Childhood Memories

(*Note: I do not know when this fic was written, obviously a long times ago, probibly in late 2001. This fic was a joint effort by Hilery Davenport aka Scoot and my self Chet Duke aka Dee. Also this story is a second generation story. Enjoy…..~Chet Duke. )

By: Hilery Davenport & Chet Duke
**Dedicated to: The everlasting friendship of two authors.**

It was a rather cool autumn afternoon and Chet Duke was finishing up his evening chores before supper. A very special supper mind you, one that was a thankful reminder of a found friendship with the Davenports.
His third cousin Wyatt was helping him. They were putting the wood into a pile after chopping it because of the cold chill in the air. They were freezing their butts off. Breyer, Chet’s twin brother, was feeding the goat and checking on the few chickens they had still. Jessie was inside with her father cooking supper.
Chet buttoned up his jean jacket to conceal the warmth, Wyatt tightened the collar on his coat as well.
“Hope supper is done soon I’m starving.” Wyatt said looking at his cuz.
“I know what you mean Wyatt,” Chet said blowing into his hands to warm them.

“Boys, hurry it up, I want a fire going by the time Cooter and Hilery get here,” Bo called out to them. Supper was almost done, and the Davenport cousins would be there in a few.

“OK.” Chet hollered to his dad as he still continued to work. He stopped his work for a moment and lit a cigarette careful that his father wasn’t watching.
“Chet . . .” Wyatt said seeing the cigarette, he wasn’t going to say anything though. He knew his cousin could kick his butt. It was only a few seconds later that Hilery and Cooter pulled up.
Chet blew smoke through his nose and ignored his cousin, he knew his cousin wouldn’t quarrel with him and he wouldn’t tell Bo, his father either.

“Hi Chet, Wyatt,” Hilery said jumping out of the tow truck grinning. “Is the eats done or what,” she asked.
“Hello Hilery.” Chet said putting the cigarette behind him before she could get a chance to see him.

“Foods almost ready.” Wyatt told her.
“What smells like cigarette smoke?” She asked, but turned anyway and ran into the house to see everyone.

“If I find out ya’lls is smoking, I’m gonna tell Bo and Daisy,” Cooter said before following.

Chet watched them go inside ignoring the warning. He then went inside to start a fire as his father had told him after he convinced Wyatt to hold his cigarette which he reluctantly did. When Chet came back out, he took his tobacco product back and stuck it back in his mouth.

After about another fifteen minutes, supper was being served. There were smiles all around the table, and a bunch of laughter.

“Ya’ll remember when I first met ya’ll?” Hilery asked, laughing. “I thought we would never get along. Heck, I thought that Chet would be forever running from me!”

Chet nodded, and supressed a laugh, preparing a toast to there friendship. “Heres too all times, good and bad.” Chet said raising his glass, his mind and a few others suddenly wandered to another time…

*********************

The sun had shown brightly, but the day had been unusually crisp, much more than it was the day of their feast. Things hadn’t been going well for anyone. Chet was having problems in school, and all the adults had been worried over Cooter. Thirteen year old Chet and Fifteen year old Wyatt had been curious as to what was going on, but no one was willing to tell them.

Chet’s stood in the old farm house shouting at the top of his lungs. “If that dumba** hadn’t taken my book and dumped my papers on the floor I wouldn’t have started a fight,” he shouted at his father, Bo Duke.

“Watch your language boy,” Bo said sternly. “If you don’t I’ll give you even more extra chores than I already have.”

“Yeah and I won’t do them like the last time you gave me extra!” Chet shouted back, he stood in the kitchen door way, his jean jacket unbuttoned and a black cap on his head.

“That’s it, git to your room right now,” Bo yelled pointing, before the phone rang. He moved towards it, keeping an eye on his stubborn son. “At least Wyatt wasn’t in the fight like he normally is, but that was because he’s finally over at the High School,” Bo mumbled before picking up the phone.

Chet dashed out the door at his chance to escape; he ran for the woods and a short cut to town. He was supposed to meet his gang of buddies there in less then 15 minutes.

“Chet Hugh Duke, get your rear end back here!” Bo yelled, covering the phone with his hand. It was no use. His son was 13 years old, and never listened. “Sorry ’bout that Cooter. How’s your cousin?” Bo asked the town mechanic over the phone.

Chet ran nonstop to town, but back at the farm Bo was talking to Cooter. “She’s stubborn as ever, cant never make her happy.” Cooter said then said ouch that hurt with a laugh over the phone.

