At various times when writing about Gabriel Celtic, I would wonder what type of child would turn out the man on the page before me. Don't get me wrong...I KNOW that Gabriel is fictional...but it is a real thing that some characters come to life for an author when they are writing about them. (Of course...we ALWAYS hope for that kind of reaction from our readers!)
So one day I started putting down the adventures that I thought Gabe might have experienced when he was younger...and thus was born the Young Gabriel Celtic adventures! The series is geared toward middle school readers but can also capture the imagination of adults and young adults alike.
I hope you will enjoy his first story...The Great Plane Robbery.(As always, there will be links below if you are interested in reading the whole series.)
The Great Plane Robbery
GB Celtic turned off the radio, shaking his head in aggravation.
“They haven’t a clue who robbed the bank today Grace. It’s like they just disappeared off of the face of the earth.”
His wife finished setting the table before walking across the room. Sitting on the arm of her husband’s chair, she hugged his arm and laid her head on his shoulder.
“Don’t worry G, our money is insured, it’s probably already been replaced.”
“I’m not so much worried about the money Grace, but we must have the worst police force in history. How can they completely lose a pair of bank robbers?”
Raising her head, she pecked her husband on the cheek. “You’ll have to solve that mystery after supper. Why don’t you call over to Jimmy’s house and tell Gabe it’s almost ready?”
“That kid sure gets around for an eight year old,” GB mumbled as he rose from the chair and made his way toward the phone.
It started ringing at him as he approached.
It started ringing at him as he approached.
“Collect call from Mr. Gabe Celtic,” The operator intoned. “Do you accept the charges?”
Why would my father be calling collect? GB wondered to himself.
“Sure operator, I’ll accept the call.”
“Go ahead Mr. Celtic.”
“Why are you calling collect dad.” GB said smiling. “Did your car break down?”
“Gabe?” GB asked excitedly at the sound of his son’s voice. “Where are you? I thought you were at Jimmy’s house?”
“I’m at the airport…in
.” Mount Pleasant
“WHAT? That’s a hundred miles from here!”
“Yeah…I kinda got my tail in a wringer here. Can you come pick me up?”
“You are in a world of trouble son. I haven’t even started getting mad at you yet.”
“I know….I’m sorry. Oh and dad…?”
“Bring your gun.”
Eight year old Gabe Celtic was in heaven.
Having ridden his bike over to his friend Jimmy’s house earlier that day, he had discovered that his friend was gone. His mom had probably drug him off to a doctor’s appointment; Jimmy always had a cold or something.
Gabe shuddered at the thought…he didn’t like doctors.
Not knowing what else to do, Gabe set out to explore a little. Coming up to the corner of
4th Street, Gabe stopped his bike. This was the far boundary of the area he was allowed to go by himself. Passing this corner meant at least a month of being grounded, as well as extra chores.
If he got caught.
Glancing around the neighborhood, he saw that there was nobody around; no one that would squeal to his parents anyway.
There was a place he wanted to go, a place he had always wanted to go. And it was way past
He quickly calculated the timing of making a quick trip there and back. He knew it was almost 4:00, and he would need to be back for sure by 6:00…supper time!
To his mind, that left plenty of time to explore.
The biggest problem would be the highway. His destination was a quarter mile out of town, and he had to take the highway to get there. He had to admit to himself that the thought scared him a little.
Shaking it off, he put his foot on the pedal and pushed down, starting the journey…and breaking the rules.
“You ain’t brave if you ain’t scared,” he thought to himself, repeating Eddie Rickenbacker’s famous quote.
Gabe’s grandpa, Gabriel Celtic senior, had been in WWI and Eddie Rickenbacker was a hero of his. This fact alone also made him pretty close to a hero to Gabe.
His grandpa was his hero however. Gabe was also pretty sure that his grandpa wouldn’t have a problem with what he had just set off to do.
He was almost positive.
Ten minutes later, Gabe was there.
Not much of an airport actually. A dirt strip running through a cornfield, with a couple of Quonset huts set up as makeshift hangars. But it had two things that Gabe had been hoping he would find: an untended plane, and no one around.
