?

“I wasn’t trying to hurt her,” the boy said. “She got scared when she saw me; that’s all.”

*

Mrs. Cipek finally made a decision to phone the RCMP. She had moved to her trailer on this property originally to escape the hubbub in Truro. That is, to find peace in the tranquility of these woods. Yes, she had lived in one of those magnificent homes on Queen Street. While her husband was alive and her children were young, things had been so good.

Then when he passed away and the children needed more space to spread their young wings, she purchased this property. During the first few years, her life was much better. Her children grew up healthy and strong beside her and she was also able to bring much happiness to campers from all over Nova Scotia. It was fine, until the money ran out.

Now she had a responsibility to Larry Reynolds and his family. He and his wife had such nice children. And when the shooting began she had been greatly disturbed. Then along comes this father with his boy, Roy something or other.

She began to worry about something bad happening to anyone. The Reynolds’s said they wanted to take a canoe trip to the island. And she had seen them leave in their two canoes several hours ago.

It was getting late in the day when she finally dialed the police detachment number in Bible Hill.
*

"Aaahh." The moan was a good sign. Danny knew he was definitely alive. His body ached all over. What else could possibly happen to him?

When does a day's early light end and darkness begin? Is there a special time for the kind of pain, which begins deep in the chest; one that tightens like a band getting tighter and tighter. Does it ever go away? He wondered.

Hold back the tears, can't cry. Don’t be a baby. I knew it. Somehow I knew it. Everyone's right, I am a baby. His sobs carried from memories within and wound into the hearts of his audience.

At first they thought he was faking it. But then, why couldn't it be genuine? After all, he was no different from them. They were all cold and tired, wet and also very hungry.

Come on Danny. You knew all along you were nothing but a wimp and a reject. Your mixed up past simply proves it. He watched as the man…his father stood to one side, unsure of what to do next. What have I called him these past few days? Traitor. Meanie. Walked-out-of-my-life-person. Rotten skunk. No good-for-nothing.

The words and thoughts had rolled off his tongue, like hot steam from an old locomotive coal engine.

Oh no. That must be the mother, Mrs. Reynolds. And that boy and girl must be brother and sister. His thoughts were a little confused. The little girl he had tried to hold onto. She must be Susan. She came upon him as he had called out for help after falling from the deer stand.

He didn't mean to scare her. All he wanted was for her to help him up. When she started screaming he wrapped both arms around her, just trying to calm her. Then she had fallen on top of him.

Danny would never hurt a little girl, but then her brother Walt had come out of nowhere and grappled with him. He was a fighter for a little twerp. He must have known something about karate the way he sent flying kicks into Danny's stomach. It had caused the older boy to grab his middle and retch as he watched the boy carry off his sister.

Danny couldn't even find breath to yell, "Sorry.” He didn't mean to scare her. By the time he recovered his wind, the boy and girl were gone. Danny was the one who needed help and he couldn't even call out in time for any kind of help.

Then the man, their father…his father too, had a go with him. He had to fight back. He thought the man was going to kill him.

And now they were looking at him like he was some kind of monster. Both children kept throwing horrible stares, turning angry looks into painful darts.

He could read it in their eyes. Besides, their mother's going to take her turn with me. I just know it. He turned painfully on his side, scraping his knee on a protruding rock, fingers pressing into the moist ground. He began to dig as if tying to make a hole large enough to crawl into.

I won't cry anymore. Please, not in front of them.

"Son? Let me help you.” The man's hand slowly stretched forward. "We want you to come home with us."

The boy looked up from where he lay. The pain in different parts of his body hurt. His mind was still confused. He tried to focus. His eyes were moist. He rubbed them then lay on his side once more, looking up at both adults. It was comical the way each looked at the other.

Here they were somewhere on the island, where Danny had big plans about somehow punishing his dad, for the years of misery the boy endured. He realized it also wasn’t fair what he had done to others. People like the Lapointes, the CAS, even these children and their mom seemed to care about him. He could sense it.

Now his dad was right here in front of him, and there was no longer any anger in the boy’s heart. There was just a whole lot of mixed-up emotion and wanting to be held tightly. It was the only birthday present he ever wanted.

