Authors: Char Marie Adles
Char Marie Adles
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places and incidents are products of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously and are not to be construed as real. Any resemblance to actual events, locales, organizations, or persons, living or dead, is completely coincidental.
Copyright © Charlotte Adlesperger
Cover Design © Wicked Cover Designs
Winthrop Canter was awakened by what sounded like the cry of some small animal outside. Rubbing his sleep dusted eyes he rolled back over with a groan. Twenty minutes later the crying had grown and so had his irritation.
Muttering a curse under his breath he rose from his bed and made his way down the creaky ancient stairs. Walking through the giant empty ranch house gave him a chill down his spine. It was a warning later he would have wished he had listened to.
Scowling he pulled the screen door open looking out into the night and the porch. He didn’t see a thing nor hear another cry. Not even from where it had come. Not seeing anything he settled into a glower at being awoken for nothing in the middle of the night.
Just as he turned to go back in and up to his bed, he heard a single wail that stopped him dead in his tracks. He swung around as fast as his feet would carry him and looked down. That hadn’t been the wail of any small animal he had ever heard or seen before. It was the wail of a baby.
And there in a box of blankets laid a baby.
There was a baby on the ranch. On his ranch. In front of him.
He eyed the baby warily as if it were a snake ready to spring and bite him.
What was a baby doing here?
There was only men on his ranch for no woman had stepped foot on the ranch since his mother had left when he was thirteen. So since that ruled out the kid from being anyone’s on the ranch the kid didn’t belong to any of his men.
“Oh hell,” he cursed under his breath.
The child had been abandon. On
front porch no less and he didn’t know a damn thing about babies.
He took a few steps towards the box and peered at the baby within who was crying for the entire world to hear, fighting with the blanket he was covered with.
The moment the kid’s eyes met his, the child stopped crying. Instead the baby smiled, cooed at him and lifted a waving fist at him.
There was a stirring in his chest at the sight of the poor kid in the box and he bent down. Winthrop took the kid up in his arms and marveled at it.
By the looks of it the child had Native American blood in him for the child had rusty, tan skin, like Winthrop himself. Jet black hair as well and startling ice blue eyes.
Eyes the same shade of blue his brother’s had been. The very brother who had been killed less then a month before.
“Oh hell,” he cursed for the second time that night.
In the distance lighting lit the sky followed by the roar of thunder.
Cheers of a crowd mad with excitement still echoed in the distance from the front stage. Sweat dripped from her forehead down her cheeks and her breath came in short bursts as she walked to a room with a star taped on the door.
Devil stared at that star for a moment in silence and opened the door. It shut with a soft
behind her. She took a deep breath and listened to the sound of nothing.
No music, no roaring crowds, no clicks and flashes of a camera. It was a temporary heaven that wouldn’t last long.
She let out her breath in a long sigh and sat at the dressing room table. She stared at the face within the mirror. It was the same it always had been. Not beautiful, but striking in its own proud way. Waist long ebony silk hair, rusty tan skin, and a set of icy blue eyes. All showed her Native background, but for those blue eyes.
No, those blue eyes were a gift from her white mother, not her father who had been proud of his pure-blood Native American parentage. How many times had she looked at the young Native girl in the mirror and hated her. It was Devil’s face, but also the face of a devil. How fitting that was for her father was the one that named her.
It was the face of Devil Runner, super model, sometimes movie star, and full time county singer. In all of her eighteen years she had done what millions of people dreamed of doing, but it didn’t mean anything to her.
It’s just been a way to eat,
for a while and now meaningless.
She had no family left alive but for a single sister she hadn’t seen in ten years. She had no home in this world either, she’d run away from home at the age of twelve when her father died, then she had drifted to where she was taken.
“And what a life that’s been,” she said with a grim smile to the girl in to mirror.
The girl repeated her words and Devil laughed without humor at them. Then something caught her eye.
It was a letter.
Devil had told people years ago when she started singing that she never wanted to see a single letter from anyone.
So why is there a letter here,
she asked herself.
She picked up the letter and was about to toss it into the rubbish bin before she saw the name of the letter’s sender.
It was from her older sister.
Devil took a deep breath and sat back down, letter in hand, hard on the chair. Her hand shook a little as she opened the letter and began to read Wylde’s delicate, but bold hand writing.
I know it has been forever since you have seen or heard from me and is likely mad at that. But please listen to my word. I was going to come from you a few years back, but found out that everyone had died and you had ran away after dad died. Imagine my surprise a few years later when I saw you singing in a movie! I’ve been watching you since then and I’m proud you made something out of yourself. But you never seemed happy even if you were smiling. I’m only now brave enough to write this letter to you before I disappear from your world forever. Devil you are the only person I can trust to see to the things I leave behind.
