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Outlaw's Son

Outlaw's Son by Sherry Derr-Wille
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At the age of thirteen, Gary Tyler was taken from his home to become part of his father’s outlaw gang. As such the only belief he is allowed to have is in Caleb Tyler and the gun he is forced to wear. Now seven years later he is in a jail cell, facing a hangman’s rope for the crimes committed by his father’s gang. Always unable to pull the trigger, Gary knows he never killed anyone but will suffer for his father’s crimes.

When the jury finds him innocent of murder but guilty of bank robbery, Gary has no choice but to accept the generous offer of an old German farmer, Eli Otto. Since Gary must stay in the area under the watchful eye of the sheriff, Russ Martin, for five years, he is delighted to know that the old man is willing to take a chance on an outlaw and give him a job. The only obstacle that Gary can see is that Eli believes in God. In the years that he has been riding with his father’s gang he has become a non-believer. When Eli tells Gary he will be living as part of the family, the old man’s belief bothers Gary. How will he be able to live with a Christian family and still keep his non-belief?

Clara Otto cannot understand her strange attraction to Gary Tyler. With him living under her roof, she knows she can never love a non-believer. It is her grandfather, Eli, who tells her he has planted the seeds of belief in Gary’s head. He also tells her of his benefactor in the old country that had planted the same seeds in his mind so many years earlier. Although Clara wants Gary to accept God immediately, she finds she must be content to watch as the transformation slowly takes place.

More at home with Eli’s horses than with Eli and Clara, Gary realizes the chance he has been given is priceless. He also knows Clara would like nothing more than for him to believe in her God. Although he contemplates a pretended belief to make her happy, he knows she will accept nothing more than the real thing. Since that is something he cannot give her, he remains aloof and apart from not only the woman he loves but also the God he knows will never love him. The beatings he has received at the hands of his father and older brother have taught him there is no God for the Tylers.

When a tragic accident leaves Gary in complete charge of the Otto farm, bitter words are exchanged between Gary and Clara. It is not until the hand of God causes Gary to suffer an accident that Clara’s heart begins to melt.

When Eli insists that Gary take Clara to church, Gary is skeptical. He tells them that he cannot go to church as he does not have the proper clothing. When Clara brings him one of her father’s suits to wear, there is no longer an excuse. He has no recourse but to accompany Clara to church on Sunday morning. When he does, he realizes it is not the clothes but the narrow minds of the people in his hometown that kept him from their church in the past. With a new acceptance, Gary is finally free to learn of God’s love. Once he accepts the Lord, he is able not only to court Clara but also to ask for her hand in marriage.

On the day of their wedding, Gary is surprised to hear the voice of the Lord in his dreams. With the realization he was saved to marry Clara, Gary can, for the first time forgive his father for the life he was forced into at such a young age. With forgiveness for his father comes the forgiveness only God can bring into his life.

Awe-Struck Publishing; June 2005
143 pages; ISBN 9781587494376
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Title: Outlaw's Son
Author: Sherry Derr-Wille
Gary wished he could have spared Jesse the pain of testifying, but he knew he couldn’t. Hearing her tell of the life they lived sickened him. He wondered if the people in this room would believe either of them. He knew his life depended on what he said. They would never know Gary Tyler, as he didn’t really know himself. David wheeled Jesse’s chair back to where Gary sat and she reached out her hand to him. “I’m sorry, Jes,” he whispered. “Don’t be,” she replied, softly. “I told the truth, not just for you, but for me.” Before Gary could answer, he felt David’s hand on his shoulder. Turning, he looked into the eyes of perhaps the only man in the room who believed in him. “I call Gary Tyler to the stand,” David said. Gary got to his feet, slowly, casting one last glance at Jesse. Ahead of him, he saw Russ, holding a Bible out to him. “Raise your right hand and put your left hand on the Bible,” Russ said. “No,” Gary replied, firmly. “I can’t swear on your Bible. I don’t believe in your God.” An audible gasp came from those assembled. It surprised Gary to see the girl he noticed earlier put her hand to her mouth as though shocked by his words. Her soft gray eyes turned as cold as a silent gun barrel. Abruptly, she got up from her chair and left the room. “Explain yourself, young man,” the judge said, forcing Gary’s attention from the young woman with the cold gray eyes. “What do you mean you won’t swear on the Bible?” “Like I said, I don’t believe in your God. I learned a long time ago, there ain’t no God for the Tylers. If I swear on your Bible, it would be meaningless. I’ll swear on my sister’s life, on my mother’s grave, but not on your Bible.” The judge sat quietly for a moment. “I have difficulty understanding the likes of you, Mr. Tyler. I cannot comprehend why you so despise God, but I will make an exception to the usual rules of this court. Do you swear, on your sister’s life, to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth?” “I do,” Gary answered, solemnly. He took a seat in the witness chair and looked at Jesse. Her reassuring smile came as little comfort. He certainly didn’t know what he was doing here. He allowed his eyes to wander to where the girl sat. Her empty seat bothered him, but he dismissed his thoughts. He could claim no right to be bothered by her absence. After all, she, like everyone else in the room, came to see a Tyler hang. “Please state your name and age,” David said, coming to stand in front of him, to block his view of the spectators. “My name is Gary Tyler and I’m twenty years old.” “How long have you ridden with your father?” “Caleb took me with him just after I turned thirteen.” “Seven years?” David questioned. He acted surprised, yet he shouldn’t have been. He and Hattie took Jesse in just months after Caleb came to get Gary. “Why did you stay?” “Where else could I go?” Gary asked, answering David’s question with one of his own. “I was a kid. Dying scared me more than staying.” “What do you mean?” “Ain’t it evident? The law wants to hang me and Caleb would have killed me, himself, if I’d left him.” “But you left him now. Why didn’t he kill you for leaving?” “Because it didn’t matter any more,” Gary said flatly. David looked at him with a puzzled expression on his face. Gary hoped he wouldn’t be asked to explain. The thought of having to tell these strangers how much Caleb despised him hurt more than any beatings he’d ever taken. No matter what Caleb Tyler was, he still fathered Gary. “Have you ever shot anyone, Gary?” David asked, moving on, rather than expecting a more detailed answer. The question caught him off guard. These people wanted him to be a murderer, David wanted him to convince them of his innocence, but he couldn’t lie. He’d sworn, on Jesse’s life, to tell the truth. The events surrounding her leaving crossed his mind. He could hear Jeb bragging on how he shot her. He could feel the gun in his hand. He could hear its explosion ringing in his ears.
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