"Maybe you should leave us both alone for a while hon," the man said to his wife. "Take the kids back to the cabin. Walt can help you build a fire in the stove. You'll be warm there. I have a feeling the police will be here soon. I'm sure Mrs. Cipek has phoned them by now, especially with the shooting."

"You sure, hon?"

I'll be okay here. We'll join you soon."

He gave each of the children a quiet hug and kiss before they left with their mom. Both looked tired and worn out after their ordeal. He knew they would be okay with Anne. By now they were feeling sorry for the muddy-looking boy on the ground.

Danny tried to roll onto his back. He couldn't. His hands were too numb from the cold mud. He flinched as he tried to get a grip on a root. Why does he feel so weak? He watched jealously as mother bear put an arm around each child as they headed towards the cabin.

Then his dad reached forward with cupped fingers. Danny had learned that trick in swimming lessons a couple of years ago. It was the best grip to use when hands were wet. A non-slip grip for emergencies, like now, he needed help to get up.

He accepted the older man's strength and was hauled to his feet. Who does this guy think he is? Why did I ever get mixed up with him? Danny didn't resist as he was pulled into his father's chest. The hug was a little rough but felt warm and comfortable.

He looked up and noticed the man's face. Tears streamed down both cheeks. The boy was startled to see the man…his dad, actually crying.

Danny fought back his own tears. "Who are you?" he asked.

"I'm your father."

"How do you really know?" The question was muffled.

“The Children’s Aid and the doctor confirmed it,” Larry answered. “You know, blood tests.” Talk to the boy. Tell him you're no stranger to pain. "I don't know what this anger towards me is all about, but it's got to stop. And right now," Larry said.

"Who says so?" came the defiant reply, in spite of bruised lips.

Larry took off his jacket.

"I suppose there's a cop shirt under that."

"Why?"

"I don't like cops."

"I do."

It was good to hear them talking. Anger and hostility changed to pain and confusion. Nothing more was said for awhile, only thoughts and feelings flying about. Warmth moved from within the man and settled inside the boy. From the tip of his nose to his toes, a current of love traveled in pounding waves. Danny was lost in the peacefulness of this moment.

The forest was still, as if each tree was holding its breath. Time heals and a beginning was taking place. Here on a remote island away from foster homes, juvenile detention centers and the crack of a belt across Danny's buttocks, there were only two people.

And it was a father and son.

Danny was helped into a sitting position and his back propped against a large birch for support. Then Larry sat down beside him. Danny painfully inched closer until his shoulder was touching his dad's.

"I am no stranger to pain," Larry began, as he placed his arm around his son's shoulders.

And then he told his boy about what happened in the past, not knowing about Danny. And about Larry coming to Nova Scotia, eventually marrying Anne; then adopting Walt and Susan. They spoke for a long time.

Larry listened as Danny shared about his past. The man shook with sadness at the tales of loneliness experienced by this man-child sitting beside him.

They spoke about the kinds of things fathers and sons should talk about, love and family. And issues so painful they held tightly to each other. Abuse was such a nasty word, and had to come out. Both had been victims and Danny now knew the man really understood. The boy’s pain was like porcupine quills. Many hurts had to be slowly pulled out, one at a time.
And they were.

CHAPTER TWENTY-TWO

Walt sat shivering by the wood stove in the cabin. He was so thankful to have found the rest of his family. He could handle being lost for a while, but what recently took place was almost too much for a young boy to bear.

To think his sister was being held as a hostage, her screams still ringing in his head. He remembered her legs thrashing and those little fists hitting Danny. That's when Walt had run into the clearing.

He knew he had to save his sister.

He didn't know that Danny hadn't hurt her, just trying to hold her from running away. As soon as Danny saw Walt he had let her go.

Why was he doing this to them Walt wondered, all this chasing and hiding and being terribly mean? It just didn't make sense.

Did he hate them all that much? Was his anger about this whole situation as bad as that of Walt's? If hate does this to you, then Walt didn't want any part of it. Not any more.

To be mean and hateful was not nice.

At the time Walt looked back fearfully, wondering if Danny would chase them. Walt hefted his stick once again with a menacing wave. It was only a short three-foot staff, but had the weight of a baseball bat. He was sure it must have hurt when he whacked Danny across the back of the leg.