Moving behind one of the hangars, Gabe leaned his bike against it and made his way slowly around the building.
An old blue biplane sat in front of him, not ten feet away.
Glancing left and right to make sure he was alone, Gabe made his way to the old airplane.
“Hot dog!” Gabe shouted with enthusiasm as he climbed up on the wing and then leaned wide-eyed into the cockpit.
Being a two-seater plane, he knew the pilot would sit in the back seat, so that’s where he needed to be. Pulling himself up over the edge, he plopped down in the seat. Finding a set of goggles, he happily slipped them on and grabbed the control stick.
“Clear!” He called out to the nonexistent ground crew as he reached forward and pretended to flip a switch. The motor roared to life in his mind’s ear.
Pulling the stick to take off, every move was accompanied by a sound effect of Gabe’s own making.
“Red Baron ahead!” He shouted over the air rushing past his ears. “I’ll take him down boys!” he yelled at the invisible planes flying in formation around him. “You guys hang back.”
Pulling the stick once more, he climbed into the clouds, working his way around so that his attack came out of the sun. Looking down to his right, he spotted the tri-winged plane of his adversary below.
“Get ready to meet your maker Fritz!” Gabe called over the side as he pushed the stick forward and to the right, bringing the bright red plane into his sights.
“You’re mine now!”
“Dadadadadada,” he yelled, mimicking the sound of his gun going off.
The smile on his face said it all…he had singlehandedly downed the most feared German ace of the war.
“I told you guys I would…Jeepers!”
He ducked immediately onto the floor of the cockpit.
Having looked to his left to brag to the rest of his imaginary squadron, he had spied two guys break out of the cornfield, running directly toward the plane. As he sat hunkered down on the floor, Gabe was beside himself.
“Dad’s gonna kill me,” he whispered to himself as the threat of discovery ran rapidly toward him.
Looking around quickly for a way out, he realized that the seat-back had a hinge on the bottom of it. Acting quickly, he grabbed the top of the cushion with both hands and pulled.
The cushion popped down, revealing an access hole to the luggage area in the back of the plane. Seeing no other alternative, Gabe slid up on the seat and wormed his way through the tight hole. Turning then in the tight confines of the luggage hold, he reached up and pulled the back of the seat into place.
“Jiminy Crickets!” he whispered to himself when he realized that he still had the goggles on. Ripping them off quickly, he pushed the seat forward again, replacing the goggles where he had found them and clicking the seat-back in place.
At that moment, a hatch opened behind him as one of the men threw two canvas sacks in the luggage hold.
“Get up there and get the engine cranked!” The man yelled to the other before slamming the hatch shut.
A few seconds later, the plane vibrated violently as the engine roared to life.
Gabe’s heart was in his throat when he realized what was happening. Sliding back to the hatch on the side of the plane, he tried to get it open, hoping to jump out before the plane gathered too much speed.
There was no way to open it from the inside.
He could feel movement then, the plane wheeling its way to the runway. Knowing he was stuck, Gabe worked his way toward the front of the hold again, reasoning that may be the best place to be.
It felt like his stomach dropped to the ground as the old plane suddenly left the confines of the earth. The roar of the engine and the wind flowing by the plane was deafening.
“Dad’s gonna kill me,” Gabe lamented again over the noise, a cold sweat forming on his face. “He’s really gonna kill me!”
As the plane leveled off, Gabe realized suddenly that he was cold…very cold. There was a small amount of light leaking in through cracks in the canvas skin of the plane, and Gabe started looking around for a way to get warm.
Realizing that the canvas sacks were his only option, Gabe crawled over to them. Finding them to be old Army duffle bags, he discovered that one of them was only partially full. Being fairly small for his age, Gabe reasoned that he might be able to fit in it.
By now his teeth were chattering, so he untied the smaller duffle, his fingers barely working because of the cold.
“Holy Cow!” Gabe exclaimed as he got the bag open.
The duffle bag was half full of money!