“Yeah, how’s she recovering from the accident? I know it’s been a couple of months, but still, emotional damage takes a while to recover from. At least you’ve been allowed to have her home schooled for a while-”

“She starts school at the Junior High next week, Bo,” Cooter said. His cousin was making the best of her time from what he could see. He needed to try to make a few less comments about her. It was his last comment about her stubborness that caused her to throw the television remote at him. Didn’t matter to her any, she was reading a book.

Chet had to meet his friends at the west corner of the town square, in order to do that he had to pass by Cooter’s open garage door. He lit a cigarette and waited for the right moment listening to Cooter talking on the phone. When he felt it was the right time he began to creep slowly by, cigarette in mouth and in deep concentration.

“Howdy,” a young teenage girls voice said. She was standing in the doorway, a book hanging down at her side in her clasp.

Chet stopped and looked her up and down for a moment just staring. He hadn’t ever seen her around Hazzard before; he had seen all the girls in Hazzard but never her. He took a drag from the his cigarette and finally found his voice. “Hello.”

She looked at the cigarette and shook her head. “Them’s thin’s are nasty. I’ve never touched ’em and never will,” she said.

He chuckled at the way she said that, he even shook his head. “You should run along and play.” Chet said as he continued to walk towards the west corner of Hazzard Square.

She cocked her head at him and laughed slightly. “I’m new ’round here,” she said grinning. “Can I comes with ya?” she asked him innocently, not a hint of how much trouble she really could be.

He shook his head no and kept on walking, there was no way in the world that he was gonna take the girl to hang with him and his buddies. Cooter hung up the phone with Bo just about that time and came up behind his second cousin. “Who ya talkin’ to?”

“I dunno, some boy.” She said and pointed to him as he walked across the square. “I think he thinks I’m a lil’ kid,” the teenager said looking at Cooter.

“I know you ain’t a lil’ kid Hilery. You’re thirteen years old. “Cooter told her and gave her a hug. “But it don’t mean I can’t be protective of ya.” He grinned and dodged a playful swat before giving her another hug. She was doing a lot better than she had been about five months ago.

Cooter glimpsed up from the hug to look at the male teenager Hilery had been talking to as he walked across town square. He recognized the kid, all to well and he returned his gaze back to Hilery. His facial _expression changed but still friendly to her.

“What’s wrong cuz?” She asked him. He shook his head.

“Nothing,’ but I do know that boy. He can be a lot of trouble,” Cooter said. ‘Probably as much as you are,’ he thought, keeping the comment to himself. ‘Maybe even more, he could just plain be trouble.’ Cooter thought in his mind without saying aloud.

“Who is he,” Hilery asked putting her hand on the shoulder of his coveralls to get his attention.

Chet met up with the gang, a pack of older boys and a few girls. Cooter could see them across Hazzard Square, standing by the corner of the building. Chet was exchanging a dollar he had earned for a pack of Marlboro Cigarettes with one of the older boys.

“Oh man, Bo’s not gonna be happy,” the mechanic mumbled shaking his head. He looked at his cousin who was looking at him with a questioning glance. “Bo’s an old friend of mine, and that’s his son,” Cooter informed her. “Here, why don’t you go down to the Cafe’ and get something to eat, and get me a ham sandwich. You should know by now how I like my sandwiches,” he said giving her some money, then watched her walk to the cafe’.

*ONE WEEK LATER*

Chet groaned, it was 8th period and the last class of the day. The girl he had seen one week before was in everyone one of his classes, except auto body. She had followed him outside for lunch earlier that day and crossed the line. “Don’t follow me, go away.” He stood on the corner smoking a cigarette with the team of older fellas.

“Free country,” she said stubbornly. “Sides, I can do what I want.” Chet was getting annoyed with her.

“Look girlie, leave me alone. I don’t even know who you are,” he said. The teachers hadn’t exactly introduced her to the classes, or they had and Chet wasn’t in the room when they did. He was usually a little late.

“No,” She told him smugly.

“GO AWAY!” Chet became furious and shouted at her. A colored kid, at about 14 years of age and twice Chet’s size gave him a push and taunted him. “Go play with the little girl Duke, that’s where you belong.” The colored boy said. Chet turned around fast and punched the boy square in the nose, breaking it and blood poured onto the concrete. Hilery’s eyes were huge and she stood there froze in her tracks.

