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Run Danny, Run novel Chapter 23

Story ID:11462
Written by:Richard Laurent. Provencher (bio, contact, other stories)
Story type:Fiction
Location:Truro Nova Scotia Canada
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.


Click-clacking heels sounded loud on the polished floor of Aberdeen Children's Assessment Clinic. Anne and Larry hurried down long corridors, as Walt and Susan tried to keep up.

It's 11:45 AM. And they're bringing fresh clothes and picking up some personal effects to store until their new son comes home.

Danny told everyone how angry he was at his dad for not being around. He said he spent years thinking no one cared about him. And now he admitted to being so wrong.

Susan and Walt survived their overnight in the hospital. It was only a precaution to ensure abrasions and a twisted ankle was mending. A longer time would be needed to heal those fearful moments.

The RCMP had no choice but to charge Danny with unlawful possession of a firearm. The more serious threat of endangerment with the potential of using the weapon against others had been considered.

Three other counts of assault were dropped.

Ms. Barb Sloan’s prepared documentation that was helpful for the Judge's decision. The CAS Director from London, Ontario indicated the boy had suffered from a long series of family difficulties, not of his own choosing.

As Ms. Sloan boldly stated before the court---"It's a wonder this boy held together so well. I do not foresee him returning to an attitude of hostility, your Honor. He now knows where he belongs. And that’s with the father, who sired him."

The contents of her presentation seemed to sway the judge, in favor of Danny.

Her words were supported by reports from the Truro Police and RCMP. They indicated the boy expressed remorse for his actions and fully co-operated in their investigations. He had also apologized to the Lapointe’s and Reynolds’s for bringing such turmoil into their lives.

"Susan wasn't afraid in the hospital at all hon," Larry said. Anne didn't hear him since she had other things on her mind.

It was just over a month ago they had begun their search for Danny. Now he was undergoing a full assessment on his personality. Everyone felt he needed to remain temporarily in this short term restraining facility.

For more than ten years Danny had to deal with moving from one family to another. Would he finally settle down with the Reynolds’s?

"It sure is hot hon," Larry whispered as they climbed more stairs.

Each adult reviewed in their minds different reports they read about Danny. Words like, ‘Out-of-Control-Behavior,’ as well as ‘Un-adoptable,’ and ‘Severe Aggression,’ continued to haunt their thinking. What else could have taken place in the life of a little child who had gone through so much? Six foster homes and two Adoption Probation ones had begun his difficult entry into manhood, from age two to eleven.

The Lapointe’s had done their best and said he did not have to return there. They were allowing Danny to make his own decision.

Larry relished the words his son told the authorities, "I want to be given a chance to be with my real father and his family. And I'll try really hard to get along with Walt and Susan ...and my new mom."

“Oh son, you have every reason to be unhappy with me. And I forgive you with all my heart,” were words Larry had practiced.

Danny had to continue proving himself in the next couple of weeks. Then becoming part of the Reynolds family could take place.

Rules at the Center included listening to staff, completing designated chores, and earning privileges. TV, swimming, weekend home visitations, and outside free time with his peer group were worthwhile goals.

As explained by a social worker from the assessment clinic, Danny required strong discipline to deal with his lack of self-esteem.

Larry understood his son could be a charming, manipulative person and easily take anyone off guard.

Larry walked slowly with his wife to the observation desk at T2, the adolescent ward. Approximately 20 boys and girls from 12-15 years of age lived here for indefinite periods of time. Danny was expected to complete another assessment in the psychiatric clinic at the IWK Children's Hospital in Halifax.

The Reynolds’s were also here today to speak with the staff about a future plan of action for their son. And to discuss positive successes Danny shared over the telephone. The first earned weekend at home had been quite enjoyable.

Their family was now involved with the boy for the long haul. It may prove to be a difficult, yet exciting journey. Very few words were spoken between Larry and Anne as they clasped hands tightly. They waited for Walt and Susan to join them.

They stood silently in front of the counter. A glass enclosure had words printed in large letters- BOY’S ASSESSMENT SECTOR. A face appeared at the oval space cut out for easy communication.

"Hi there,” Larry began. “We're here to bring our son, Danny, some clothes. He has an appointment in Halifax this afternoon." The staff person behind the counter carefully looked them over.

After showing their ID and Pass, the man finally smiled. "Yes, we've been expecting you. Just a moment please."

In a few minutes some of Danny 's personal treasures and clothing items were passed over. His 1st and 3rd place ribbons along with a Horseman's Certificate, earned from Ambassador summer camp the year he turned thirteen, was all here.

How I wish I could have been there son. “Imagine, the Lapointes were so proud of Danny racing a large horse to a Weiner tied to a post, then taking a bite before returning to the starting gate. He won the race, hon. His instructor could hardly believe a young boy could learn so much in just two weeks.”

Anne stepped into the conversation with a thought. “Maybe we could send him there again, if he’s not too old for that program. Or Danny could take Walt and show him the ropes, maybe introduce him to the things he learned.”

Other mementoes taken from Danny’s packsack included Scout badges, one shirt, two pairs of dirty socks, 3 T-shirts, a Louis Lamour pocket book, radio, clock and letters from the Lapointes. Each item was recorded and signed out by a parent or guardian.

Larry signed as the father.

Everything was here, except for the .22 Cooey. Danny said he dropped it overboard in the lake. The Police continued to search for the rifle. There was also a small amount of change from Danny’s allowance, the last received from the Lapointes. These items seemed like such a small measure for fifteen years spent on this earth.

Walt insisted on sharing his room with Danny when he came home. He had no doubt his older brother would be joining them soon. “That way we can get to know each other better,” he said.

