It was all over the papers, it was heard on the news and it had reached Hazzard County like on of the four corners of the earth. A twelve year old boy was missing, his parents were frantic and the hole state of G.A. was on a major search.
Tunder Mason Chase, known to all as Riddick sat at a round table with Bo and Luke Duke, an Atlanta news paper lay open on the table in front of him.
“Have they found that kid yet?” Bo Duke asked leaning towards Riddick to glimsp at the head lines in the paper.
The exconvict only shook his head and continued to read the artical, his white pupiled eyes darted back and fourth over the print.
“Bo, that aint just another kid there looking for.” Luke Duke said as Daisy Duke brought another piture of beer to there table.
Riddick pushed his glass forward for a refill but he didn’t raise his eyes from the paper.
“What do you mean Luke?” Bo said refilling there mugs.
“He’s a computer genius, he ran away from some kidnappers who were trying to break a password on a computer disk.” Luke said eyeing his younger cousin.
“Wasn’t a password.” Riddick’s gravely voice came as he set the paper on the table, lowering it from a reading poise. Everyone looked at him wonderiously. “It was a barrier code on one of five disks.” His voice rumbled in his throat again as he met everyones stair.
Everyone lookd at him, his big muscular frame half hidden in the dim lighting of the Boars Nest. Luke looked at him the deepest, tryin to read the story behind the white eyes, but it was all locked away. Locked away behind anger, greif, and who the hell knew what else had been in that exconvicts past or what he had done for that mater.
“How do you know that?” Luke asked with a twisted look on his face.
Riddick gazed at him for a long moment, just stairing from the darkness not sure wether to tell the truth about his encounter with the five disks long ago or not. He’d killed people to get the five pieces to the ‘Puzzel’ as it was once called, he decided to tell the Dukes all he knew, know harm could come from it now.
“There were five Bank Corporation Disks….they were called the Puzzel when I ran with a gang. The disks came from Queens New York, they with held bank vault codes and transfer inforamtion for about five states…maybe six.” Riddick’s words came clearly, his eyes never leaving the Dukes.
The Dukes staired at him, Daisy stood in her waitress out-fit tray still in hand. All of them knew how dangerous Riddick was and how dangerous he had once been. Bo felt chills run down his spine and stop at his toes, he could only imagine Riddick in a gang of killers in N.Y.C. Luke felt differently, he ws not as imtinidated by Riddick’s past, it only made him more interested to find out what Riddick actually knew about what he called the ‘Puzzel’.
“So what your saying is that theres a twelve year old kid running around G.A. with one of the five Puzzel disks from NYC?” Luke said looking at Riddick seriously now.
“Possibly.” Riddick shot back with a warning look at the Duke his eyes narrows and his muscles flexing.
Luke took the sudden change of exspression to heed and backed off of the subject, he had seen and herd about the dirty work that the excon had once done and he wasnt about to press his luck. Riddick gulpped down his refill of beer and pushed back his chair standing as he folded the paper back together.
“See ya.” He said and turned towards the exit of the Boars Nest knowing all too well that he was leaving the dark haired Duke without answers.
Riddick left the Boars Nest on foot, he never drove anywhere he had to go unless he was going out of town and in that case he took the bus. His mind argued with him, he kicked himself now for telling the curious Dukes about his past. His past was deadly to all who knew and hurting the Dukes of all the good folk in Hazzard County, was not on his to do list.
The bright moon beat down on Riddicks sholders as he walked through the darkness of the Hazzard night, it was a cold night and even the muscular man shivered at the cold wind. He cussed at the coldness wondering how long it would be until he would be forced to buy a jacket.
Any still waters would form a thin layer of ice that night, an his hot breath could be seen clearly by himself and himself alone. The trees around him walked by as if they were moving and not him through the woods, woods that he had passed through so many times in the months that he had lived in Hazzard.
So many times he had passed through here and not a soul had stirred at that hour, only the the quiet things of the night, only animals like himself. But on this night he was not alone, an he became aware of this suddenly. The sound of small foots steps moving quickly over the dried leaves came to his ears from a distance, his keen hearing causing him to stop and listen stratening his spine.
Someone was in a hurry, someone small, the bitter cold wind blew again bringing the faint cent of a child to Riddick’s notrils and he knew now that it indeed was a young burden. The kid drew nearer at a run, its young hot breath and scared eyes lost in a sea of bitter cold darkness.
Natural instincts made Riddick duck down low when a gun shot rang out echoing through the once empty and peacefull forest of G.A. pines. An the small feet grew close, now accompanied by two pair of adult feet. Riddick listened close standing up strait again to better hear, one of the pairs of adult feet were heavy and dragging the other light and ahead of the heavier one.
Riddick turned towards the sound, the young feet were within a few yards of him and he could see the child moving through the trees coming directly towrds him. Two more gun shots rang out, bullets wizing past Riddick one catching him in the sholder and the other missing his head by inches. Like a scared deer he dashed in the other direction as the kid broke through the trees and ran with Riddick for more then ten yards before tripping over a tree and falling with a painfilled cry. Riddick had seen the boy fall over a downed log an his mind made a quick decision for him and he swooped down with his right arm as he ran past the fallen child. He picked the boy up by the collar of his jacket ran as fast as possible deeper and deeper into the woods that he knew so well.