Pulling out one of the stacks of bills, he saw $1,000 on the band holding together the $100 dollar bills.
There must be 20 of them in there, and the other one was completely full!
His chattering teeth brought him back to reality. Throwing the money back into the bag, Gabe crawled into it feet first. Pulling the edge of the bag up around his shoulders, he rolled the other bag next to him before ducking the rest of the way inside his bag and pulling the cord on it tightly closed.
Piling the money around him like a blanket, he slowly started feeling a little warmer. As his body warmed itself, he had time to think about his predicament. Since these guys had been in such a hurry, Gabe reasoned that they must have done something wrong since they also had bags full of money.
“Maybe they robbed somebody!”
Gabe thought that was exciting at first, until he realized that they probably wouldn’t be the friendly kind of robbers if they found him with their money.
If these guys found him, he was in trouble…or worse. If he got away from them, his dad would kill him.
As his troubled mind compared which of his future options may be the worst, the constant droning of the plane and the gradual warming of his body combined to put him to sleep.
He dreamed of flying.
Jolted awake by the rough landing, it took Gabe a few seconds to remember what was happening.
“Criminy!” he exclaimed when he remembered where he was. He instantly started working on the drawstring with his cold fingers so he could exit the sack and hide.
It was stuck!
As the plane settled on the ground, Gabe could feel it slowing down as he frantically worked at the canvas string. Nothing he did would release the top of the bag and allow him to escape his canvas prison.
As the plane finally came to a stop, Gabe was grasping for ideas on escape before the men found him.
At that moment, the motor of the plane rattled to a stop.
He knew he had just seconds before he was discovered.
“Get the damn bags,” he heard from the front of the plane as it rocked a little from the robbers’ exiting the cockpit. “I’ll get the car. Make it snappy!”
Gabe closed his eyes in resignation.
Kenny, the darker haired of the two men on the plane jumped off of the wing and sauntered back to the luggage hold.
They were on easy street now!
And they had just committed the perfect crime. Robbing the bank at closing was genius, and it had been his idea. With very few customers, and both of the tellers counting out their drawers of money for the day, no one was prepared for them to walk in and just take that money away from them
It had been that easy!
Leaving town, they had pulled off before the airport onto a dirt road they had discovered earlier. Only used by the farmer of the fields surrounding the airfield, they were unsurprised that they had run into no one else on the little-used road.
Ditching the car, they ran through the drying cornstalks to the plane.
Roy knew how to fly a plane! Borrowing it earlier in the day from the unsuspecting owner, they had been able to take it without anyone being the wiser.
The rest was history.
Now all they needed to do was head to their hideout and split the dough. Lucky
Roy’s dad had that old hunting cabin not far from here.
Arriving at the door to the cargo hold, Kenny reached in and pulled out the two duffle bags.
“What the hell?”
One of the bags had a slit in the side!
Kenny quickly poked his head back into the hold, looking around the dark space suspiciously.
The car pulled up and braked quickly behind him, a cloud of dust enveloping both the car and the plane.
Roy yelled from the window. “What’s taking you so long?”
“One of the bags got a slit in it. Must have been the cold done it.”
“All the money still in it?”
Roy asked suspiciously.
“Seems to be,” Kenny said as he glanced into the slit of the bag.
“Then who gives a rat’s tail? Get in the car!”
Kenny grabbed the bags and made his way around the car, throwing the bags over the seat and into the back as he entered the two-door coupe.
When he heard the car leave, Gabe stuck his head above the edge of the cockpit, still shaking a little.
Remembering his Scout knife at the last second, he had quickly pulled it out of his pocket and slit the bag with the blade. Rolling out of the bag, he had scooted quickly along the floor toward the cockpit.
Hitting the seatback with both hands as the cargo door opened, he launched himself through the hole, landing heavily onto the floor of the plane. Twisting himself around as quickly as possible, Gabe pushed the cushion back up. Afraid to latch the seat for fear of the robber hearing it, he held it closed and hoped that any light peeking in around the edges wouldn’t give him away.