“Wow…” She breathed. “I ain’t seen a person do something like that in a while,” She said. She wanted to hit the boy too, but, she had decided against it. The young teenage girl wanted a good record for at least the first week at her new school.

Chet took off and wasn’t seen for the rest of the day after the last period of the school day, not a person knew where he went until 8:30 PM that night when he came home. His father sitting in the living room with a stern look on his face. “Best get the green switch boy and make it a good one.” Bo said avoiding another shouting match.

“Why?” Chet asked. “That jerk started it, make fun of me…” he muttered, fuming.

“Chet, how many times do I have to tell you no fighting at school, I have tried every punishment I know of sides this, now go,” Bo told him as Wyatt walked into the room.

“‘Bout dang time you got home. We were supposed to do our homework together, and Cooter said he was coming over to supper tonight.” Wyatt told him. “He also said he has his second cousin living with him now,” he grinned.

Chet frowned at Wyatt and snapped at him to get outta the kitchen door way, he was going to get a green switch. There was no way of escaping the switch that his father used on him, when it was all over Chet slept in the barn that night by choice and wouldn’t touch supper.

Bo had unfortunately canceled the supper plans so it didn’t make much difference. It wasn’t like he missed much by not coming to the table. The next four days Chet stayed home, and then there was the weekend. Monday came around all too fast. That same blonde girl was still in his classes.

Come lunch she walked over carrying hers and asked him if she could sit with he and his friends. Some of them had snickers on their faces, and laughed at her. One of them even went as far as knocking her lunch out of her hands. Her temper flared and she looked at the guy trying to keep it in check. “Buy me another lunch, now,” She muttered. The guy laughed even harder until she punched him in the stomach and kneed him in the nose when he bent over from having the wind knocked out of him.

“Hey cuz,” Wyatt said when he found Chet later that day. The boy had run to the woods when he had left the school. “Bad news, Bo’s furious,” he said. Chet looked at him from sitting on the rock and shrugged his shoulders.

“Why, so Bo can tan my hide?” Chet said starting to walk deeper into the woods. Wyatt pursued him, he knew Bo would take the switch to him.

“Well, maybe if we just talked to him or had Luke talk to him,” Wyatt said thinking. “Just be glad I know not to tell him you were callin’ him by his first name again…” Something caught his eye and he turned to look in its direction.

Chet didn’t stop walking, he didn’t care who or what reason Wyatt had stopped. He started to walk faster, in the back of his mind he hoped it wasn’t his father.

“Howdy lil’ lady, can I help ya?” Wyatt said seeing Hilery sitting there sheepishly.

“Yeah… I was walking through and I was on the trail, I seen a cougar and ran,” she said looking at him. “Then I seen you and Chet talking, I know him from school, and I couldn’t help but to eaves drop because I wanna get to know him and be friends with him.” She spoke shyly. “I was explorin’ this area ’cause its on my cousins property.”

Chet stopped and looked over his shoulder and took off at a dead run and disappeared outta sight. He didn’t stop running for nearly 4 miles, by then he was at Hazzard pond outta breath and tired. Climbing a tree to hide, he sat on a large branch catching his breath, then he lit a cigarette and hoped no one was following him.

That girl was just annoying in his own opinion. He hated girls unless he was dating them. He took a deep drag on the cigarette and looked out over the pond. It was beautiful, but he wasn’t paying any attention to any of it. He was mostly deep in thought about how he could keep that chick out of his hair.

Back in the woods though, Wyatt was talking with Hilery, and he was shocked. She was a terror from what he could tell by listening to her. she even mentioned what she did to that boy at school who knocked her lunch out of her hands.

The water was like glass in the autumn sunshine but Chet would have rather been hangin’ with the guys at town square. Standing around, smoking, have a great conversation about cars and the future.

The only thing stopping him though was he knew some folks knew he hung out with those people and he knew that someone would probably tell his father where he was, and then he’d get a butt kickin’.

Chet had already promised himself that he wasn’t going back home, so he set off on foot, with nothing but the cloths on his back and his lunch money in his pocket. He set off for Atlanta, hitching a ride 5 miles before the county border with a trucker.

When he finally got to Atlanta, he spent the night in an alley. Come morning his stomach was growling and he decided to walk to a nearby restaurant, see what he could get for what little money he had.

The young Duke sat down on a stool at the bar of the cafe since he was only one person and didn’t need to take up a table. The cashiers desk was to his right. A middle aged waiter took his order and brought it to him in a short time later.