The boy grasped Riddicks arm with his small hands, almost hugging the excons big muscular arm, fearfull that the big man would drop him. Riddick ran deep into the dense woods at a dead run for alittle more then ten minutes before stopping by a shallow, slow moving creek. His breath steamed in the air as his chest heaved, rising and falling with a steady quickness. He lowered the child to the ground not releasing his clutch on the boys coat, he paused, listening, an listening close.
The boy drew a small flash light from his pocket and clicked it on shinning it at Riddick, Riddick put his hand over the light squinting his sensitive eyes shut and pushing the light away.
“Shut that off!” He growled at the kid in a low voice that was nearly a whisper.
The boys attackers slowed flickering on there own lights and shinning them to ground to pick up there victoms trail. The big heavy one joined the thin looking figure with a heaving large gut. The large one pointed his light to the ground sneering at his tiredness and air thriving lungs. The boys small shoe prints disapeared by the log and Riddick’s big boot prints, deeper in the mud from his weight took over with fare apart prints proving a long stridding step. The thin figure flicked two fingers in the direction of the woods that Riddick and the boy had run into and they moved forward at a quick pace.
Riddick could hear them moving through the woods, they were coming closer at a fast pace and he needed to decide which direction to go now. He knew of a deep abdoned well in the woods not far from a creek where an old farm house long since gone had left behind a storm celler. They could hide there easly, there attackers would passby and they could come out of hidding safely afterwards. His breath caught now Riddick gathered the scared boy in his arms and lifed him with his left arm tight around the boys waist.
“Let g..” The boy attempted to yell but Riddick covered his mouth listening.
The two men had taken a short cut and they were nearly right on top of the boy and Riddick now an Riddick hadn’t been able to hear them over the boys yell. Almost realising it a moment too late he dashed away again, a bullet splintering a tree as he passed by it running again. He saw the lights in the woods suddenly start bobbing up and down coming towards him. He ran harder, faster through the woods not looking back but noting that he had only seen one flash light when he had been sure that there had been two attackers.
Trees came at him like he was ridding in a car on a major highway, dodging them one by one his breath flowing from his mouth an notrils rapidly. He glanced back slowing down to tightening his grip on the boy and to see if they were still being persued. The storm celler was only about 10 yards away, just around the well, but there attackers had suddenly disapeared and a haunting feeling crept up Riddicks spine as he staired off into the woods standing a complete halt now right next to the well.
There were no flash lights, not a sound, all he could hear was his own breath as he gulped in air from the long run. Even the boy paused to listen although he could see nothing but darkness unlike Riddick who staired out into the woods seeing every tree and bush as clear as day. All was silent….then two shots rang out echoing through the dense forest, a bullet clipped a tree nearby throw huge splinters in the air. But the second bullet caught the boys unfortunate rescuer.
Riddick let out a suprised gasp of agony on the bullets impact, high in his right side jolting him forward and forcing him to take a step with the boy still in hand. The boy shreaked, he had felt the the pound on Riddicks body when the bullet hit and now fearfully clung tightly to Riddick’s loosening grip as the ex-convict stumbled forward.
Unable to control the jolting stumble the ex-convict and troubled young child plunged into the deep well. Riddick made an attempt to cling to the top of the wells stoney edging but his shocked body would not allow him to do so an plunged forward. On instinct of the fall, aftering relising he could do nothing to prevent it, Riddick released his grasp around the boy figuring the small child would have a lighter more gracefull landing then his own big body. The well was nearly 150 feet deep and there was only about 10-15 feet of water on the deepest side of the bottom of the well, an luckly for Riddick he fell into the deepest end of the water with a mighty splash. The boy screamed out fearfully as the dark sides of the well flashed by his eyes when suddenly he was jolted to a halt, his jacket catching on a rusty steal platform on the side of the well nearly 15 feet from the water.
The two attackers had fired there shot from 20 yards away behind a huge tree. The thin man swore aloud when there quarry plunged into the well, the genius child falling into the dark depths of it taking the highly valued disk with him. They hurried to the side of ther well, there bright flash lights in hand as they staired down into it angerly, it was all a total loss.
“You damned fool I warned you not to fire at them when they were so close to this old well. Now were out of all that money!” The fat man said angerly at his partner strutting away tirdly.The thin man swore madder then hell and followed his partner away from the well.
The boy herd Riddick’s big body splash into the water although he could not see him. Shaking with fear the boy turned in his jacket and fastined his hands tightly to the rough and badly rusted platform. Tears streaked down his cheeks an his throat crackled as he cried, wimpering in such horrible fear. His small arms struggled to pull his own weight onto the 3 foot by 3 foot platform and only when he had suceeded did he allow himself to sigh and brush away his tears his body still tremulous.
Settled onto the platform the 12 year old boy regained the flash light from his pocket and shined it down into the water below wondering if the man who had helped him escape from his kidnappers was still alive oe not. He shined the light over the water still wimpering alittle, gazing below.
Riddick surfaced the water only moments after the boy shinned the light onto it, he came up gulping for air with exshaustion and then disapeared under the water again. The boy sat up alittle on the platform when Riddick disapeared under the water and then relaxed when he resurfaced again. Riddick looked around with wide eyes surveying quickly for the boy, his head swirled and it amazed him that his vision was clear. His exshausted body threatend to give way an cause him to go under the water again, unable to see the boy any wheres he swam to the edge of the well where the water was a shallow 2-3 feet deep. There was a spot on the edege where the stony ledge of the well jolted out from the side much like the platform above.
