This is the first of six installments of an old short story of mine called Never An Absolution. It is about a young man, told by his father that he should never forgive, and never forget, for there is never an absolution. When trials arise, and he starts to see the fruits of both forgiveness and bitterness, he must choose… is it really worth it, to never give an absolution?
The day was a fine one. Glorious sun rays pushed through the clouds until they poked their heads through them and made the ponds shimmer brightly. The grass was freshly cut, and a small drizzle that morning had made the whole area smell delicious. The large over-towering red, orange, and yellow trees shaded some areas, but in several breaks in their canopies caused the beautiful rays of golden delight to shine through onto the grass. The song sparrow, along with his neighboring chickadee were chirping away their morning in songs, and the squirrel was already up, gathering his nuts on the lonely country path. The sky started out as a radiant red, then gold, then a greenish-blue, and before long, a pleasant shade of light blue appeared. Amongst the colorful sky, fluffy white clouds floated aimlessly. The dying moon was slowly disappearing into the bright sky, and soon birds and bugs alike were flying here and there.
Presently, a lone figure made his way up the path. He seemed oblivious to the surrounding beauty; instead, he was deep in thought. He remembered a day quite like this one, only a few months before.
It had been just like that day- there had been a bright blue sky, and freshly cut green grass, with birds flying about. One bluebird flew onto a small old creaking wooden porch, whose inhabitants were not only trying to make one end of the porch meet the other, but also their own ends meet.
The place looked abandoned; in fact, for half the day it was, for the other half, it wasn’t. The two occupants, a father and son, worked hard. Early mornings and late evenings weren’t uncommon for the Hudsons. With each balancing two jobs and the family farm, there was never a dull moment. Or maybe it would be more clear to say there was never a moment wasted. There were often dull moments, especially to nineteen-year-old George “John” Hudson Jr., who would’ve fain taken the life of a wandering traveler than stay and nail his boots to the ground of the run down hut. But no, his father forbade it. “This farm has been in the family for centuries! We shan’t leave it now!”
And thus, to John, the days weren’t so glorious. And today certainly wasn’t. The farm was quiet. No one was up working like usual. Perhaps that was because one of Mr. Hudson’s creditors had called upon the little shack.
“You have not paid your loan off, George!” The creditor argued inside the run-down shack. John was standing in the doorway of the only other room in the house, the bedroom, listening to his father and Mr. Humphreys argue over what was to be done about the loan out in the large room. They were standing in a heated discussion at the rickety old table.
“Give us four more weeks, Dan! I promise we’ll have the money then!” George Hudson Senior exclaimed.
“I’m sorry, George. I wish I could, but I can’t do anything about it. If you don’t have the money by Friday, I’m afraid we must evict you.”
“Evict!? Dan, this is all we have left! You’ve got to-“
“George, I want to help! But Mr. Solomon will not let you have anymore time! I’ve tried talking with him-everyone has! But you know as well as I do how stubborn he is!“ Mr. Humphreys sighed. “He’s sent me to tell you you have till Friday!” He took a step towards the door. “Now, I must be going. Goodbye, George.”
Mr. Hudson only grunted a response, as Dan walked out, gently pulling the door (which was half falling off its hinges) shut behind him. When Mr. Hudson heard the hoofbeats of the horse carrying away his creditor into the distance, he called John over. “Come, we must have a talk.”
“Yes, Father?” John sat down in one of the two wicker chairs.
His father sat in the other. “It’s time you learn a few things about us Hudsons.”
John’s brows raised. “Excuse me, sir?”
“I have never told you this, though you no doubt have noticed it. We Hudsons do things a bit differently than some other people. We are proud, hard-working people, who deserve to be respected and treated with due honor. We never get on our knees to beg for anything, especially forgiveness. You never forgive; never forget! There’s never an absolution with us Hudsons! If someone wrongs us, you better never forgive ‘em boy, because they be messin’ with a Hudson! And a Hudson never forgives and never forgets! Got that boy?” Mr. Hudson spoke passionately, and John knew he was angry both at Dan Humphreys and Mr. Solomon.
“Yes, Father.” John looked at the cracking floor and took those words to heart. “Never forgive, never forget. There’s never an absolution.”
“Now,” Mr. Hudson leaned forward in his chair. “There are a few more things you ought to know, ‘bout yer Ma and all.”
John quickly turned to face his father. His father never talked about his mother. She had died long ago, shortly after his big brother had in a freak accident.
“You remember your older brother Harley, right?”
John hardly recalled him. He’d only been a baby when a drunken man driving a horse carriage had run over his three-year-old brother, killing him instantly. But he still nodded.
“Well, yer Ma died ‘cause that man murdered yer brother. Harley’s death broke her poor dear heart. But that murdering coward got away with the murder. He practically murdered yer mother too! And that… that coward misfit is still alive today. I doubt this would happen, but if he ever is to come ‘round here when I’m not ‘round, and tries to ask you to forgive him, yer never to do it, John, yah hear me?” George Hudson peered right into his son’s eyes pointedly.
“Yes, Father, but how will I know who he is?”
“Iwill tell you— his despicable name is this, and I am even wain to repeat it- Donald Morgan Standish.” He then turned stern. “You are never to repeat that name—is that clear?”
“And remember, yer never to forgive him, cause a Hudson never forgives, and never forgets!” George Hudson slammed his fist upon the table.
“There’s never an absolution!” John cried, with the same fervency which his father had.
“Right, my boy!” His father said passionately. “And now we will add to the list of people we are never to forgive Dan Humphreys and Tucker Solomon!”