The Running Away Man

by Stredwick
The Running Away Man
a short story by
Austin Mitchell
Berris Fletcher was seated at the back of the bus, Blue Star. Beside him sat Dawnette Riley. Berry as he was fondly called was a medium sized guy and was nineteen years of age going on twenty and Dawnette was was just turning eighteen and was probably an inch or so taller than he and was on the thin side. They were on a school outing. Berris was a pre-trained teacher at Renford All-Age and Dawnette was the step-daughter of the principal, Mrs. Caroline Watson-Riley. There were two buses on the trip. Some parents had decided to accompany their children as they felt they would be safer with them on the trip. They would be going to Hope Gardens as well as other destinations. The buses were full of the lively chatter of the students as this was a Friday morning and school would be out for the year in two week’s time. This was Berris’ second year in teaching and he was planning to do another year before going to a teacher’s college. Dawnette was waiting on her examination results to get into nursing school.
Berris and Dawnette were in deep thoughts as only last night she had reported to him that she was three weeks pregnant. Berris had another woman, Sharlene Wollaston, and he knew that he couldn’t be serious about either woman until he finished training college. Livingstone Watson was living three miles from Renford. He was a medical doctor working in Kingston. Berris had passed by his gate at least two times and saw pregnant women standing under a tree. He had asked around and was told that Livingstone performed abortions. He had mentioned it to Dawnette and she had burst out crying.
“I don’t want to do that. I’d prefer to carry my baby.”
Berris knew that Cardoza, Dawnette’s father, was a reasonable man when sober but after downing two or three drinks of any alcoholic beverage he was liable to become a raving lunatic. They both remembered what had happened to Darman Patricks. Cardoza and his first wife, Pauline, were divorced but not before she bore him two daughters, Harline and Dawnette. Harline was three years older than Dawnette. Cardoza and Darman had been drinking in Ridley Squire’s bar. Cardoza’s friend and fellow drinking partner, Willis Rickman, had whispered in his ears that his seventeen year old daughter was pregnant for Darman. Darman had stepped outside to take a leak and heard the roar of rage from Cardoza. Suspecting what it was, he had hidden behind a wall until Cardoza’s rage subsided and he went home. But the next night Darman had to take refuge at the bottom of his gully as a fully enraged Cardoza came looking for him. Cardoza’s sons and his new wife were with him all armed with all sorts of implements. Cardoza had gotten two sons with another woman while he was married to Pauline.
Their neighbors came with them to watch the spectacle of Cardoza and his sons forcing Darman to agree to marry Harlene in a matter of weeks. Cardoza had become even more enraged at Darman’s continued elusion of him and his family. Darman finally had to live in another district returning home only after Harline had her baby.
“Cardoza will kill you,” Berris said.
“My father loves me, it’s you he’s going to kill for getting me pregnant,” Dawnette told him.
“And I told you how to get rid of it.”
Dawnette hadn’t answered him and Berris had gone home in a pensive mood.
Cardoza was on the previous trip and had stayed sober during the entire journey.
The next week he was on tenterhooks and couldn’t sleep at nights. Sometime he thought he heard Cardoza calling his name. Whenever he heard dogs barking he thought that it was Cardoza’s dogs because the man had about a dozen of them. He hadn’t taken any of them with him when he was hunting Darman but Berris wasn’t sure he wouldn’t bring them when he found out about Dawnette.
Berris was caught in a quandary. Once school was out he had to get away from his house and the only place he could go was Kingston and he didn’t like where his aunt lived. His brother was also living in a bad area and Berris had been held up once while visiting him. He had another brother in Cayman but when he contacted him he said that it would be almost impossible for him to get into the island.
“Miss Caroline nearly caught me throwing up this morning, Berry.”
They were seated on a bench and watching a football match.
“Why don’t you let me tell Cardoza, myself. I’ll tell him that I’m prepared to take care of you and the baby.”
“Darman had to marry Harlene. I don’t suppose he’ll expect anything less from you.”
“How am I going to marry you and I still have plans to go to college.”
“How will you take care of a baby while going to school. You should have thought of that before you got me pregnant.”
“You could have protected yourself from getting pregnant.”
Dawnette didn’t want to start crying for anybody to carry news to her step-mother that she and Berris had been quarrelling.
“Ever since I found out that I was pregnant I worry every night what Cardoza will do to you. I don’t want him to set those dogs on you. Honestly I don’t. I just wish that I hadn’t become involved with you. I think it might have been better for both of us.”
“I liked you and you liked me. I don’t see how we could have prevented what happened.”
“You are more experienced than me. Even if you didn’t use protection you should have known what to do in not getting me pregnant.”
“It’s happened already. You’ve got to make sure Miss Watson doesn’t find out or else she’ll go straight to Cardoza.”