Some of his karate chops showed the stranger that Walt knew how to protect his sister. Walt had seen the other boy limp away after getting tangled up with a brother protecting his sister. When Walt walked away cradling his sister in his arms, she had looked so fragile, and helpless.

Susan felt safe now that her brother was here to protect her.

"Hello, anyone." The voice had come from the woods as a robin in search of a worm. Except it was emitted from the mother of the roost. Anne hurried towards the two forms huddled on the ground.

She had heard yelling and in the deep woods sounds carried easily. "Who's there?" She shouted over and over, her voice getting hoarse.

"Me! Me!" Walt remembered answering rather loudly. His shoulders shook with relief as he gave his sister a huge brotherly squeeze. "Who's you?" he asked with a practiced family recognition signal, aimed at the darkness of the trees.

"Me-me," Anne answered happily. It was an old game she and Walt played when he was much younger. Anne was surprised he even remembered. His response made her feel proud.

She then strode into the clearing like a goddess. Except this one looked a little worse for wear. Her journey of search for her family had taken her across one ridge, then another. Her feet knew how to arrive at the correct destination. After all, this was her family and she now found part of it.

"Everyone okay?" she asked settling down beside her children. Their wrapping arms and hugs were her answer. The only sounds, quiet sobbing as the two youngest sought solace from their mom. They both looked as dirty and unkempt as she did.

Now to find the other two, she thought. With darkness coming on she should consider returning to the cabin and the three of them simply wait out the night. Their journey had headed in that direction until sounds of combat escaped from over the next collection of trees.

As luck would have it they stumbled on Larry and Danny. It was a difficult moment for all of them. The newly arrived trio watched as father and son wrestled then rested together, as if they wanted to have a little chat. Except this one was serious.

Larry’s quest was finally over.

He had found his own flesh and blood son.

Each person stared at one another with mixed feelings. At first Anne considered saying something nasty until she acknowledged the shake of her husband's head.

No, it wouldn't do to stir up anything more right now, she pondered. She had already checked on the physical condition of her children. Everything was fine, except for a few bad bruises and several cuts, which looked worse than they were.

She gathered her children to her and whispered softly, "Let's do what your father suggests and stay at the cabin until he joins us. I have a feeling Danny will be coming too. Then we can all head back to the mainland in the morning."

Both children breathed a sigh of relief and allowed their mother to take them by the hand. "That's if the Police don't have other plans," she said more to herself.

A boy and girl, brother and sister ambled along beside their mother. They felt secure and comfortable in her presence. She had proved she was really a mother bear when she was upset.

Susan didn't mind being half carried, this time by someone who only had her best intentions in mind. She was very tired and her thoughts drifted in an erratic pattern, from tiredness and exultation, to sleepy-eyed bedtime. It left her in a dreamy state with strange thoughts chasing round and around.

Susan didn't mind having asthma, at least it wasn't diabetes like her friend Jacqueline had. The needles really bugged her friend. And Susan couldn't dream of not being able to eat chocolate on Christmas or Easter. Now why was she thinking these thoughts? Was it because she was stressed out? That's what mom used to say when her asthma acted up. Right now Susan was stressed out.

She knew God must have given this problem to her for a reason. She'd had it since about two years of age. At least she could eat all of the foods that she mostly liked. She especially liked her mom's lasagna. Sometimes at school they had treats like ice cream and she knew it wasn't as good as her mothers.

Susan couldn't wait to get back to their campsite on the mainland. Maybe she could talk her mother into making some lasagna. And maybe even some of that delicious homemade ice cream.

*

Everyone was in a fog as events captured their time, their thoughts and weary selves. The police had arrived by boat and helicopter using flashing lights to highlight the forest area.

It wasn’t long before the children were bundled up, taken back to their campground and the warmth of their trailer. Larry insisted the family spend one more night together at the campground before heading home.

Danny was taken into custody amid tears from his newly found family. “I’m sorry…I’m sorry,” he kept saying. His huddled frame was wrapped in a blanket as he was led away.

After a hearty breakfast the next morning, Larry and his family headed home.