The meal was meek and small, but it was enough for now until he could make some money. Chet didn’t even turn when a group of boys came in. They were the same ones that he hung out with after school normally.

“Well, well, well, if it isn’t Chet Duke. Wanna help us with something?” One boy asked. The young Duke shook his head no. He just wanted to eat in peace.

Chet just continued with the meak meal in front of him. He didnt want any trouble with the gang of older guys. He just wanted to eat and leave. He tried desperatly to ignore them but they just wouldnt leave him alone.

“Oh well,” another boy said. “Guess we’ll just have to take you hostage,” he said then pulled a gun out of his coat. “Give me all the money in the cash register honey, and you won’t get hurt,” he said to the young casheer. The waiter looked at the gun wide eyed. He was frozen and the girl wept as she emptied the register and put the money into a bag. Another boy had taken a gun out and had it pointed on Chet. “C’mon buds. We’re really sorry about this, but you had your chance,” he said pulling the Duke out the door.

They were many, and Chet was one. There was just no way he could take them all on. The gun didn’t scare him none like it once did his father and Luke, but they had the gun on the nice young lady at the register, one wrong move could mean her life and he would be held at fault for not doing anything to stop them. Chet couldnt bear being held to blame for the womens death even if it meant his own. He put a snappy plan together in his head. With one quick motion he grabbed the wrist of the guy who held the gun on him and forced it to point to the firearm into the air. The guy at the register turned and fired at Chet wounding him in the back of his right shoulder, then he turned back to the lady at the register.
“Get him out of here and into the truck bed!” the boy yelled as chet collapsed. After a few more minutes, the robbery was done, and they were running out the door. There were no police in sight which wasn’t good. The waiter picked up the phone behind the counter and called for the police. By the time they got there, the kids were long gone. Half of them traveling in the truck bed with the wounded Duke and the money, the other half in the cab.
Chet was concious but was fairly unaware of his surrounding until he was thrown into a room on a hard floor. “No funny business!” The leader said slamming the door behing him.
Chet looked at him as he did, and then sat up. His shoulder was burning with pain. He hoped that he could get away before he died. What had possessed him to hang out with those guys? He shook the thought away before examaning the room.

**meanwhile at the duke farm*

“Where’d that stupid kid run off to this time…i swear hes more trouble then a sack of rattle snakes!” Bo shouted from the kitchen. Breyer and Wyatt sat in the living room covering there ears.
“Dad, we don’t know where he is, atleast I don’t. I can’t answer for Wyatt though. He probably knows,” Breyer mumbled.

“Look for the millionth time, I do not know where Chet is!” Wyatt shouted.

“Well no ones leaving until we find him, or until someone speeks up and tells me were he is.” Bo said sitting down in the living room with a sarcastic ‘better give me the truth’ look on his face.

“I don’t know where he is!” Wyatt yelled and shook his head. “Look. Last I seen him was yesterday and then he was running off after I found some chick in the bushes eaves droppin’ on us! She claims to be related to Cooter.”

“I ain’t seen him since lunch yesterday, and even then he ignored me like he normally does.” Breyer told his father.

“Think the girl would know where he is?” Bo asked more honestly with then now wondering about Cooters new relitive staying with him.

“No, she stayed and talked with me as he ran off. She seems pretty nice, but she’s a hellion from what I gather from when we was talkin'” Wyatt said before getting a look to watch his language.

Bo just shook his head and headed for the phone book. “I guess I should call the athorities.” He said starting to dial the phone, it didnt seem like anyone knew where he was. Breyer turned the TV on to watch the news like everyone one did at 6:00pm.

What greeted him was the sight of the resturaunt Chet had eaten breakfast at. It showed the blood stains on the floor, and the whole thing was roped off with police tape. A reporter was in the forground and speaking.

“Earlier today, this resturaunt was robbed. There was no reports of death so far, but someone was shot. The same 13 year old boy was taken hostage. His wearabouts are unknown at the current time. Back to you Alfred.” The reporter said as the phone rang.

Everyone started to get up, but Bo stoped them. “Ive go it.” He said answering the phone. “Duke residence Bo speeking.”

“This is the Atlanta Police Department,” a man said on the other end of the phone. “You might want to sit down.” The officer paused giving Bo a few minutes. “Mr. Duke, are you watching the news?”

“Yes Sir Iam, Why? Whats going on?” Bo asked taking the officers advice and taking the phone in the living room to sit down.