Little over two months ago I had a baby. Her name is Lilla Emalina Runner Canter. She is the most beautiful baby in the world and it breaks my heart to leave her. But I got into some trouble a few years back that I thought it was over, but it has come back to get me. So I leave Lilla in your hands. I have left her with her father on the Lone Star Ranch in Montana, but you are the person I need to have to take care of her. Her father is the sweetest man a live, but he couldn’t take care of her to save his life the way I know you can. I still remember what you did for me and Mama even when you were just a little kid.
Devil in this envelope there are custody papers for Lilla, please sign them and become her new mother. There is also a picture of me and her father Wade when I just found out I was going to have her. It’s the only picture I had of me and thought you might like to have it. Well I better go now. I love you and Lilla and tell Wade I love him too. Please don’t try to find me because you won’t be able too. Don’t mettle around in my problems because they will come for you too.
And Devil, I’m so sorry.
She sat the letter down and brushed a stray tear from her eye. Sniffing a little she looked inside of the envelope and sure enough there were the custody papers and a picture. Devil lifted up the picture and gazed at the young woman and the young man, both in their middle twenties, but couldn’t be happier.
The man was obviously Native American and had eyes close to the same color as Devil herself, so he wasn’t a full blooded Indian, but he had waist long hair that was black as coal and a cheeky grin spread across his face. He also had his hand on the woman’s gently rounded stomach. He was a giant compared to her sister, all muscle and lean height. The woman even though she was older then what Devil remembered her to be was her sister Wylde. Wylde had a shy grin on her face and she was just as thin as she had always been. Her long hair in a braid over her shoulder that fell to her waist, her warm gold eyes bright with tears. They sure did make the perfect happy couple.
“Looks like you did well for yourself too Sis,” Devil said softly, but then she looked to the custody papers.
ust what did you get yourself in
to? And leave your baby to me? I wouldn’t know how to take care of a baby either! But if what she said in the letter is true I won’t leave my niece on a ranch full of men who couldn’t take care of her right,
Devil thought, but she took out a pen and signed the papers anyway.
It was done and it looked like the famous Devil Runner, movie star, country star, and super model just became a mom.
“Looks like I’m going to Montana,” she told the girl in the mirror.
The girl kept silent.
As it happened the ranch turned out to be in the upper north of Montana in the Rocky Mountains. Devil abandoned her tour bus and the guys in search of a truck. She found a sorry little ’54 with rusty paint and decided it was perfect. So when she offered five hundred in cash they took the cash from her and had her sign the papers saying there were no take-backs dropping the keys straight
to her open hands.
She went to tell the tour crew that she would be gone for the night and left for the ranch. She had to stop to put gas in the old rust bucket and she figured she might as well ask directions.
While the old gas pump clicked away Devil went inside to pay. The overhead light flickered and a bell rang over the door as she walked inside. A middle aged woman behind the counter smiled as she looked up to greet whoever walked in, and her mouth fell open as she gaped at Devil. Her gum fell out of her mouth and rolled onto the ground.
“Oh my lord,” she breathed, “oh my lord!”
Devil flashed the lady a quick smile and ducked into on of the isles. She fished around for a Coke and a beef jerky stick. She waited a moment before she took a deep breath and walked up to the counter.
“Hello there dear, is there anything I can help you with?”
“Just twenty on pump three and these,” she said setting the snacks on the counter.
The cashier lady did as Devil asked, but soon she couldn’t hold it in any longer.
“You are my favorite country singer! What brings you up here to the middle-of-nowhere Montana?” gushed the older woman.
Devil thought for a moment and came up with an idea that didn’t sound half bad.
“I’m doing a small concert up here in a couple of weeks. I had some time during the tour and came up to see some old friends too.”
The woman’s eyes brightened. “Really? Here? Is there somewhere I can get tickets? And who? Maybe I know em’. Everyone comes by here sooner or later.”
Devil quickly came up with her answers deciding sticking to the truth as close as she could be best thing she could do.
“First of all I was going to stop by and see my sister and her baby. They live up by the Lone Star Ranch. Do you know where that is by chance?”
The woman smiled. “Of course. It’s up the road about five or so miles then you have to take a left and go off the main road for twenty or so minutes. Then follow the paved road up to a small town called Marlo. It’s more of an outpost then a town now. From there follow the signs. You’ll be there in no time.”