Pressing one hand over the hole high in his side just below his right arm, Riddick pulled himself up on the stony ledging and sat down with his back against the cold wall. His chest heavied and he coughed water out of his lungs pressing his hand over the hole in his side that leaked fresh blood. Squinting his eyes shut in pain an breathing in deeply Riddick groaned at the pain and swallowed hard. Alittle reluctently he opened his night seeing eyes an removed his shirt not looking at the hole that held a .38 caliber bullet lodged in his rib cage.
Riddick rung the water out of the black sleeveless shirt and pressed it to his wound tenderly, then pulled it away to look at the maimed flesh where the bullet had entered. It didn’t look good, the bullet was still in there and he was bleeding steadily. He pressed his wet shirt back to the wound and looked up gazing at the stony sides of the well. It was an old fashion well, round with smooth and firmly built sides. Spotting the platform Riddick saw the flash lights ray pouring out onto the wall above as the boy crouched low on its rusty surface just letting the flash light lay in his hand.
“Ya all right?” Riddick’s voice came out low and speeking caused him to cough more water out of his lungs.
“Yes…” The boy trembled not shinning the light down but just letting it shine on the wall acrossed from the platform.
“You…you…alright?” He stuttered shaking still stricken with terrible fear.
“I’ll live.” Riddick said looking at the tender wound again then returning the pressure on it with his shirt.
The boy peaked over the edege of the platform, tears still rolling down his face, he could not see Riddick without showing the light in his direction.
“You just keep that light shined up there…alright.” Riddicks voice came stern but not angery.
“Ok…Whats your name?” the boy asked leaning back against the stony wall of the well trying to relax and calm his terrified shaking.
Riddick dropped his chin to near touching his chest tiredly, his real name was not what he was called and he couldnt help but wonder what the boy would think if he knew who Riddick truely was.
“Riddick.” He answered in a low voice.
“Okay, my name is Tobey.” The boy said calming himself slowly.
“I know.” Riddick answered.
He had known who the boy was from the moment he grabbed him and
made a run for it, it was the boy with the 5th disk. Now he thought, here he was sitting at the bottom of this ancient well with this kid who had a computer disk in his pocket worth a few million dollars. Many peoples lives had been lost because of that very disk, a piece of plastic with important information, but Riddick’s stay in Hazzard had taught him how precious life really is.
“How…how do you know my name?” Tobey asked stunned that this complete stranger knew who he was.
“Your all over the papers kid……” Riddick sighed pausing for a moment to reflect on his past. “That disk and I go back a long ways.” It was the best way he could explain it with out a complete explanation.
“The papers explain it.” Tobey said he felt so lucky to have been rescued even though they were now in deeper trouble.
“Wheres the disk?” The white eyes gazed up at the night sky that could be seen from the bottom of the well, it seemed very small and very far away.
“In my pocket.” The young boy said.
Tobey shivered from the cold night dampness, even in his heavy coat he was cold in the dark depths of the well and he wished he was home safe in his bed with his parents. But no, those men had to take him away from all that, steal him from everything he loved and leave him here with a stranger.
“Alright.” Just as Riddick answered some stones from the wells walls gave way and splashed into the water.
The stones fell from around the bolts in the wall holding the platform that the boy kneeled on, the platform shuttered under the boys weight, weak with age and years of dampness. Tobey clutched his small hands on the sides of the plat form fearfull that it would fall and Riddick held up his arm to protect himself from the falling rocks.
“Ya’ll right?” Riddick called out glancing up to look at the platform.
“The plateform is gonna fall!” He answered his voice quivering.
Riddick stood up slolwy, finding himself tired and weaker then he had relised. He looked up wondering how to get the boy off the the steal platform 15 feet above. There was no way, he’d have to jump and Riddick would have to catch him, Riddick trudged a few feet out into the shallow part of the water.
“Can you swim Tobey?” Riddick asked flexing his stiff wounded side hopping that it would allow him to catch the boy.
“No.” Tobey answered as the plateform gave another shuttering shake.
Riddick swore under his breath, shaking with cold that he was forcing his body to ignor, but the icy water made it more difficult.
“Your gonna have to jump….I’ll catch ya.” Swallowing hard Riddick prepared himself, it was gonna hurt.
“Ok.” The boy followed suit so scared his hands shook as he crpt to the edge of the platform and shined the light down to see where Riddick stood so that he would jump towards him. Riddick closed his eyes as the light passed over him quickly then was placed back into Tobey’s pocket.
“Listen to me Tobey, before you jump.” Riddick felt nervous, his heart raced. “When we fell in here..” he paused hopping that he was making the right move. “one of the bullets got me in the side…jump carefully.”
“Here I come. 1…..2…..3!” Tobey said closing his eyes and jumping off the platform and into the darkness.
Riddick could see Tobey plain and clear as the boy jumped from the platform, he steped forward and reached out stiffy but swiftly and caught him. Tobey’s weight came down on Riddicks arms quickly and Riddick let out a groan of pain as his wound shouted. Just the same Riddicks muscular arms held out and he stood tall and strong as ever through his pain. The young arms clung to his thick neck as Tobey landed safely in the exconvicts arms, they stood there for a moment, the water up to Riddick’s knees.