“Mr. Duke, you are the father of Chet Duke correct?”

“Oh good lord, yeah Iam.” Bo said shaking his head in disbeleaf, his mind was already exspecting the worse. He had been hell on wheels as a child runing along side his couisn Luke who had worked so hard to help his uncel keep him inline.

“Your son was the one shot at the resturaunt on the news. We know who he is only because we found his wallet. He’s not being charged with anything with the robbery because he tried to stop it, but we do believe he knows who robbed the bank. That is probably why they took him. He was shot because he tried to get away from them. We’ll try to keep you informed.” Bo heard him say.

Bo covered his face with one hand and looked at his other son and Wyatt as he hung up the phone. He suddenly handed the phone to Breyer. “I want you to call everyone we know and tell them that Chet has be taken hostage because he witnessed a robery in Alanta city.” Bo said in a shoked state of mind.

“You mean he was the one who the news was…” Breyer asked. Bo nodded. Wyatt snagged the phone quickly and began punching in numbers. He was pretty sure he knew who the boys were.
***MEANWHILE …. Chets POV***

I’m laying on a floor covered in my own blood, I could feel it running down my right arm from the burning hole in my sholder. It was more then I could bare, not a muscle in my body wasnt screaming out in pain. 13 was a too young of an age to die, I have so much to do with my life yet, am i gonna beable to stop it from ending here? The memories of the past race through my head, if my life ended right here in this strange place would everyone know how much I truely cared about them. Would the rare specks of love I gave them in the past be enough to last if it all ended right here. I’d never get the chance to thank my father for looking out for me, my brother for hanging with me when no one else would and Wyatt, how could I thank him for so many times of lending and ear just to listen…how would they all know.

Then my mind wandered to yesterday and the few days before. If I hadn’t been in that fight, and if htat girl hadn’t been following me, this would have never happened, i would have never run away, i think quietly as I hold back the tears. She had done a number on wilson too. I try not to chuckle at what she did. Maybe she would have made a good friend to hang with, although, i guess not because of my reputation. I shake my head though. I just hope someone will figure out what happened and get me the hell out of here.

*BALLADEER*

Outside of the room Chet could hear his kidnapers talking, although muffeled he could make out most of there conversation.

“It’s a real shame Chet had to turn on us like he did,” one said. Another clearly agreed with him.

“Yeah, he made a great friend, real shame. He had real potential for us.”

Meanwhile in hazzard, everyone in the family was at the Duke farm, Hilery and Cooter included.

“Nice to see you again miss,” Wyatt said as he opened the door and let her and her cousin in. “I just wish it was under better circumstances,” he added mumbling. Chet was his best friend.

“Like wise.” Hilery answered taking a seat in the living room among the adults. Even the youngsters belived they had part in this, since the kid napers were of there turf. Hilery sat next Breyer and Wyatt on the floor, all elders took a seat on the sofa.

Bo went through the highlights of the situation. Young Jessie sat with the other teenagers.

“Chet don’ like me much, but i’m still gonna help,” Hilery said smugly. Cooter chuckled at her dispite the situation.

Breyer gave her a grin, he genuinely admired her and even more. She was full of life and different then alot of hazzard girls but just teh same she fit right like a poka dot among the rest.

“Well, how are we gonna find them?”Wyatt asked after taking a good look at Breyer. That was a look that was seldom seen.

“Well, from teh discription of the truck, i would say its the manson boys.” Luke said.

“and chet hangs out with them…” Bo said finishing his statment.

“Ain’t there a cabin abandoned on their property?” Breyer asked taking his eyes off Hilery.

Breyer had to pry his eyes from the girl with a crow bar just make his statement question. His brother was in grave danger and they had to find him. “Yeah they do have a cabin on there property, I went up there with Chet once to…” Wyatt cut off thinking of an excuse for the real reason they had gone up there. They had gona up there to have a booze party, at what they called a sleep over. “to uh..sleep over.” He finally said finding a white lie.

Daisy gave her son a good hard look, knowing there was more to it but she would deal with it later. Breyer, no matter how much he tried to avoid those things, had probably been with them too.

“Well, shall we go check it out?” Jessie asked.

“Actually, they have been known to be quite dangerous jessie,” Luke told her. SHe looked at her father wiht big puppy dog eyes.

“No Jessie, you can stay here wiht me sugar,” Daisy said giving the girl a hug. “That goes for you too Hilery.” Cooter did a double shot at Daisy. His face looked like it was fearing something.

