When they arrived at the house the truck was gone and Range pulled in the drive. They unloaded the car and went in.
“ Do you have some pain reliever?” She asked quietly.
He turned with concern, “ You ok?” He stood in front of her as if he would notice anything bad.
“I just have a headache.” Scarlet said.
He gave her the meds and a glass of water. She sat on the sofa and laid her head back and closed her eyes. Lucas and Range was opening his toys.
Range looked over and Scarlet had fallen asleep. He went a put a throw blanket over her. Lucas sat in the floor near her and play quietly. Range sat in his chair and watched tv. He thought just now that he hadn’t cried today. His sorrow seemed lighter. Scarlet pulled her legs under her at some point and had became more comfortable. About 10:00 he looked over and Lucas had fallen asleep on the rug. Range took a blanket and covered him up went and changed his clothes then went back to his chair. His bedroom was too lonely.
Sun poured in the windows as Scarlet stretched. She looked at the clock. 7:00 am. She hadn’t slept like that for a long time. She got up quietly and went to shower. She found her clothes folded on her bed. “Range.” She thought about
Him folding her private things and shuddered. She went to the kitchen and called her friend it was time to check in.
Scarlet punched the code to hide the number and dialed Rachel’s familiar number. She picked up. “ This is Rachel.”
“ Hey my friend!” Scarlet said.
“Scarlet! Are you ok? Where are you? I have so much to tell you!.” Rachel said.
“ I’m in Missouri. I am fine , Lucas is fine. We are at a farm right now . That’s a long story too. “
“Hes dead.”Rachel said.
Silence.....”what do you mean he’s dead?”
“ Bart got drunk and was driving hit a semi and died. I wished I could have reached you. “ Rachel said.
“When did it happen?” Scarlet asked.
“About two weeks ago. “ Rachel replied.
“ How is everyone else? Scarlet asked.
Doing great, we miss you. “ Rachel say.
“ I miss you too.” Scarlet said. “ Rachel let me call you back tomorrow ok. “ Scarlet requested.
“ Sure thing, now you can come home. “ Rachel said.
Scarlet hung up the phone and sat down in the chair at the table. Dead? For two weeks? She was free. She didn’t have to run anymore. She could get a bank account, a job, a car, a home. She had no feelings other than his eternal destiny. She cringed. “ Lord have mercy” she whispered. What would she tell Lucas? Would she tell him? She walked onto the porch and sat in the swing. A gentle push sat it in motion. She didn’t know what she should feel. Conflicted. That was the word. The screen door opened, Range stepped out. He had two cups of coffee. He handed her one and sat beside her. He waited for her to talk.
“ He’s dead. Drunk driving, he hit a semi. “ Scarlet said softly.
“ I see. Not sure what to feel?” Range asked.
“ Conflicted .” Scarlet replied.
“I don’t want to go back.” Scarlet said without thinking. “ I mean I can get a job now, a car and a home for me and Lucas. “ I can have a banking account again. “ she was caught up in her new freedom . “ I never wished death on him. “ she said as if to convince someone. “ Do I tell Lucas? What do I tell him. “ Scarlet was worried.
Range laid his hand on her shoulder and quietly said,”God will lead you.” He patted her shoulder then kicked the swing into motion. “ Let’s have muffins for breakfast today.” Range said.
She looked at him having recognized her needing some time. She nodded.
“ Can we miss this morning service? I’ll need some time with Lucas.” Scarlet knew he didn’t care.
“ Do you want to do it alone?” Range asked.
“ Not really.” Scarlet was nervous.
“ Tell you what, let me saddle some horses, you pack a lunch and some muffins. We will go on a trail picnic.” Range looked at Scarlet for approval.
“ That would be amazing!” She reached over and squeezed his hand,” Thank you.” Scarlet stood up and walked in the house to get ready.
She dug in the tote once again for a pair of jeans that would fit. The pair she found was large on her but she had found a belt from a dress she tied in a knot to keep them on. She seen a tee shirt it was black and had a flower on it. She put it on clearly too big but she had nothing else. She put her socks and tennis shoes on. She went to the bathroom and put her hair in a pony tail. Scarlet looked in the mirror. She wasn’t ugly but she had no flare. Her hair had some natural bounce to it. It was at least to the middle of her back. Brown hair with green eyes. Her skin sagged some from the weight she had lost. She had always been about 150-160, 5’5”. Now she was probably 110 maybe. She left the room and went and got Lucas.
“ I have a surprise for you!” Scarlet sing-songed.
“ What is it Mommy?” He asked sleepily.