Tobey clung to Riddick with his eyes shut tight and his head pressed to the excons bare chest. After a few moments he opened his eyes and looked up through the dark, looking down at him were two white pupils glowing in the dark. But he was not afraid, he just continued to cling to Riddick fearfull of the dark watery deapths, weather deep or shallow that they stood close to.
Wordlessly Riddick returned to the stone ledge that sat on the edge of the shallow water, his wound screamed to be free of the boys weight even through his lightness. Tiredly he set down on the ledge, Tobey still in his arms and then in his lap, the ledge was not big enough for them both to sit on so Tobey would have to set in Riddicks lap. Although Riddick was a stranger the young kid hugged close to him for warmth and comfort to wash away his fear, atleast he wasnt alone.
The excon sat down tenderely, he didn’y mind that the boy was clinging to him but he also was sure how to react, the only person who had ever hugged him close like that in ages was his baby sister. She had been gone to New York to live with another family for over a year and he missed her dearly, the boys small hands around his neck made him remember being se close to her. Tobey retrieved his light from his pocket and shinned it towards the ground some how just knowing that his new friends eyes were sensitive to light. They sat in silence for nearly fifteen minutes until the boy broke it with one of a million questions that he wanted to ask.
“Riddick….” The boy said his name sitting up alittle.
“Hmmm?” The con answered with question, his eyes shut in much needed rest but, not sleeping.
“Do you think we’ll ever get outta here?” The young eyes looked up through the darkness again with wonder.
It was the same question that Riddick had been rolling around in his own mind, would they get outta there alive and if so when and how long. Soon, Riddick hoped, he was loosing blood with a steadiness. In another few hours he would be too weak to rise, he gazed at the young boy with his eyes narrowed thinking deeply. If he past on here, this young man with a hopefull future ahead of him would have very few chances of surviving on his own and a life would be lost. Sighing deeply, flinching at the pain that it caused the econ reflected on his past and what a waste his life had been. An suddenly for reasons that he didnt understand he made a vow to himself that he would do everything possible to get that boy outta there alive, even if it coast him worthless life. First he needed to rest, to help gather the strength he had left.
“Your getting outta here alive….an I’ll make sure of it.” Riddick’s voice was deep and bore strength, an he put his arm around the boy tighter pressing his other hand over the hole in his side.
Exshausted, Riddick leaned against the wall and dozed, resting his weary body and the boy relaxed completely for the first time since he’d been bestowed into the deapths of the well.
Meanwhile there two men who had been after the boy had returned to there vehical and driven away towards the town of Hazzard.
“What are we gonna do? We came all this way just to let that disk and the money its worth slip through our fingers?!” The heavy man said from the passenger seat of there vehical.
“Well Pat, we could go to town and tell the corny Sherrif that theres a boy stuck in a well out here.” The thinner man answered looking at his partner with sly thin eyes.
The heavy man called Pat grinned seeing the plan building in his partners eyes. “So what do we do from there?”
“After the Sherriff gets the kid out, we wait until he’s alone. That kid was with some big local, when we were by the well I found some blood on the ground. That big fella’s shot good an my guess is he aint gonna make it through the night.”
“So if we wait until morning to tell the sherif chances are after he pulls that kid outta the well we’ll have a chance to pick him off without having a run in with his body guard?” Pat looked at Ray, his mind working one notch slower then his partners.
“Right.” Ray answered pulling the truck over to the side of the road. “Until then we can get some shut eye.” He grinned and leaned back in his seat in a relaxed position.
(This part of the story was a joint effort by Skyler Vanseenie, Hilery Davenport and Riddick.)
Skyler stood in front of Cooters Garage. The place didn’t look how he thought it would. He held the envelope in his hand, then put it in his shoulder bag. He didn’t know what he was going to say to his cousin for it had been a long time sense they had talked. He gave his dog Tobin a good pat on his head and told him to be good. He took a deep breath as he knocked and waited.
A young woman, who looked to be in her late teens opened the door and looked at him.
“Howdy, c’mon in, anything I can do for you?” She politely asked, leading him to the garage bay area.
When they stepped in, he noticed two guys bent over the engine of a white and orange, 1970 Dodge Charger. Chet Duke, the 19 year old son of Bo Duke raised his eyes from the engine of his stock car and looked at the stranger. His blind slate grey eye beaming gentally next to his brown eye, both watching the stranger with care.
“Hello there.” Chet simply said and turned back to the engine and the tools in his hand. Cooter stood up strate bracing a hand on his back for a moment and whipping the grease off his hands.
“Howdy, welcome to Hazzard, how can I help ya?” Cooter smiled and finsihed with the grease on his hands.
“Riddick. I was told I might find him here.” He held his dog close to his side.
Cooter looked at him puzzled for a long moment, “I haven’t seen him today. Hil, what time is the ‘Big Guy’ supposed to get here? He’s scheduled to meet Chet today.”
Hilery looked down at her watch, nervously. “He should have been here an hour ago. It’s not like him to be very late, especially this late.” she told him, looking up.The dark haired Duke with his head under the hood of his car only shook his head to himself.