They both knew that Miss Caroline was fifteen years Cardoza’s junior and very loyal to her husband., She had taken charge of his two daughters and sons immediately she moved into his household. She wasn’t a violent person but would support her husband in whatever punishment he was going to dish out to Berris.
Berris returned home from the match still worried that Cardoza would soon find out about Dawnette and come after him.
Middle of July came around and Berris was no nearer solving his problems. He lived in the house with his mother and smaller sister as his father had passed on some years before. He hadn’t told his mother about Dawnette because he knew that she would go straight to Cardoza and dare him to hurt her son for getting his daughter pregnant. Berris didn’t think that he was a coward and he wasn’t afraid of Cordoza. But a sober Cordoza was a different human being from the one who just had a smell of rum. He just didn’t want to hurt the man or any member of his family.
Berris and Dawnette still met and made love. He got messages to her through their mutual friend, Renae Prince, a twenty year old girl.
“Miss Caroline is watching me like a hawk, Berry.”
They were in the afterglow of their lovemaking up in his bedroom. His sister had gone away on holidays and his mother has gone to Kingston. Dawnette’s belly wasn’t showing much.
“Why is she watching you?”
“I was vomiting in the bathroom yesterday and she came into my room and wanted to know what was wrong with me.”
“So what did you tell her?”
“I told her that I ate something that upset my stomach.”
Dawnette took the evening bus back to her home.
Berris’ brother was still trying to get him into Cayman but time was running out as Dawnette had to be hiding from Miss Caroline and the woman was beginning to ask her some ackward questions.
July ended and Dawnette still came to look for him but they both knew that time was running out.
Berris was reading a letter from his brother that he had arranged everything and all Berris had to do was buy the plane ticket as a job was awaiting him. Berris was overjoyed. He heard a knocking outside. It was Rennae with a letter from Dawnette. Berris tore the letter and read it.
Berry…….Miss Caroline found out and told Cardoza. They are sharpening up all sorts of implements plus he is preparing the dogs. Try to get away as best you can. Still love you, Dawnette.
Berris took a taxi but he had to pass Cardoza’s yard. As he passed the yard he saw the Cardoza’s family coming to get him. Cardoza and his sons carried machetes plus the dogs. Miss Caroline, Darman and Harline were there obviously coming to watch the spectacle of Carsoza and his giving him a repeat of what they had done to Darman.. Berris ducked in his seat but Cardoza had seen him! The man ran after the car, shouting. Some of the dogs broke lose and ran, barking at the car.
Berris knew that the taxi was only going to the village square. Cardoza would use Willis Rickman’s taxi to pursue them. There were four passengrs in the taxi. Suddenly there was a loud sound and Berris suspected that it was a puncture.
The driver came out of the car and said that it was a puncture and apologized. Berris along with the other passengers came out of the car as the driver started working on taking off the damaged tyre and putting on the spare.
Berris went a little way into the bushes to take a leak. While there, he heard when a car stop and Cardoza asking for him. Berris held his breath. Then he heard the driver curse and told Cardoza that he had taken another taxi.
When he came out of the bushes. The driver told him what had happened. Some of the passengers advised Berris what to do. One of the men in the taxi recounted that something similar had happened to him and advised Berris what to do.
At the village square, Berris boarded a coaster bus going to Kingston. The bus was still stationery and passengers were boarding when he saw Rickman’s car returning. It stopped in the square and Cardoza, Rickman, Miss Caroline, Darmam and Harlene came out. They were looking into taxis and buses and going into the bars and shops.
Just as his bus drove off he saw Rickman run to his taxi. They were going to pursue the bus to take him off, Berris thought.
“Worthless boy, you get my daughter and running away,” Cardoza shouted and tried to board the when it stopped to pick up passengers.
“Elder, I don’t want no fight on my bus. If you and a man have anything it must can settle another time,” the conductor said and pushed Cardoza away.
The bus drove off. The car was still pursuing them, Berris realized.
When the bus stopped again. Berris got up out of his seat.
“Conductor, see your fare here. Let me go deal with the man there.”
As Berris was passing the conductor a woman held on to him.
“Don’t go fight him. You don’t see that he’s drunk.”
A man held on to Berris and helped the woman to drag him back to his seat.
Cardoza and Rickman made two more attempts to get Berris off the bus each time the conductor pushed them away.
Cardoza swore that he knew where Berris would be living in Kingston and would make his friend in the area do him something. Berris knew that those were idle threats.
Berris did return from the Cayman two years later went to college and then returned. Dawnette and he were never friends again and she went to nursing school got married and moved to Ocho Rios.The End. Please visit my blog at:
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December 6, 2019 - 20:21 i am miss brenda i have private disscusion with you via at my email (

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