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Eyes Forward

“Whats’ done is done, Patrick.” Vernon Rivers leaned forward on his cane to look his grandson in the eye. The old chair creaked under his slight weight.

“I know, Grandpa, but maybe I should try again. I can’t help thinking that if I asked Mary to forgive me, maybe we could start again.”

“Forgive you!” Vernon roared, pushing himself backwards and setting the chair into a rocking motion. “Forgive you for what? For working too hard? For trying to make a better life? Son, you’re a driven soul, just like the rest of the Rivers men. There’s no changing, and there’s no reason to apologize.”

Patrick pursed his lips and looked out over the massive ranch his grandfather and father had built together, just the two of them. Out on the far horizon, he could see the tiny figures of men working — laying tracks, he knew.

His own fortune lay there, with the railroad. It was his passion and his gift. But Mary was his love. If only he could make her understand his need to work, to see the job through.

The young man stood. “I have to think about things, Grandpa.”

Vernon pulled himself to his feet and clapped his grandson on the shoulder. “She’ll come to you when she’s ready, Patrick.” He caught the younger man’s eye again. “Always keep your eyes forward, son. The past is a monster that will ruin you if you let it.”

The two men turned and walked toward the house, where Vernon’s bride of sixty years watched them through a window.

The day was overcast, with no sun, and no shadows, yet thick black silhouettes clawed at Lacy’s husband and grandson from the ground, pushing one forward and dragging the other down.

“Don’t look behind you,” she whispered.

Published inFlash Fiction

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