Cooter looked back at Hilery, Riddick was never late anywhere, if anything he was early.
“Hil did you see Riddick yesterday?” The old mechanic said looking at his cousin worriedly.
“Um, now that I think about it … no. I haven’t seen him since the other day, which is really strange.” Hil looked at them all. “So uh, sir, why ya lookin’ for Riddick anyway?”
Skyler pulled out an old photo from his pocket an showed it to them. “He’s my cousin. I’m Skyler Vanseenie. This was taken when we were kids…I need to talk to him, its important. Do you know where he might be?”
Chet joined his two friends, whipping his own hands on a grease darkened rag. Cooters eyes went wide and he looked at Hilery, she was one of his best friends and her didnt know of Riddick ever mentioning to her that he had a cousin.
“Cousin you say?” Cooter looked back at Skyler eyes still wide. He shook his head slowly for a moment.
“How is that possible our Riddick…..er well our friend Tunder Chase is a…a…exconvict from New York. He never mentioned that he had a cousin, only kin we ever knew he had was his baby sister.”
Skyler knew that look in their eyes. He put down his bag and pulled out a photo album then handed it to the young girl standing near him.
“We grew up together. Kinda ended our friendship on bad terms. I am here to say I am sorry. This is Tobin my dog, Toby for short.” He watched as they looked through the album he had given them.
“Bad terms, sounds like Riddick,” Hilery chuckled. “Probably why he never mentioned you.”
She said, and then pointed to a cute looking picture of a brown eyed boy, covered in mud in a small backyard with an italian boy. “That’s cute!” she laughed. Cooter joined into the laughter. “I take it that’s Riddick?” Cooter asked, grinning. Skyler nodded.
“Never knew his eyes were brown before his jail time until now.” he added. “Now their white.”
Cooter nodded laughing to himself as he pulled the photo album into his own arms, Hilery handed it over when she was done looking it over. Chet looked over Cooters sholder at the pictures.
“Hilery, thats Tunder thats not the Riddick we know an yet there the same guy.” Cooter raised his eyes from the pictures to Skyler. “How long exactly has it been since you and Riddick have spoken or seen each other?”
Sky wasn’t sure if he had heard them right. That wasn’t like Riddick at all. At least not the Riddick he remembered. Skyler loosened the tightness on his dog.”About 11 years. Don’t really remember too much, just a big fight. How is he now and where can I find him? Anyone have any ideas?”
“Woods probably. Or his allyway.” Hilery said, thinking. “Chet, when you drove by that ally you used to hang with some of your old buddies in, did you see anyone in there?” Hil asked curiously.
Chet shook his head. “No I didnt see anyone at all. I’m sorry Mr.Vanseenie I have never met Riddick, I have seen him from a distance thats about it.” Chet looked at Hilery, he could tell she too was worried.
Before anything else could be said, the phone in the office rang. “I got it!” Hil yelled and ran off. She barely made it before the answering machine picked up. “Hello, Hazzard Garage, Hilery Davenport speakin.”
“So if no one has seen him where should I go to look?” He put the photo album back in his shoulder bag. “I have come a long way.”
“Hey Hilery how are you?” Bo Dukes sterdy voice came over the other line. “Hilery do you know if Cooter has gotten the new tires in for the General yet?” The cheerful voice of the older Duke boomed in the young Davenports ear.
“As a matter o’ fact, yes. Came in this mornin’. Listen, this is off the subject, but have you seen Riddick lately?” she replied.
“Sure I saw him last night at the Boars Nest but not since. He was reading the new paper at the Nest last night…round oh 11pm.” Bo said he didnt mind giving out the information.
“Okay, thanks Bo. Oh, and I know he didn’t tell you, he never does, but if you get curious as to where your son that I’m not dating ran off to, he’s here at the Garage. Riddick was supposed to come up here so they could meet about an hour ago, but as you already know, he hasn’t shown up yet. You know which way he went after he left the Boars Nest?”
Bo laughed to himself over the phone for a minute. “Sure, he went the same way he does every night. In the direction of that ol shack in the woods. Chets there huh? Keep him outta trouble I got to go.”
Hilery walked back into the room. “Okay, see ya later Bo, bye,” she said and hung up, chuckling. Bo did trust her to keep Chet out of trouble, although, he only knew about a small amount of the trouble she could find when she wanted to. Hilery walked back into the room, sighing. “It was Bo. He hasn’t seen hide nor hair of Riddick at all since last night. I think someone should go looking for the big guy. Bo said he took off last night from the Boars Nest towards that little shack in the woods he sometimes stays at. So, what y’all think, should we form a search party?”
“I would be more than happy to come along.” Skyler volunteered. He gave his sweetest smile to the girl and thanked them all for taking the time to speek to him.
“It would be nice. The more the merrier,” she replied. “Sound good. I’ll go with our new friend here, and you can go with Chet.” Hilery heard her cousin say.Skyler stood there waiting for them to decide who woould go with who. Toby didn’t want to stay by his side any more, he grew restless to be outside. Skyler wasn’t sure what to think of Riddick’s friends or what they had thought of him. He just knew he had to find Riddick and hope that he’d understand after all these years. Then again he wondered if Riddick would understand why he was on the run. He swollowed hard and waited.
