Each summer when my daughter goes to camp I write her a story and send it to her in parts, one each day while she’s gone. This time the story is kid Robin and the Robber Barron a sort of retelling of the Robin Hood stories.
Robin reached the ground, though she was tired, she turned and trotted down the path toward the camp without stopping. Her leg hurt where she’d cut it, but checking the bandage showed no bleeding, so she kept on. She reached the edge of the camp where some tents lay, she could see some the Tribe doctor standing over Orren in the kitchen area. Orren’s face was twisted in pain. Robin ran over to see what was happening.
Tintye stopped her before they reached them, and she saw that the doctor was bent over Orren’s shoulder, working at a wound there. Robin looked at Tintye and asked, “What happened?”
Tintye frowned, “A white man came into camp. He’s been shot, and he’s been drinking. He doesn’t look so good. He was asking for you, or at least we think so, since he was asking for the white girl with the dress. Orren tried to talk to him, but he wouldn’t listen. Argued with Orren so it seemed he thought Orren was someone else, and he pulled his gun and shot him. Luckily he wasn’t such a good shot, with the drink and wound and all, and just hit Orren in the shoulder.”
“Where did they take him,” asked Robin, and she turned to follow Tintye’s gaze to a tent just a few yards away. She saw Owanutye at the mouth of the tent, who saw her and motioned her to come. She looked at Tintye, as if to say, “you coming.”
“You go ahead. I’ll come in a bit. I think Owanutaye wants to talk to you alone anyway”. Robin moved to the tent and Tintye wolked over to the doctor and asked if he needed anything.
“Robin,” said Owanutaye, “You should have remained on the tower. Still, I am glad to see you.”
“I heard the gunshots and had to return. I think the tower was done with me, anyway. What happened?”
“The red haired man who we thought recognized you when the cattle came through a couple of seasons back…. He showed up wounded and confused. He was asking for the white girl with the dress, so we know he did recognize you. He had been shot in the stomach and was in great pain which he had masked with drink,” Owanutaye stopped as the doctor approached, “How is he,” he said to the doctor.
“He’ll be fine, though He should keep that arm still for a few days. He is young and it will heal quickly if he doesn’t overdo it. I’ve sent him to his tent to rest. He was well enough to walk with Tintye’s help. How is the white man? Calm now?”
“He is quiet for the time being and I have two in there guarding him at all times, and his weapons have been set out of his reach, so he can’t harm anyone. Do you think you can help him?”
The doctor frowned, “With a wound like that there’s not much I can do. I’ll do my best to patch it up, but I’ve never seen anyone bounce back from a wound like that. I’m afraid he is likely to die.”
“Do what you can.” Owanutaye turned back to Robin, “As I was saying, the man is injured and confused. He was asking for you and when Orren tried to get him help, the man seemed to think Orren was someone who would hurt him. He pushed him away and drew his gun and fired twice, hitting Orren in the shoulder. Before he could fire more others had grabbed him and pulled him down, removing his guns. The man was too weak to resist and fainted. We then pulled him to the tent as you can see. Robin, I want you to find out what he wants. Not yet. Let’s see if the doctor can help him, but since he was asking for you, maybe you can keep him focused enough to let us know. Since he knew who you were, I want to know why he never told anyone else. It is obvious, since none else have come searching for you, so why did he keep it quiet. I also want to know why he was shot. He is unlikely to survive that shot, so the only way we can help is to find out all we can.”
“How do you know he deserves help, Owanutaye? How do we know he wasn’t shot escaping a botched burglary or something?” Robin frowned at the tent.
“We don’t,” said Owanutaye, “but I have a hunch that his recognizing you and his being shot are somehow related, and that you’re the only one who can get to the bottom of it. The doctor is going to be a while with him. You should go to your tent and get some rest. I will send for you when he is able to speak. I’ll need you at your best then. I don’t think we’ll get much time…”
Owanutaye was interrupted by the clatter of hooves riding out of the shadows and into the camp. The blond man on the Palamino, his hair longer and shaggy his mustaches a bush like he’d strapped a scrub brush under his nose, rode straight through camp and straight to the edge of the kitchen. He and Owanutaya walked toward one another. Owanutaye looked back at Robin and motioned her to her tent. She slunk to the shadows and moved in that direction but did so slowly so she could still here.
“Owanutaye, I hope we are well met,” the blond man said.
“Gilbert Burnes, you are welcome as awalys.” Owanutaye bowed.
“A man came through here, red hair, possibly hurt. Have you seen him?”
Owanutaye looked around and all were silent. He shook his head and said, “You are our only visitor this night. Can we help you find him?”
The man shook his head, “No, I’ve got a whole posse out looking for him. Just send word if you see him. It is important.” The man turned to walk back to his horse whose reins were being held by the twins.
Owanutaye kept pace with him, “Can you stay for refreshments before riding off again?”
“No, thank you Owanutaye. I’ve got to get out searching for him gain immediately. Just please send word. Thanks.”
“Of course. Good luck to you Mr. Burnes,” Owanutaye handed him the reins once he was seted, and the blond man tipped his hat and rode off out of the camp.
Robin got to her tent and stopped by Tintye’s. “Can we read tonight,” she said to him. They had not read together for several nights as Robin had been preparing for the tower, and she was missing it. They sat and read a chapter of Ivanhoe, the chapter where Ivanhoe is being hidden by Rebecca and Isaac. She stops Tintye reading and says, “Tintye, I think things are about to change. Promise me you’ll stay with me if they do.”
Tintye nods, “Of course Robin. I’ll stay with you no matter what.”
Robin forces a smile and says, “Good night”.