This is part five of six from my short story Never An Absolution. As this is my second to last part, I am currently trying to figure out what next short story to do, so if you haven’t voted and would like to vote on which next short story you would like to see, please go to my last post My Next Short Story and you can see the options!
In the last part of Never An Absolution, Duncan brought John to visit a lonely old lady who explained that her bitterness towards different people had brought her to where she was that day. Now Duncan has two more scenarios for John to experience and is hoping that he will change.
Duncan ran to catch up with John who was presently kicking rocks vehemently as he walked. “Phew, you got a good head start on me!” Duncan gave a laugh as he caught his breath.
John glared at the ground. “I can’t believe that stubborn old lady! No wonder she didn’t get married! She sounded like a stubborn old fool who didn’t give a fellow a chance!”
“Yeah, but they wronged her.” Duncan shrugged, trying to hide the smile threatening to break across his face.
“It’s not like they purposely meant it to hurt her!”
Duncan was silent, as he couldn’t help but think that John was doing the exact same thing to Mr. Standish. He thought about mentioning that, but then thought twice about it, as he saw the second person who was involved in his plan walking up the road. “Right on time,” He muttered to himself, then called, “Why hullo Mr. Hargrove!”
The old man gave a curt response. “Hello.” He said, as he shifted a bag filled with rocks on his shoulders.
John dropped his mouth and almost burst out laughing. “Why on earth are you carrying around all those rocks for?! You look like a deranged idiot!”
Mr. Hargrove eyed him with steely eyes. “These rocks are not a laughing matter! Each one of these represents a past offense done to me! I swore I’d never forget ‘em! And I never will!” He pulled out a rock. “Now, this one was when Mr. Harris cut in front of me in the grocery line. And this one was when Mrs. Kattle didn’t let me borrow a cup of sugar. And this one—”
“All right, all right!” John exclaimed. “I get it, I get it. You’re a weirdo who collects rocks and names them, and carries them all around on your back. I’ve gotta run now, okay, bye.” John slipped around the man and started down the path again at a brisk pace.
Mr. Hargrove and Duncan exchanged glances, before the former burst out laughing. “Can I go forgive these people now and drop these rocks somewhere? This isn’t good for my back.” He chuckled.
“Of course, Mr. Hargrove, and thanks again for helping,” Duncan grinned. “Now I got to catch up with him again—I’ve been running after him all morning! See you later, sir!”
“See you later as well, Duncan,” Mr Hargrove waved as Duncan took off.
When Duncan met up with John again, he didn’t have to start up a conversation. John did it for him.
“You know some pretty stupid people, you know that? Miss Spencer is illogically ridiculous, and Mr. Hargrove is stupid! Carrying all those rocks around like that! Y’know that’s going to get pretty heavy!”
“I see.” Duncan hid another smile, as they entered the town. As he looked up, he saw a small white farmhouse and smiled. This was his final stop. “Hey, Charlie! Charlie Milker!” He smiled, seeing a small boy outside playing with two others.
“Hi, Mr. Flilips!” The little boy said cheerily.
“What’re you up to today?” Duncan asked him.
“Me? I’m playing with Irving Hollis and Buckley Hanter!” He smiled. “And Irving just lost his tooth and got a whole dollar for it!”
John’s brows furrowed as he listened to the conversation. Finally, he broke in. “Hey, one minute, Charlie. Isn’t Irving Hollis the boy who burnt down your home which made your folks lose everything? And didn’t your father die in that fire?”
The little boy’s brows raised, and his large blue eyes started to fill with tears, but he bravely smiled. “Yes sir. But it was an accident, and he’s very sorry, and we friends now!”
John stared at him. “How can you forgive someone for doing that?! Even if it was an accident? He killed your father! He destroyed your whole home—he ruined your life!”
Charlie looked down. “True, he hurt me and my family badly. But unless I forgave him, he’d continue to hurt me, cause I’d let him. But since I forgave him, I be happy! First, Jesus says to forgive, and I love Jesus and want to obey Him! Second, I feel much better having forgiving him! He a friend now! And if I didn’t forgive, I’d be awful bitter and have no friends! And it would weigh me down—the bitterness, I mean—like a big bag of rocks, and I’d have to carry that ‘round everywhere! The only chance I’d get to put it down would be to forgive!” Charlie looked up with a smile. “And finally, if I didn’t forgive I’d never be happy again! The bitterness wouldn’t let me be truly happy! And so I’m happy, because Jesus forgives me and I forgive others!”
John was silent for a few moments, then in a gruff tone quickly excused himself and went off towards the woods again.