Holding his breath for what seemed like hours, he waited to be discovered. Luckily the dark-haired man had decided it must have been the cold that had caused the rip in the old bag.
As he watched the car drive off down the runway, he saw it pull out onto the road that ran parallel to the airport. Almost immediately however, the car made a quick left turn and disappeared into the woods.
Waiting another five minutes, Gabe finally let himself down out of the plane. He was surprised that his legs felt like rubber when he landed on the dirt runway, and he guessed that it was from being cooped up in the cold airplane for an hour.
Taking a few tentative steps around the plane, he stopped and had a good look at his surroundings. Not unlike the airport at home, there were again a couple of Quonset huts being used as hangars but with a few more planes around.
Making his way to what looked like an office, he pushed open the unlocked door. No one was there, so he made his way over to a chart behind the single desk. Studying the detailed map, he quickly found his location by the series of red circles centered around a point on the map.
“Hot dog!” he shouted when he realized where he was.
Although he had heard of it from time to time, he knew that he had never been there before. Suddenly thinking of something else, he took a closer look at the map, especially at the immediate area surrounding the airport.
“Hmmm,” he uttered as he spent a few more seconds staring at the chart before turning around and spotting the phone on the desk.
Picking up the receiver, he cranked the phone once and waited for the operator.
Telling her what he needed, he sat down in the dusty desk chair, waiting a couple of minutes for the call to go through.
Finally hearing the familiar voice on the other end of the line, Gabe gulped loudly; trying to push down the fear of what he knew was coming.
Exploring the area over the next two plus hours, Gabe knew the layout of the whole airfield by the time he saw the headlights turn onto the runway from the road.
Steeling himself, he waved down the car when it approached the office. The first to exit the car was his grandpa.
Gramps!” he yelled, a tear escaping his eye as he ran toward the older man. Kneeling down, Gabriel Celtic Senior scooped up his grandson and hugged him tightly, finally turning and setting him down on the hood of the car.
Gabe’s dad was making his way around the front of the car, the look on his face not pretty.
“Dad, I’m really sorry, I didn’t mean to…”
His father waved off his excuse as he made his way to Gabe, also hugging him. “We’ll get into that later.”
Pulling something out of the pocket of his jacket, he handed it to Gabe. “Your mom thought you might need this by now.”
Gabe spied the sandwich in his dad’s hand, and grabbed it up greedily.
He was starved! Having been so worried about what his dad would say, he hadn’t given too much thought to his hunger. He instantly felt better however with the first bite of the bologna and dill pickle sandwich, his favorite.
Letting Gabe finish his sandwich before saying anything else, his granddad was the first to speak when he was done.
“So tell us about this wild story you mentioned to your Pa young man…something about robbers?”
Reaching into his jacket, Gabe pulled out one of the stacks of hundred dollar bills and handed it to his grandpa.
“They had a whole bunch of these in some old duffle sacks.”
GB and his dad looked at each other, surprised.
“The bank robbers?” GB questioned, looking at his dad before turning back to Gabe.
“Ok son,” GB started, “start at the beginning again, and tell us the whole story.”
Twenty minutes later, Gabe had relayed the whole story for the men, including his harrowing escape from the cargo hold.
“He, he,” his grandpa snickered with a grin at the conclusion of the story, “That’s my grandson!”
“Don’t egg him on dad!” GB yelled in exasperation. “He shouldn’t have been at the airport in the first place, much less playing on a plane.”
Gabriel senior remained silent out of respect for his son, but the grin on his face remained.
“Ok, let’s get out of here,” GB muttered, “get in the car Gabe. We’ll call the police when we get home.”
“But dad, I know where they are!”
“You know where the robbers went Gabe?” his grandpa asked, “How do you know?”
“I saw them turn off the road and onto a trail just past the runway. It’s not on the map, so I knew it couldn’t be very long. While I was waiting for you, I went up there and walked back a ways. It just goes to this old cabin, their car is there.”
“What?” his dad exclaimed excitedly. “Do you know how dangerous that was? You could have been killed if they had caught sight of you!”