Chet looked at the stranger, or there new friend called Sky, the young Duke anolised the man wondering what he had truely come to find Riddick for. He wondered if Sky knew where Riddick stood in the world now, did he know that Riddick had become a convicted murder?
There were way too many unanswered questions. Chet directed his attention to Hilery and looked at his childhood friend. Her look reflected similar thoughts. “Well, I guess we best start lookin’. If anyone finds anything, use the CB’s.” Hil said. “All right, let’s get to it, I just hope everything’s okay,”
Cooter said. “Sky and I will ask around, and you two can go look elsewhere.”
Hilery nodded. “Yeah, Rid always likes hanging out in the woods. I just hope he didn’t fall in none of those rabbit holes or anything and break something,” She responded.
“I’m afraid I don’t have a car , I came in with a truck driver. I sure hope we ain’t going to walk.
Should I leave Toby or take him?” Sky said to the bench.
“Hilery you an I can take the Ghost, Cooter you an Sky can take the toe truck? Might be better to take the dog with ya, he might be of some use in finding Riddick.” Chet looked from Hilery to Cooter then to Sky. His own car sat in the bay of the garage ready to go, he had only been making some minor adjustments.
Hilery looked at Chet and nodded. “Sounds good. I take it you guys want to stop at the Boars Nest first to get something to go?” Chet nodded.
“Yeah, then we can talk more, though, the more I think about it, Riddick does come from the woods when he walks this way, so we all might wanna look around there.”
Cooter suggested. “I think Chet has a good idea, ain’t any of us eaten yet to my knowledge.”
Toby went for the water in the wash bay.Sky watched as he went from one person to the next sniffing them.Toby sat next to chet as if he was happy to have a new friend. ” I’m starven. I would be happy to pick up the tab.” Sky laughed as Toby’s ears perked up.
“Alright. We better go, the sooner we get going the sooner we find your cousin.” Chet rubbed the dogs ears momentarly an then walked around the drivers side of the car and reached in through the window an started it. General Lee’s Ghost came to life with a healthy rumble of the V-10 engine. Chet opened the big bay doors and motioned for Hilery to get in as he climbed through the cars driver side window. “We’ll see ya’ll at the Boars Nest.” He said buckling the racing belts on.
“Bye!” Hil yelled and waved as Ghost dropped into gear and tore out of the building. Cooter just chuckled saying that was just like his cousin.
Cooter turned to Sky. “Are you going to come out and really going to say why you are here?”Cooter crossed his arms and waited. Sky turned to him and gave him a strange look,”Better you all don’t get involved.” Sky answered walking with his dog to the truck.
Shaking his head Cooter got into his truck. “All I have got to say to you is two things.” He looked at Sky wisely. “One thing is I have a feeling that your cousin isnt the person you once knew.” He paused putting the key into the ignition and pausing again then. “An the second…I just hope you dont start anything with Riddick. Hes 6 foot 2 inches of 250lbs of solid muscle that doesnt play games. Fair warning.” Cooter started the truck and pulled out of his parking place next to the garage.
They drove to the Boars Nest in near silence after that. Cooter knew Hilery and Chet were
probably already there when they were only half way. Ghost was certainly a mighty car, with a mighty engine. When they pulled up, they seen 2 bags of food sitting on the hood of the orange and white stock car, and Hil and Chet bent over near a trail with each of them holding their food in one hand, and the other either helping them balance or pointing at something. Sky didn’t want Cooter taking everything the wrong way. “Look, it’s nothin against you. I just don’t want anyone gettin hurt and the way things have a habit of going …it always goes that way.”Sky whispered to cooter. Cooter just winked as if he understood. “Great!” Cooter thought we have another Riddick on our hands.
Chet waved Sky and Cooter over to the place where they had found Riddick’s trail from the
night before. “Cooter! Sky! We found Riddick’s foot prints.” Hilery yelled to them as they got out of the truck. “There fresh only a day old.” Chet said not looking up from the tracks. “How does he know that?” Sky asked Cooter as they approached the trail that the Duke and Davenport girl had found. Cooter answered the best way he knew how. “Chet owns the brother car of the fastest car in Hazzard County, hes the son of Bo Duke…he just got his ways of knowing things.” Truely Cooter could not explain all the things that he had seen the young Duke do.
Hilery snickered. She knew, but she wasn’t gonna say. She knew things about Chet that no one else knew, having been best friends with him since she had moved to Hazzard. “They seem to have Changed to a dead run up a head from a gentle walk. We already went up and looked, but we didn’t go far.”
Toby looked at Sky. “Fetch Toby. Fetch this master.”Sky pointed to the track .”Go Toby,
mush.” He ordered as they ran behind.
Chet Hilery and Cooter ran behind the dog, the dog followed the foot prints until they changed and multiplied. A pair of small feet had joined Riddicks and then two sets of adult prints lay on top of Riddicks boot prints. Chet stopped running an leaned down to look at the prints. “Gawd, theres four sets of prints here. Hes not alone and he was in a big hurry….he was running like hell.” They walked alittle further and the set of small feet disapeared. “Come on!” Chet folled the three setes of adult prints until they came to the creek an they disapeared.
Cooter looked at them, and then the creek. There was no telling which way they had gone. “Hil, you know Riddick better than I do, which way do you think he would have gone if in trouble?” Cooter asked his cousin as Sky looked around, seeming to take note of his surroundings.