“Uh, i’m not staying,” Hileyr said.

“Yes you are.” Luke told her. Bo agreed with him.

“Uh, would now be a bad time to mention she has a school record as bad as Chets?” Cooter asked.

“I’m commin’ end of arguement,” she said angrily before getting up and going onto the porch.

Chet dozed in and out of a painfull threatening sleep, he fought it off the first 2 hours but as night grew near and he lost more blood. His fight became harder and harder.

Soon after he dozed, one of the boys walked in. He took a burning hot pot and stuck the bottom of it against chets injuries to stop the bleeding and to disinfect it. Chet woke up angrily and tried fighting him. When the manson boy had pressed the pot to both teh entrence and exit wounds, he walked out, leaving chet in teh room once again.

Chet didnt feel any better, if anything he felt worse and weaker. He was dozing off into the threatening darkness again when one the gang entered. Chet looked up at him, watery eyes of pain, he didnt dare say much and turned his eyes away.

“You know, this is your own danged fault, you being in this condition, right?” He asked the Duke.

Chet shrugged he didnt car what Greg the older boy had to say and he refused to make eye cantact from where he sat on the floor.

“Look at me!” he yelled and kicked Chet in the stomach. He still refused to look at him, so he picked chets head up by the hair. “And here I thought I could reason with you. I guess we’ll have to wait till you’re feeling better. Maybe then we can talk. I mean, i always figured you’d like to be rich like we’ll be when we knock over a few banks, few more resturaunts, and so forth. Apparently, you’re too stupid to side with us. I thought you was one of us. It’s a shame really.” he said with mock sympathy, then started laughing in chets face. He slammed chet back down and laughed all the more.

Chet thought about the proposel for a moment, he decided that it might be his chance to get away if he teamed up with theses guies. He would go on a few robberies then split and never be found, his answer would also catch them off gaurd. Chet had suddenly agreed to join the gang of older boys, just outta the blue.

Meanwhile, three young people were trudging towards the cabin on foot. They had a plan. Bo, Luke, and Cooter hadn’t liked it and denounced it, but hte three younguns slipped otu come night fall. In the dark, they had located a trail, and were on their way. They crept slowly adn stealthely.

“Stop right there,” the three kids heard someone say. Each turned slowly to see one of the manson boys. He held a rifle and it was trained on them.

“There you are… hey uh… we know you robbed that resteruant, nice goin,” Wyatt said. Breyer agreed and Hilery, she looked at the boy. The exression spelling she was just cruel and mean. Well, that isn’t the true case for her, she just wanted to make it believable.

The gang members didnt understand right away, they were pathetically confused and unsure

They sat with Chet in the corner. he was in a chair with the ohters eyeing him cautiously. Everyone turned and looked up from talking to him to see one of their buds drag the three others into the room

“found ’em just to the east. Say they wanna join us,” He said. “Whats he doing out anyway?”

“He’s decided to do whats best for himself and join us,” one of the gathered three near chet said. When Chet looked up, he was shocked to see his cousin nad brohter, but even more surprised to see the brat that had been tagging alogn and followin ghim everwhere and had been driving him nuts for hte last few days.

cHet laughed alittle to himself, he would have ratherd they stayed away, now his plan was spoiled. But hey he thought lets see how long they last on the wild side.

“Who’s the girl?” one of them finally asked looking her up and down.

“A pip-squeek from the city, I reckon.” Chet said lighting a cigg and offering a lite to another member of the gang.

“City? Get real” She asked walking over to him then poking him in his injured shoulder. “I’m country honey, grew up in Chocktaw and chickasaw,” She said menecingly before going back over to where hte ohters stood. “And i ain’t a pipsqueek,” She muttered.

Chet stoke his foot out and triped her, she nearly fell on her face. “Yeah country girl alright. Hit me again and you’ll be a dacin chickin!” Chet said angerly rudding his tender sholder.

“Excuse me?” She said, seathing. Chet didn’t expect her to do anything, but none the less he wound up with a fist in the face.

Although Chet got hooked in the chin he caught the second punch she threw. He grabed her by the wrist as he got to his feet, he twisted her arm behind her. The pain in her arm brought her to the floor; “Enough funny BS, i dont play games!” He said finally realeasing her as tears came to her eyes with out intention.

