Runaway Part 3
“I wouldn’t move if I were you, lad. You’ll only get yourself into more trouble.”
Without moving his head Levi peered out of the corner of his eye and saw a man about six feet pointing a pistol at him. On the man’s brown leather vest was a silver, five-pointed star.
Oh, no! the town sheriff. What did HE want? Levi was certain he had broken no law.
The man’s deep voice interrupted Levi’s thoughts. “All right, lad, turn around and don’t make any sudden moves.”
Levi turned around and faced the man. It was none other than. Chad Carter? “Ty Marshen, you are under arrest for charges of horse thiev’n and bank robbery.”
“But I did none of that.”
“It’s no use denying it. There were eye witnesses on both accounts.”
“Sheriff, really. I didn’t do none of it. Honest.”
“Changing your name to Troy Cunnings was a smart move, but the not-smart thing to do was to come here.” Re-holstering, Chad started walking toward Levi. He took the handcuffs out of his pocket.
Since the gun was holstered, Levi decided to take his chance with getting away. He dropped the lead line for the horse and started sprinting toward the coral, where he vaulted over the fence. Chad was shouting something and then there was a bang and then darkness.
“Oh, Mama, I’m sorry . . . sorry,” Levi muttered halfway between consciousness and unconsciousness.
“What’s he apologizing about?” Levi heard someone say.
“Is he dying? I just wish he hadn’t run off like that. According to the reports on this fella he was wanted dead or alive.”
The sound of voices whirled around Levi. The immense pain in his chest made him want to get sick to his stomach.
It seemed like seconds to Levi, but it was actually an hour.
“Sheriff Carter, I don’t know what you mean. Ty was imprisoned seven weeks ago, and he has a scar on his cheek. This boy doesn’t have one.” Ty Marshen’s sister had been brought to the doctor’s office to clarify that it was Ty. To everyone’s surprise it wasn’t the famous horse robber.
“Who is he then?” Levi heard Chad say. By the tone in his voice he could tell Chad was upset for shooting him.
Levi opened his eyes and squinted at the bright light. The doctor crossed the room toward the examining table where Levi lay. “Well boy, you sure had the sheriff sitting on pins and needles for a time. How do you feel?”
Levi shrugged and winced.” I guess I feel all right. My chest hurts.”
Chad came over and stood over the table. He made eye contact with Levi.
Levi dropped his eyes and gazed across the room where Mitch stood. For some reason he was there. Most likely he had found out Uncle Chad had shot me and came to find out what it was all about.
“So, is Troy Cunnings your real name or not? And don’t lie about it because it will only get you into more trouble.”
Levi didn’t say anything. He clamped his mouth shut and ground his teeth.
Chad sure hadn’t lost his bossy touch. Finally Levi shook his head.
“I thought so. Now, what is your real name?”
“Ain’t telling nothing,” Levi retorted stubbornly.
Mitch stepped away from the wall and said, “Chad, give him a break, for Pete’s sake. He just got shot, and you’re already interrogating him. Give him a little bit of time and he’ll come around.”
“Yes, I guess you’re right. Sorry about that, lad, but don’t think I’ve given up on finding out who you are and why you are here.”
With that final word, Chad left the doctor’s office. The doctor than turned to Mitch. “Mitchell, I know the boy getting shot was an accident and all, but I can’t let him stay here. I just don’t have the room, and he should have care given to him.”
“I’m sure it will be alright with Mother if he comes to live with us for a while.”
So it was settled. Levi would stay at the Circle C ranch while he recovered from the gunshot wound.
Three days later after work, Mitch came to pick up Levi. On the way to the ranch Mitch started talking. “Sorry about my brother shooting you. He was just doing his job.”
“Who did he think I was?” Levi questioned.
“Ty Marshen, a famous horse robber from around these parts. You do look like him though. In fact, Cory Blake hired you just so you could get caught, but I guess we were all mixed up. How old are you?
“ I’m um … sixteen.”
“Sixteen, eh? I have a nephew who would be about sixteen. Actually, he ran away from home three years ago.”
“How come?” Levi wanted to find out how people interpreted his running away.
“Well, what we think is after his pa died, and his ma remarried, he had trouble accepting the authority of another grownup. Kate was real upset by his running away. Anyways, I feel sorry for Kate, first losing her son, and then a daughter—”
Levi snapped his head to attention. “Did her daughter run away?”
“No, one of her daughters died.”
The rest of the way to the ranch Levi was quiet. He didn’t notice Mitch looking at him out of the corner of his eye.
That night, Elizabeth Carter had some news for the whole family. “In seven weeks Katherine and her family are going to come for a visit.”
“Wonderful, I can’t wait to see the girls again,” Andi exclaimed excitedly.
Inwardly, Levi was quaking. If his family came to visit, would they recognize him?