“More than likely, towards town, which is in this direction,” Hil said pointing. “Wierd…” She
mumbled, noticing the old well. “A lot of those old bricks seem to have been shifted.” She
walked over with Chet following. She stopped short though and he looked at her questioningly.
“Uh… guys… There’s blood on the bricks over this way…” Hilery said. Chet moved closer for a better look. Cooter jogged up after hearing her say that. “Oh no …” He said, his voice low before he started calling Riddick’s name, very loudly. “Riddick!?”He coulnd’t have been far if he was injured. There was no way, especially with the amount of blood.
Skyler started takeing things out of his bag. First he took his money out.”What did you do, rob a bank?” Cooter asked. “Nah, life savengs.”Sky answered as he pulled out a flashlight and his climbing gear.
There voices echoed through the well, the boy slouched against his rescuers lean frame
sleeping and he stirred hearing there voices. Riddick also stired, he groaned at the pain in his side an pressed his hand over the hole in his side. “Hiley? Cooter?” He whispered to himself for a second, then herd there call again relizing that he was not dreaming. “Hilery! Cooter!”
Riddicked yelled his voice alittle pained from taking a breath to speek. “HILERY!” He shook
the boy awake and tried to get up but it caused a wave of pain to wash over him and fresh blood to run.
Hilery heard the call. It was from within the well. She closed her eyes for a second in relief, and then looked down into it. “He’s in the well, we need some rope or soemthing to get him out,” Hil mumbled. “And he don’t sound too well off,” she said, her voice lower.
Sky pulled his glove tight. “I got some.”He handed everything to Chet.
Chet looked at Sky, his hands full of the equitment he knew what the stranger was asking of him. He began to strap on the climbing gear with a sigh, he hadnt planned on meeting the exconvict in the bottom of a well but good as time as ever. “Riddick…” Chet sighed again here goes nothing. “I’m Chet Duke, I’m coming down to get ya.” He said tying the long end of the rope around a tree for safe keeps, he handed the extra loose part of rope to his friends and climbed down the edge of the well. “Alright Chet….but your taking the boy up before me.” Riddicks voice was low, he hadnt planned on meeting the Duke under these circomstances either.
Cooter looked at them. “That explains the smaller foot prints,” he said. “Is the boy okay?”
Cooter yelled down to him. He heard another voice saying that he was. “Chet you just hurry it up,”told him as he dissappeared into the well completely.
Sky tied the extra part of rope around his leg and then began to inch Chet the extra gear above him. Sky leaned over the side but was very careful nothing fell on their heads below.
Hilery watched worriedly. Something didn’t feel right … something felt very wrong, almost like they were being watched, but she shrugged the feeling off. It was probably nothing more than an animal.
As hard as Riddick tried he could not rise to his feet, he was stiff and freezinf cold, the boy
stood on the concrete slab next to him looking up as Chet grew closer and closer. Slowly Chet made his way down until he hung in front of them, he shined the light the boy but not on Riddick, he knew of his sensitivity. “Ya’ll right?” He asked looking the boy up and down. The boy nodded an turned to Riddick who again struggled to get to his feet. Chet shined the light on him keeping it low away from his eyes, he saw the bleeding who and sucked in air through his teeth.
“Your..” Riddick cut off what he was gonna say. “Get the kid outta here or hes gonna freeze to death. Then drop the rope down for me.” Riddick stood up leaning all his weight against the wall with his left hand over his wound.
Chet nodded. “Here kid,” He said, and grabbed the boy in an iron tight grip. Chet wasn’t one of the men who had been after him when Riddick helped him. He knew these people were going to help him, or atleast try.
The boy clung onto Chet tightly. “Please help him too,” he said, refering to Riddick. “I will, but I’m sure he’d rather heave himself up. I’ve heard he’s a very strong guy, and looks like he might be a hero cause he saved ya. Just don’t look to him as a role model.” When the boy couldn’t see, Chet winked at Riddick. He had said what he said to comfort the boy.
The boy and Chet were hiosted up and up until they came to the top ledge of the well and stood on dry ground. Chet set the boy down and began to unbuckle the equitment.
Cooter took it from him and tossed it down. “Hil, everythin’ okay?” he asked while he did so, not looking at her because he was busy. “Ya got that Riddick?” When the yes came back, he turned to her.
“Everythin’s fine … but I feel like we’re being watched. I’ve felt that ever since we were at the Boars Nest earlier…”
Riddick buckled on the equitment, barely able to hold himself up and he sighed resting for a moment then continuing. He finished so exshausted that he colasped back down on the concrete slab. “Alright…slow and easy.” He heaved for air for a moment waiting for the slake to take up on the rope an he breathed painfully.
“All right, heave,” Chet said, helping Skyler pull the big guy in. Cooter and Hilery by now had noticed something moving in the bushes and had run after it and tackled it.
It was none other than the county sheriff, Rosco P. Coltrane.
Toby sat and waited with a wallet in his moutn, he was proud he has resqued it from the
squarels. He waited for them to notice. Skys looked over the side and reached down as far as he could go. Finally he could feel someone grip his fingers…..