“ Let’s get you dressed and you will find out. “ She had started undressing him. Scarlet let him pick his outfit out and he got his new boots. When he was done he look like a mini Range. They went to the kitchen and he sat down at the table. She gave him a muffin and some milk. He ate it and drank it fast. “ I need you to run to the restroom before we leave.” Scarlet finished some ham sandwiches. She look around for something to go with it. She found a bag of chips in the cabinet and put some in a baggie to take along. She grabbed some muffins and put them in a soft cooler with an ice pack. She grabbed a wash cloth and wet it and put in a baggie for cleaning hands. Then found a tool of toilet paper for the trip. She had a small backpack she put the extra things in. Lucas had gotten finished and was playing with his toys and Scarlet went to the restroom once more then told Lucas to come.
When they gout to the porch three horses were saddled and ready.
“ Lucas, don’t ever walk behind the horse they could kick. Stay calm and respect them ok.” Range gave instructions. Scarlet waited on Range to tell her which horse would be hers for the day. She recognized Dandy. “ You will ride Dandy she is used to Caroline and is very gentle. This is Clyde, my horse, and Lucas will ride Rebel. “ Range lifted Lucas onto the young pony. Scarlet lift her foot to the stirrup. He seen she had on tennis shoes.
“ what size shoe are you?” Range asked.
“ 8” she said.
“ Go into my room and in the closet is Caroline’s old boots try them on. “ Range instructed.
Scarlet came back with boots on. She again tried to get her foot in the stirrups am, succeeded and hoisted herself onto the horse. She patted Dandy,” Good girl Dandy” Range looked at her funny. “ What?”
“ Caroline used to do the exact same thing.” He shook his head and smiled. He climbed onto his horse then took the lead rope to Lucas’ horse and they left.
Range went behind the barn and behind the pond into the trees, a path had been cut into the woods. Lucas sat on Rebel as proud as a peach. Range chuckled. Free about 45 minutes of riding they came to a cabin and in front of it was a pond that had a dock , a picnic table. There was a boat tied to the dock. By the cabin was a post to tie horses to. Range got Lucas down and gave the horses some water then motioned for them to follow. He went to the dock and he helped them all climb in. He put a life jacket on Lucas and asked Scarlet, “ Can you swim?”
“ Yes” she replied. Ok so this pond is only about 20 ft in the deepest part. Most of it is really shallow. We have to be careful where we take the boat. This was Another one of Caroline’s doing. “
“ Ok.” Scarlet knew he was only informing her.
They went to the middle of the pond and got a fishing pole for Lucas. Then he got him one. He showed Lucas how to bait the hook.
“ This is my first time fishing. well it’s my first time riding a horse too. And my first time in a boat.” Lucas was overjoyed.
“ It’s my first time too. “ Scarlet admitted.
Lucas got a bite on his line and Range showed him what to do. Within minutes he reeled in a 2 lb blue hill.
“ way to go buddy!” Scarlet said excited
“ Wow Lucas first catch of the day. Now he’s so small let’s toss him back in ok?” Range explained.
Ok.” Lucas couldn’t wait to get his line back in the water.
“ Lucas, do you remember your dad?” Scarlet asked Lucas.
“ Well I don’t remember what he looks like a lot but I remember he wasn’t very nice to us. That’s why we hid Mommy.” He said shyly.
“ Well Lucas how do you feel about that?” Scarlet asked softly.
“ I was so afraid that he would hurt us and I was scared he would find us but I’m not afraid since we came here to Mr. Range’s house. And we are sorry for hiding in your barn Mr. Range but we was very
“It’s ok Buddy.” Range assured him.
“Do you remember Rachel, my friend?” Scarlet asked.
“ Sort of.” He said.
“ I talked to her today and she told me your dad was in an accident.” Scarlet went slow as not to overwhelm him. “ He was driving and hit a semi truck, and he didn’t make it. “ Lucas looked at his mom. “ He died.” She managed to say.
Lucas studied her face for a long time. “ Are you sad Mommy?”
Scarlet’s heart sank. Sad? No. Sad for his soul? Yes. For her she was empty of feelings for him. She was happy not to have to hide from him or to worry about him taking Lucas from her in the middle of the night as so many nights before. She no longer had to hide from the world of which she wanted to be a part of. But right now to this 4 year old who just found out his biological father just passed away. She was sad. Sad that Lucas wouldn’t ever have a biological father who loved and cared for him. “Give him an answer!” She mentally yelled at herself.
“ Buddy I am sad about all the things he is missing in your life because you are a terrific boy, and I am sad that he didn’t know Jesus.” Scarlet mustered the best answer she could.
“Ya that’s sad. “ Lucas said. “ Mommy?
“ Yes Bud?” Scarlet answered.
“ We don’t have to run and hide anymore, ” Lucas said.
“ Never again!” She put him on her lap and hugged him. She cupped his little face and looked him in his eye as she had so many other times and said.” Lucas I love you so much and I promise you and I will never run away again!”
He hugged her and when she let him go he grabbed his fishing pole and said as cute as ever,”I got some fishing to do now!”
Scarlet and Range looked at each other and started laughing but Lucas was laughing too. It was if a weight had been lifted off both Scarlet and Lucas’ shoulders.