Of course, Susan was upset since she wanted to share her own room. But Larry and Anne promised she could come with them each night to tuck her new brother in.

That is, if Danny agreed.


Anne pressed the signal button leading to the Visitor's Room and a friendly face suddenly peered through the door's observation window. A male supervisor buzzed the door open, giving a welcoming wave.

The Reynolds’s entered the waiting room area, and notice the colorful decor. Sounds of activity came from a hallway on the other side of the room.

Danny sees them, and bounded into the room with a cheerful look on his face. He's all lit up. "Hi. Everybody came," he said looking genuinely pleased.

"Hi son." A few tears suddenly appeared in Larry’s eyes. He still has a hard time saying "son." The word is too simple. It represents a powerful feeling based deep in the pit of his stomach. It grows in hurtful pain, and is nurtured in love.

Anne sat down on the long bench.

The boy deliberately placed himself between both adults. Walt sat on his dad’s right side, Susan beside her mother’s left.

Everyone waits to see who will speak first.

Larry grabs Danny's arm, then shakes his hand. He says aloud, "Everything’s going to be OK son, we're here now."

Danny looks around at his family once more. He feels like bawling.

Don't be taken in, the warning repeats itself in the man's brain. The bonding may take some time. Do you really mean anything to him? Those hurting words crossed the man's mind.

Danny deliberately moved his shoulders back and forth, brushing against his father and Anne. He feels secure between these two adults.

Larry watches his son's face.

The boy looks back, carefully assessing the man. Their interest in each other is only inches apart.

"Do you care about us son? Really care?"

"What do you mean?"

Anne knows Larry is deeply troubled by the possibility the boy may change his mind and not want to come and live with them. She is more objective about the train of events.

Walt and Susan are not so restrained. They want this boy, this brother. It's all they've been talking about. They lean towards him, hanging onto his every word.

"Do you really want to come home and live with us? No more running away? No more foster homes?" Larry’s questions keep coming like a wind buffeting a canoe. They're repetitive, but he wants Danny to be really sure about all of this.

Anne remembered how each of them battled the wind from the mainland to the island. Yes, her family was tough. They could handle this boy. Economy Lake will forever be in her memory, the good, the scary and the bad. This enlargement of their family can't be any worse for pressure, she thought.

"Yes." Danny finally answers Larry’s question.


"Because it will be better."


"Because you can do more things. Like I can go out with my new brother and sister." Then Danny turned and looked at each sibling, sizing them up. They did the same back to him.

"What about us? Anne and I?"

"You're my dad." The boy hesitated, then looked down and quietly said, "And now I have a new mom." Danny could barely look at Anne, feeling like a traitor to his own mom.

Anne understood and went to him. "I won't try to replace her," she said, her eyes moist. "But I want you to know something. I'll love you like my own son." She noticed Walt nodding his head.

Larry was afraid to ask any more questions. The boy might begin to make up answers just to please them. He's good at second-guessing, and quite capable of taking those around him off guard. That's why Danny's life up to this time had been full of contradictory conclusions.

But Larry knows better. He understands this boy. This is my son, our son. "No fooling now, do you really want to come home?"


"Prove it," Larry challenged his son, standing up and facing him.

The boy looked shyly around the visiting room. He noticed the distance between other inmates and their visitors. How they seemed to be embarrassed to be too close to each other. As if there was a game called "don't-show-any-emotion here, it's not cool."

Some were watching, curious the way this family was almost sitting on top of each other. There seemed to be some type of special bonding taking place.

A few parents and children were weeping, others sullen. It was not the sort of scenario for any demonstrative action. But Danny didn't care. He only had one weapon left in his arsenal of emotions. He stood up, walked over to his new mom, then bent down and wrapped his arms around her. "I love you," he said, kissing her on the cheek.

Then he turned to his dad. He tried hard to say something dramatic. Nothing came out. He was choking up and felt afraid. Would this man really give him another chance? He wondered.

Danny did the most natural thing anyone could do when they were both sad and happy. He didn't say anything. Tears and a huge hug for his dad said it all.

Then Danny added precious words along with wet cheeks. "I'm sorry for what I did to you and your family...my family."

Those words were what the children needed to hear. They almost knocked Danny down as they rushed at him. "Hi bro," Walt said, his smile almost breaking his face in two. Susan just stared. Another brother. "Yaak" she almost said out loud.

This unrehearsed act of acceptance for Danny by all members of his family made Larry feel really good, in fact ten feet tall. Anne smiled as tears appeared on her cheeks, too. She loved her husband so much, and just wanted him to be happy. She now had a 15 year-old son. The magnitude of the responsibility ahead was almost overwhelming.

Thank goodness there were still lots of time to get to know him better. She knew she already found a good place in her heart for him.

Yes, lots of room for one more.

The five of them huddled over the table and talked about when Danny might be coming home to stay. They knew the future could still be rocky, but they were willing to risk it.

"Son, no matter what, I love you and so does mom. Never forget that." Larry stood back and looked at his family, all of them.

"I know," the boy answered.

Larry looked at his son carefully. He stared into his face, trying to see any amused, cynical or cocky expression. There was none. The boy called Danny returned the gaze, eyes flicking to the left at his new mom. He was a bit uneasy, unable to figure them out. “After what I did at Economy Lake, you still want me?" he asked.

And everyone shouted, "Yesss!!!!"

He looked over this new set of parents, knowing he’d been through similar scenes before. But, this time he knew for sure, it was going to be different.

Danny now had a family, with a Mom and a Dad who loved him. And his very own brother and sister, too.

Now he can look forward to the future with hope.