Riddick took a tight hold of the hand that reched down to help him and the rope continued to pull him up as well. In a matter of seconds he was pulled onto dry ground on his hands and knees at first taking deep pain filled breaths. An them he looked up from looking at an unfimilar pair of shoes, his eyes met Sky’s… they met someone he hadnt seen since he was a teen. He looked for a moment in deep shock. “SKYLER….”
Sky tried to smile. “Ya, not a good meeting after so long, is it. Kinda like old times.” Sky took off his shirt and wrapped it around Riddicks wond and appied pressure.
“You can’t die now , we still gotta talk. And from the looks of you we got a lot to talk about.”
Sky stopped long enough to look at Rosco.
“Someone should call an ambulance.” Hilery suggested. Chet nodded in agreement.
“So who’s gonna call them?” Cooter asked. Hilery raised her hand and started running back.
Her stomach couldn’t take that much blood.
Riddick wasnt sure weather to be happly mad or sad to see Skyler but he would have to worry about that later. He layed back on the leaves pressing his hand to his wound an looking at his cousin. How long have you been here? Riddick breathed out the words laying his arm ove rhis eyes and fighting back the racking pain.
I guess long enough to help Hilery and chet save your but. Sky tried to smile alittle. They
watched as Toby gave Sky the wallet.
I can’t say how long I can stay……..but all is going to be okay.I Promise you. They watched as Hilary came back with help and then the people began to pour in.
Sky handed Hilery the wallet and then took out some money from his bag….Hey,Cooter? If i forget can you make sure Riddick gets this?” Sky handed his bag to him then disappered into the crowd….then he was gone.
The ambulance workers arrived just in the nick of time, Riddick was on the edge of passing out and they carried him away. The hospital successfully removed the bullet from Riddicks side an he would fully recover.
He layed in the hospital bed feeling much better and waiting for someone to come see him, he didnt know what he would say or where he would start but he would…somehow.
Hilery knocked gently on the door. She didn’t know if he wanted any visitors, and she knew he could be dangerous when he ws in pain. “Riddick, it’s me, you want some company?” She called as she walked into the room. The light was dimmed for his sake due to his eyes. “Cooter’s in the waiting room, as well as the Dukes. Sky skidaddled for some reason. You wanna talk about what happened that had you in teh well or what happen between you and Sky when you were kids. You’ve never mentioned him.” She questioned him.
“Come on in Hil, invite Cooter in too.” Riddick said sitting up alittle and pushing his pillow back to rest him in that uright poise. “How are things? I figured Sky wouldnt stay long but I’ll catch up to him later.” Riddick looked at her, his eyes were baggy and tired but his face appeared light an as pleasant as he could be.
Cooter came in as Riddick had requested an laid the bag on Riddicks lap. “Sky left it for you.”
Cooter said in a low voice,”He said, if he did’t make it back I needed to give it to you.”
Ridick looked in surprise as he pulled the envelope out and asked Hilery to read it. His body ached but that stopped when he saw what else was in the envelope. Skyler’s birth certificate. He was Riddick’s own brother.
Hilery looked at it and shook her head. “It’s a birth certificate,” She told him and read the
names. “Didn’t you mention those names before somewhere?” Hilery questioned him. She was puzzled beyond belief, but it said a lot, about why Sky was there, espcially when Riddick said those were his parents. Hilery was shocked. but it said a lot more about why Sky had hunted Riddick down. “He’ll be back more’n likely if that piece of paper is correct Riddick,” Cooter told him, and laid a hand on the other mans shoulder. “Probably didn’t go far.” he assured the big guy as he took a seat next to him.
Riddick looked up at his two friends, his eyes wide with shock. “Hes hidden out…hes like me.”
Riddicks voice was jittery and his mind was shocked. He truely didnt know what to think, how had he had a brother all along an never known it. He had known Sky in his child hood as his cousin, an they had grown up together. Sky looking Italian and Riddick looking like a Dutch like his mother. His father had been nearly a oure Italian. “How did ya’ll find me?”
Cooter smiled, “Well, it was all Hilery. You know how she gets when she’s worried.”he
chuckled.”She rounded us up and the rest is a long story.
She blushed a little. “It was nothing really. Just got worried, then one of the Dukes called, I
asked ’em if they had seen you, they said yeah at the Boards Nest last night, then I got to
wondering, we all went out that way to ask around, and Chet and I found your foot prints,
followed them til they dissappeared, merged with another set….” And she continued explaining.
“Chet said he was sorry that y’all met under such bad cercumstances. He hopes to try again in the future to meet ya when you wouldn’t be in pain. Things just got too complicated earlier, but then again, this is Hazzard so it’s normal. He’s keepin’ an eye on you’re little friend for us up at the Sheriffs station with Rosco and Enos. Riddick nodded. He understood. “Another time, another place,” He agreed. “Though, remind me never to help anyone again!”
Skyler stood around the corner of the hall of the dreary hospital. He had made himself look
like a poor blind man, a game him and Toby always loved to play. He watched as Cooter and Hilery had quietly walked passed the police officers and he new his chance had come and gone. He stopped and sighed. His only hoped now was that Riddick might find the picture of him and Trinity, hid in all the money with the address of the junk yard on the back. Sky’s heart sank, for the first time in his life he wanted to be someone else. A single tear fell from a man that never cried,as he hung his head and said one final good bye, as he walked away.