“I was careful dad. We practice that stuff all of the time in scouts you know, stalking prey through the woods.”
“Usually prey doesn’t have guns and can shoot back Gabe. Where’s the phone? I’ll call the cops from here.”
“Now hold on a minute GB,” senior piped in, “I don’t think it would hurt to check it out ourselves, they may leave before the police get her. And we did bring our guns.”
“You’re as bad as he is dad! Why should we get involved in this when there is a perfectly good sheriff’s department around here somewhere?”
“Because son, they took our money, and we’ve always taken care of our own problems.”
“Awww, you’re both crazy! I’m going to go call the cops.”
With that, GB turned on his heals and stalked off toward the office.
“Thanks for trying gramps,” Gabe said sadly, “at least we can tell the cops where they are I guess.”
Gabriel put his arm around his grandson. “I don’t think we’re quite done with this mess yet Gabe, hold your horses.
“Dammit!” they heard then, the voice coming out of the office. GB exited the building and made his way back toward the car. He was not happy.
“Problem son?” Gabriel senior uttered, hiding a slight smile.
“Awww, the dispatcher thought I was some kind of nuts. Said she hadn’t even heard about a robbery yet, and if there was one, how did I know they were here…a hundred miles away?”
“Then, she insinuated that maybe I was involved!”
GB kicked at a stone on the ground angrily.
“To top it all off, she said the only deputy they have is on a real case, and that he probably couldn’t get out here for another two or three hours!”
“Seems to me that they may make their escape before then son,” Gabriel senior uttered. “I think we owe it to ourselves to at least slow them down a little….don’t you?”
GB stood staring at the other two, resignation setting in as he let out a sigh.
“I suppose, but Gabe stays in the car!”
“Nuts,” Gabe muttered dejectedly as his grandpa patted his shoulder in understanding.
“Ok, let’s do this,” GB stated as he walked around the car, “I’d like to get home in time to get some sleep tonight!”
They all piled into the front seat before GB spun the car around and headed for the road.
“Where’s this trail Gabe?” his dad asked when they had entered onto the blacktop road.
“Right there, on the left,” Gabe answered, pointing.
Easing the car onto the rough trail, GB stopped.
“How far in is this cabin?”
Gabe gave it some thought. “About as far as from our house to Becky Saunders’,” Gabe said decidedly, “something like that.”
“Harold Saunders’ house is about 200’ from ours,” Gabriel senior responded thoughtfully, “we had better walk from here GB. Otherwise, they may hear us.”
GB nodded, reaching below the seat and pulling out his old revolver. “Gabe, you stay here, and be quiet. Get down on the floor when we leave.”
Gabe’s grandpa squeezed Gabe’s knee before opening the door and exiting the car. Gabe heard the distinctive sound of his grandpa’s old Colt .45 as he slid a round into the chamber before starting into the woods beside GB.
Gabe wasn’t happy being left behind, but decided he had been in enough trouble for one day. Rolling down the passenger window so that he could hear what was going on, he then followed orders and slid down onto the roomy floorboard of his dad’s old Oldsmobile.
He listened intently for anything to happen, but the stress and exertion of the day soon overcame him as his suddenly-heavy eyelids slowly closed.
The last thing he remembered was hearing the hoot of an owl somewhere off in the distance.
Gabe awoke with a start, unsure of what had awakened him. He wouldn’t wonder for long as gunfire erupted again, filling the woods with the sound.
“Jeepers!” he shouted as he rose up and looked above the dash. He could make out flashes in the distance, the light of the shots coming a few seconds before he would hear the retort.
“A shootout!” he said, both excited and worried. He was pretty sure that this would not have been part of his grandpa’s plan.
Making a quick decision, Gabe quietly opened the door, slipping out of the car and into the weeds before closing the door silently.
Noiselessly, he started making his way through the trees, angling toward the flashes
“Was this part of your plan dad?” GB yelled from his cover behind the old oak as he added bullets to his cylinder. “If it was, it seems to be going splendidly!”