“You okay?” Wyatt asked as he and Breyer helped her up. She nodded as Chet’s twin took her into a hug. The grin that flashed across his face was one Chet had rarely seen and he had to try hard to supress a laugh.

“okay, enough of this. We know you and Breyer qualify to join us Wyatt, but we need to know if she does. Probably don’t if Chet kicked her butt that fast,” The boy who had brought them in said. “She has to prove herself soem how,” he laughed.

“How good can ya swim?” Chet asked taking a draf on his cigg and giving her an evil look. His mind was brewing and he was scraing his brother and cousin, he had changed so much behind there backs and they hadnt relised it till now. They could tell he wasnt acting, this was real.

“I can swim good,” She said, a challange apparent in her voice.

“We’ll see.” Chet said as he went into the back room and came back with 2 50lbs bags of sand and a 10 foot rope. He motioned everyone to come with him, they walked out to the pond. “This pond is nearly 20ft deep.” He told Hilery as he tied one end the rope around her feet and the other end on the sand bag. He did the same, then nodded his head to the gang. “I’ll give you a head start, make it to the surface alive and your in.” Chet said and he was pushed off the bridge into the water, sand bag pulling him down and down. Hilery was next.

She looked down and gulped before she got shoved. Breyer and Wyatt watched unsure of what to do. They were being held back by a couple of the fellas so they didn’t interfear.
“SHE”LL DROWND!” Breyer said struggling alittle with the guy hold ing him. Chet sank to the bottum, he had planed on his wound screaming out in pain. He cut the ropes in the merky water with his knife then the girls with out her knowing the slightest. He surfaced emeditly reverting to a back float clutching his wound that had re opened from the swim, he breathed hard waiting for her.

Hilery had felt the tug of the bag dissipate and realized the rope had come undone some how, not realizing it had been cut. She swam gracefully to the surface, hten to shore after splashign chet. He looked at her not hinting at waht had happened.

The lead gang member nodded, she had done it and passed the test. Chet agreed and took a quick glimsp at Hilery again, he wondered did she know he had helped her. He followed behind the leader tearing his eyes from her, his answer wasnt there.

She knew very well the rope had come loose and she had her suspicions. Everyone of the three who had come to rescue chet looked at each other and a silent decision of some sort seemed to have passed through them without anyone elses knowledge. It was time to put things into motion. “Hey larson, wanna go someplace where we can talk?” Hilery asked.

“Sure.” Teh guy said with a excited grin.

“Well c’mon then,” she said and took him by the hand, leading him into the woods away from the others. The grin never dissappeared from his face, infact, it just went brighter when she kissed him on the cheek.

He grined a mile wide, letting Hilery lead him away. She took him by the hand, leading him further away, untill she lead him to a spot with a blanket already sprawled out. The moonlight made it seem romantic, and a cooler of food was sitting righ tnext to it. She lead him over to it, adn he went to sit down, then everything went black. Hilery hit him in the back of hte head. Then she took a chain out of a hollowed out tree, and chained him up. When she was done. she put him in a small shack about ten feet away. The spot had once been someones old still site.

Hilery returned when she had forfilled her plan, Chet sat outside widling while the rest were inside the cabin. Hilery entered and took a seat on an old wooden chair. “Where lason?” One of the gang membes asked.

“He said something about he had something he had to take care of,” She told him, then sat down near Wyatt and Breyer.

“Where’s chet?” She asked them. They told her. No one had heard anything they said amongst themselves. Chet could hear the conversation going on inside, he continued on killing time.

“So what did you an’ larson talk about sugar,” anohter guy asked. Hilery kenw if she could luar this one away, then things would be even for the guys to take over.

“Not much. Just ’bout fishin’ and rifles,” She told him.

Chet grinned and held back a laugh from outside in the evening moon light.

“I think i’lll go outside and get some air. Wanna come handsome?” She asked him. He nodded, though, not as eager as the last boy had been. Chet steped off the poarch and went around the corner of the building outta site.

“I’m onto you girl,” He said grinning. “I figured you were trouble, and larson hasn’t come bakc yet. he had no business to attend to because it ahs to be previously cleared with me.” he said grabbing her arm. Chet watched in shock as she kicked his tail end. Another guy had come out though to see what ws going on.

Chet steped up on the poarch and grabed the guy aorund the neck until he passed out from lack of oxgyen. He layed him down on the poarch and disapeared from site. Hilery turned around and saw the guy laying there out cold.

