Forgiven (single author)

Written by: Ray Stone

The rain had stopped at dusk, washing the pavement, leaving patches of rainbow water where oil caked the pavement by traffic lights. Paper wrappers, plastic cups, empty garish card boxes depicting the contents were ‘Finger Lickin Good,’ overflowed from the sidewalk trash cans along Main Avenue. Nestling comfortably among the Pines, the town was as I remembered. A shopping mall surrounded by restaurants, bars, and banks dominated the center while suburbia spread out either side along the freeway. I had left the ferry at Bremerton and pulled into a motel and restaurant on the outskirts. I could see to things the following morning. That could wait - I couldn’t. 

“Hi, there. What’s it gonna be?”

I flicked the dog-eared menu over quickly and noticed a face at the bar I knew well. Ignoring the man, I ordered.

“I’ll take the mixed grill with overeasy eggs and can I get a bowl of fried onion rings?”

The kid nodded, pouring me a coffee. She couldn’t have been more than sixteen or so and the short skirt revealing too much thigh for her age made me uncomfortable. It was hard to picture Laurine after nine years, but I hoped she was a little more conservative.

“Well looky here at what the rain brought with it.”

The same sarcastic sing-song tone from a voice I knew well. The hair was well groomed, and the moustache trimmed above the thick pouting lips. The only difference was a bigger belly, and a Sherrif’s shield replacing the old Deputy star. Sherrif Pecora, the face at the bar, removed his cap and squeezed into the booth. Wheezing, he pointed a stubby finger at me.

“No one wants you here after what you did. You put one finger over the line and I’ll run your ass outta town so fast your goddam feet won’t touch the ground. You hear me?” His finger was tapping the table loudly and attracting an audience. “I’ll be lookin’ out for ya.”

He slid out of the booth sideways and grunted as he stood. Glaring at me, he pushed his way back out of the bar.

Nine years seemed a lifetime, and no matter what, people only remembered the verdict and sentence. No-one cared about appeals. It took a long time for the nightmare of the tragedy to fade before I got a night’s sleep.

“Ya mind if I join ya?” 

An old man dressed in denim overalls and a worn jacket didn’t wait for an invite. His unshaven grizzly face and bright eyes and a mug of coffee in one hand told me we shared the same slice of life. The one that taught those succumbing to temptation the art of redemption and survival.

With a toothy grin, he held out a weathered leathery hand. “I’m John Brinton, and you’re Hank Driscol. I’m on the ninth step of the program, and before the Lord, I’m here to make amends and tell you the truth.”


This preface is like watching a movie. You've given us something to look forward to as you've raised my curiosity. What are these character's back stories? This is beautifully crafted - His unshaven grizzly face and bright eyes and a mug of coffee in one hand told me weshared the same slice of life. What would that be, I wonder? Excellent opening making me look forward to the next chapter. Great start!
Suraya, I completely agree. I think this is going to be a wonderful story.
As usual Ray, you had my undivided attention. Cannot wait to read the entire story.