Gabriel senior slid around the edge of his tree, pulling off a shot in the direction of one of the robber’s muzzle flashes, the boom of the .45 filling the woods with noise.
“I kinda figured they would give up when they saw us coming son,” he intoned dryly as he pulled the clip out of his weapon and counted his bullets. “Best laid plans son, that’s why we always have a back up plan.”
“Oh good!” GB yelled back as he pulled off another shot. He scampered quickly behind the tree again as a piece of the tree trunk above him blew apart and rained down on his head. “What’s your plan?”
“Working on it,” the older man muttered as he took another shot. “They don’t come to me as quick as they used to you know!”
Still a hundred feet from the action, Gabe hunkered down behind a tree and took in the situation. “Mexican standoff,” he thought to himself, “Until one side runs out of ammo anyway.”
Not sure how well armed the robbers were, he figured that his dad and gramps probably hadn’t brought a boatload of bullets with them.
“Somebody needs to run,” Gabe reasoned, and knowing his hardheaded grandpa, he was afraid that it wouldn’t be him. His dad would be mad about that too!
Closing his eyes and taking a deep breath, Gabe tried to calmly think of a solution. He had found that sometimes, when he closed his eyes and relaxed, a good idea would just suddenly pop in his head. It was hard to concentrate with the gunshots going on though, and he was afraid that it wasn’t going to work this time…until…
!” Gabe mumbled excitedly. Eureka
Reaching into his pocket to confirm what he needed was there, he crawled back fifty feet before moving forward again into a little valley to his right. Snaking his way down until he figured he was safe from a stray bullet, he half ran down the dry creek, trying not to trip on the roots and rocks that stuck out from the bottom of it.
Getting his bearings from the noise coming from above him, he stopped when he thought he was in the right location and started back up the hill slowly. When he reached the first crest in the hill, he plopped down on his stomach and snuck a look over the edge.
“Perfect!” he thought to himself as he continued forward on his belly. Fifty feet ahead of him was the back of the old hunting cabin. He reasoned that the cabin itself would block any bullets from hitting him, and he was only really worried about one of the robbers seeing him out the single back window.
As dark as it was though, he thought he was pretty safe.
As he made his way closer to the old board-sided cabin, a cold sweat formed on his forehead and hands.
He was scared.
He hadn’t thought about how scared he would be though. A couple of times he almost froze in his tracks because of his fear. And it got worse the closer he got to the old cabin.
But he couldn’t let anything happen to his dad and gramps!
“You ain’t brave if you ain’t scared,” he kept repeating to himself over and over again, even though it didn’t seem to be helping much.
Finally, he was where he wanted to be…right at the back of the cabin.
He had been grabbing dry twigs and sticking them in his pocket as he had made his way. Pulling them out now, he then made a small pile of them in front of him. Reaching into his pocket again, he pulled out the waterproof match holder from Boy Scouts. He had been practicing for his Tenderfoot cooking requirement, and had everything prepared to take the test the next night.
The requirement stated that he had to start a fire with two matches or less, and then cook a meal on the fire that he had made. He had been practicing with his dad, and they had rigged up the little kit for the test. Pulling open the lid, Gabe extracted the small piece of newspaper first. Although he wasn’t allowed to use the newspaper for his regular test, it was wrapped around some dry tinder that was allowed.
He’d use the newspaper tonight though.
Sliding the newspaper on the ground and under the old wood siding of the cabin, he laid the tinder on top of it, and then built a small pyramid over top of it with the twigs. That done he quietly scurried around the back of the cabin, gathering a bunch of bigger sticks and putting them in another pile beside the twigs.
Pulling out one of the matches, he leaned over it to block the light from the window and rubbed it quickly across the striking surface. The match flared to life, glowing brightly in front of his face. Slowly he moved it to touch the tinder before a wind kicked up and blew out the match!
“Dang it!” he hissed at himself, pulling the second match out of its case…his last one.
Gabe was afraid to light it, not knowing what he would do if it to went out. Blowing out a breath, he rubbed it past the striking surface, this match too flaring brightly in his face. Dropping the waterproof case, he cupped his hand around the glowing match and moved it toward the tinder, praying for it to light.