“Hmm,i wonder what happened to him,” she asked to no one besides herself. The ohter boy, the leader was out of it also. She returned inside and seen antoher brawl happening between the ohter two boys and the two dukes in the room. It didnt take long for Breyer and Wyatt to get things under control. That is, after throwing the guys all over the room adn taking some massive blows themselves. Breyer moved over to the CB and called for Rosco, while Wyatt and Hilery moved outside to find Chet.

Again Chet had made a second thought choice and a run for it, runing through the woods he was almost impossible to track at night. It took only about ten or fifteen minutes for Sheriff Rosco to get there to arrest the boys. He shook his head though after hearing about Chet running off again.

“I guess if he don’t show up by morning, I’ll go lookin’ for him. No use in it now, its too dark,” Rosco told them. He left after the manson boys were all in his patrol car, leaving Enos to take them all home. Cletus meanwhile was on teh CB talking with Bo, Luke, and Cooter, letting them know the kids were all okay, althought they didn’t know Chet’s wearabouts, but he was alive.

Everyone went to bed that night, almost like a usual day for everyone, Bo prayed that where ever Chet was he was alright. Some how deep inside he knew his son was alright and he slept piecefully. At about 1:00am Chet climbed up the poarch posts of the old farm house and opened the window to his and Breyers room. He slide in as quietly as possible, closed the window and climbed in bed without waking a soul. The following morning, Breyer jumped out of his skin seeing his brother asleep in the top bunk of their beds.

“Dad!” He yelled running down the hall to his fathers room. “Dad, Get up!” he shouted at his father, excitedly. Bo got up as fast as possible and followed his stutering son.

He was amazed when he seen chet completely out of it, asleep on his bed. He walked to the kitchen and called the docter on the phone. Chet needed that bullet wound looked at, whether he was willing to let teh docter do it or not. When he was done, he went back into the boys room and tried to gently wake Chet while Breyer called the Strate house to let Wyatt know that Chet was home, to come on over to see him. He then called Hilery and Cooter before running back to hte room. All hte commotion had woken Jessie and Luke.

Chet covered his head with his pillow and mumbled. “Go away.” barely audioable. He groaned and ignored every one as best he could pulling his blankets up over him and the pillow over his head.

“C’mon kiddo, get up. Doc’s gonna be here in a bit to look at ya,” Bo said to trying to wake him up.

Chet got up and got dressed, he didnt touch breckfast and continued on out to do his chores knowing he would be grounded for life. He lit a cigg out back behind the barn, the only safe place from anyone seeing him…so he thought.

The young Davenport girl popped up behind him wihtout a hint of noise before saying hi. He jumped nearly a mile in the air. Wyatt and Breyer were with her.

“What do you want?” Chet asked sarcasticly and a little muffled by the cigg in his mouth. He leaned up against the building annoyed with being followed once again, he knew now he was a loner and there was no more gang.

“To be your friend Chet,” she said walking over to him. “I know your dissappointed by your friends doing what they did and all, but how bout we make our own group to hang out with, jsut the four of us,” Hileyr suggested. “then you don’t ahve to worry about what happened happening again.” she told him, smiling.

“Oh and bro, the docter is hear to look at you,” Breyer told him. “We’ll talk more when he’s done wiht ya. Shouldnt’ be long.” Wyatt led Chet inside, follwoed by Breyer and Hilery. When Chet was finished getting stitched and looked at thoroughly, he went out onto the porch. It was already about noon. His cousin, broher, and the young Davenport joined him, not saying a word, waiting for him to speak first.

“Sorry ya’ll, I think it be best that I go my own way for awhile. I have somethings I need to straitin out then maybe we can be a team. But until then were just friends…in good terms.” Chet said standing up and walking down the long drive way, the hot sun beating on his sholders as his freinds watched him somehow they couldnt imagin his beging anything more or anything less, same amount for the answer he had given them.

And over time the four of them had become very close. He and Wyatt eventually came to look at Hil like she was their sister, and Breyer’s crush on her became more apparent, although she never payed it any attention. The three of them let her follow them everywhere, adn she normally was aable to stop fights between teh twins a lot of the time.

******************

“Yep… all times good and bad, before and after we all became friends,” Chet mumbled, his eyes twinkling.

“Amen to that!” Everyone yelled. The feast lasted until midnight, when everyone who didn’t live at the farm parted to go home, the memories of what had happened five years ago fresh in their minds as they slept, happy with how things turned out.

*~ THE END ~*

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