Smoke started curling from the tinder as it tried to light. Suddenly, this match went out too. Worried, Gabe saw the slight glow from the tip of one of the pieces of tinder. Putting his face beside the pile, he blew on the glowing ember, trying to coax it to life. It glowed brighter with every breath, but dimmed again when he had to inhale. Finally, the tinder burst to life, the quick fire trying to catch the twigs ablaze. As they too accepted the fire, Gabe started adding progressively bigger sticks to the fire until he had a small blaze going, the old siding just catching on fire.
“Hey! There’s someone out back!” he heard from inside the cabin as the sound of breaking glass met his ears. Dropping to his knees, Gabe held himself close to the cabin and took off crawling toward the woods as bullets landed around the fire.
Coming to the corner of the cabin, he pushed off with his legs, diving toward a bush on the other side of the clearing.
Landing in the Multiflora Rose bush, the thorns tore at his skin as he pulled himself through the bush to escape the shots. Clearing the bush, he rolled head over heals down a steep embankment on the other side, landing with a thump as his head landed on a rock.
A beautiful night sky filled with stars was the last thing he saw before his eyes closed.
GB glanced around the tree, confused.
“Are they shooting behind the cabin?” he yelled across the yard to his dad.
“Sounds like it,” Gabriel senior uttered, “Although I can’t think of any good reason…”
Both men looked at each other simultaneously.
“Gabe!” they said in unison.
They were both ready to charge the cabin when GB saw it.
“Hold up, what’s that?”
Both men noticed it, but it took a few moments to realize what it was.
“A fire!” GB yelled. “Get ready dad, the back of the cabin is on fire, they’ll be heading out soon.”
Not a minute later, Roy came charging out of the cabin, his gun blazing as he drug one of the duffle bags through the dirt.
“Put the gun down youngster,” Gabriel senior yelled to the man, who continued taking pot shots at the men, screaming, “I earned this money, it’s mine!”
As the man aimed another shot at GB, Gabriel let loose a shot from the old .45, the man thrown back as if the sound itself had pushed him.
“I’m done!” the second man said as he ran coughing out of the cabin, throwing the other duffle bag on the ground before raising his hands in the air. “Don’t shoot, please!” the second man whined as he fell to his knees.
“Gabe? Gabe! Come on son, speak to me.”
Gabe opened his eyes slightly, seeing a fuzzy image in front of his face.
“Dad?” he mumbled, “Where am I?”
“You’re in a gully, behind the cabin. Does any of that ring a bell son?”
It was coming back to him slowly. Suddenly, he remembered everything, and pulled himself up on his elbows.
“The fire! Did it…?”
“Yeah Gabe, it flushed them out. One of them is wounded; the other one finally just gave up. Your grandpa is covering them until we get some rope from the car. Can you stand?”
Nodding, Gabe stood slowly, his legs feeling wobbly for a few moments.
“What happened to me?” Gabe asked his dad as he tried to regain his balance.
“You hit your head on a rock when you fell,” GB stated worriedly. “We should probably get you to a doctor.”
“I’m ok I think,” Gabe said bravely, if not convincingly.
GB turned around and got on his knees. “Climb on buddy, I’ll take you to the car.”
Gabe wrapped his arms around his dad’s neck as his dad grabbed his legs and stood.
Walking back to the car, they were both silent for a time.
“That was a big risk you took Gabe. Why did you do it, you could have been killed?”
“It looked like you and gramps might run out of bullets before they did dad,” Gabe said matter-of-factly as he laid his head on his dad’s shoulders. “It seemed like it would be better if they gave up before that happened.”
“You know you’re grounded, right?”
“Yes sir,” Gabe said quietly.
“And I don’t ever want you to burn someone out of a house again unless you ask first. Ok?”
“Ok dad, sorry.”
“And one more thing son.”
“I think you had better let me do all of the talking when we explain tonight’s adventure to your mom. I think your version might scare the bejeezus out of her.”