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Atonement, the end, part six of six

—-final chapter

By Melissa IngoldsbyPublished 2 months ago 5 min read
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Atonement, the end, part six of six
Photo by Derek Owens on Unsplash

Star-Catcher,

Do you know how the sun sets in the west?

It drains out all of the light and the moon unfolds,

But you,

Starlight-Catcher,

You are the light,

And every part of you is the star.

Love, Dad

————-

The two men finalize the nursery. They drape it in pinks, yellows, light jades and floating orange butterfly’s with blue flowery bases.

The poem that John had written to their daughter is hung on the freshly painted (now dry wall), and they fold the baby clothes they just washed and dried in the baby dresser.

“I heard the school district is really nice,” John says finally, his voice dropping, looking at their hard work in a haze as Edward nods at him solemnly, moving toward him on the carpet where they are folding the clothes, and kissing his cheek.

“You did amazing, Johnny. You set up a beautiful home for her.”

“I’ll send you both a letter everyday.”

“I’ll write you everyday, too, my love.”

A sudden, impulsive low hug, hands wrapped tightly along the taller one’s waist, amber eyes looking up at gray golden ones in a fretful way.

“Edward, is this right? Am I supposed to do this? Am I good? Will this help make things right?” He looks up at Edward as he speaks, still holding onto him tightly at his waist.

“Remember that poem you showed me, in that book that nice woman gave you? The one by Rumi. The Believer’s Heart? That is real, my love. You are contained in such a beautiful thought. You are making a difference here. You did make a difference. And, though it pains me beyond any imaginable sense I can fathom, I know it’s right.” Edward pulls John onto his lap and cuddles him close. He tucks his fingers under John’s chin and has their eyes meet. “You are good.”

“I turned myself in the first time. I’ll do it this time, too…” John whispered, and Edward nodded, gently stroking John’s hair.

“You could get out early, who knows?” Edward says with a trembling voice, but John could hear it breaking.

“Yes, that’s true. Anything is possible,” John says, but there is no pep, despite him trying with all his might to sound confident.

They both nod, but they know in their hearts that they don’t believe it. As California law enforcement was still working to find the escaped Orange County convict John Becker, they had gotten some still image and video footage surfacing that had given federal investigators clues about how to track him, after all. The manhunt for John was so widespread, it was reaching their safe house, and even trickling down into their small, encased, podunk town of Whittier, Alaska.

The local news even pulled out a broadcast spot about it, which to John, was the last straw.

It was only two weeks after Edward was released from the hospital, that they both decided that John was going to turn himself in.

Edward felt an internal clock going off the moment he got out of the hospital, and went into a sort of paternal overdrive—-securing the two bedroom, one bath house and moving in their stuff as early as that same week. John was astonished by the huge level of energy and fortitude Edward was pushing forth so close after his serious injury, but was concerned and would have him take several breaks, doing the majority of the heavy lifting for the move for Edward despite protests.

They spent many hours making scrapbooks of letters and cute things for their daughter to show her once she grew up, to show her that John cared and loved her. They went shopping together to many baby furniture and child clothing stores and planned out the nursery from top to bottom.

They scheduled the home visits for after John is back in prison.

Nearing the end of the second week, they stayed in bed and just held each other for the whole weekend, feeling a terrible aching in their stomachs as they knew this would most likely be the last time they could do this.

“Please don’t go. Please stay. I’ll hide you. Oh God, John. I’m going to die without you.”

John started to cry, but said through the tears, “Baby, you’re not going to die.” He sniffled and had their eyes meet as they held each other. “You’re going to be so damn strong. You are going be the strongest person, more strong and positive and handsome and happy and proud and safe—-than anyone I’ve ever seen.”

“Ho-how? How can I be any of that knowing you’re in jail?” Edward sobbed into John’s chest.

“Because of us, our family, because of Clarissa, our darling daughter, and you are going to show her how to be brave and strong and true.”

Edward looked up at the passionate speech and smiled sadly.

“Am I brave? How can I know if I’m strong?” Edward asked, his voice sounding exhausted and sad.

“Because I see a man who has survived so much and still loves, still hopes, still dreams, still lives and continues to learn and fix his mistakes,” John answers lovingly and kisses Edward on the forehead.

“Same as you, John. You want to face your worst transgression against someone head on. That is admirable and was truly a honorable promise to make. Not only was it something that was owed to Barbara, but also, to God. You want to truly atone—and sacrifice your happiness for forgiveness.” Edward sighs deeply and they both breathe in at the same time.

“I’m not sacrificing my happiness, Edward.”

Edward gives him a confused look, and searches for an answer with his gaze.

John gently touches his face and smiles, leaning in close. “Just knowing that you have our daughter here and you’re both safe and sound is my true happiness. It’s like I’m here. And I will be. You’ll feel it in my letters and calls and my words.”

And Edward knew it be to true, as they both felt the shadows finally started to lift, and no more darkness covered them, only the high and low lying light of a dreamer’s heart.

The end.

——

Author notes:

Bonus content! Soon!

——

Extra bonus excerpt for ending will be added soon to the Kindle Vella and upcoming E-Book story Atonement, linked here on my Amazon page.

Thank you 😊

SeriesLovefamily
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About the Creator

Melissa Ingoldsby

I write short stories and poetry. I hope you find yourself in between the spaces of my words.

My Patheos column profile on art history.

My zombie apocalypse novel I am Bexley has been published by Resurgence Novels and you can read it here.

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Comments (3)

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  • Hamza Shafiq2 months ago

    love to go from the start

  • Starlight catcher 🌠🤩

  • Mohamed Jakkath2 months ago

    This is a touching and emotional conclusion to the story. John and Edward have worked hard to set up a beautiful home for their daughter and have created memories for her to cherish in the future. Despite the impending return to prison, John is comforted by Edward's love and support, and their bond remains unbroken. The ending is bittersweet, but also hopeful, as John and Edward's love has the power to overcome even the most difficult of circumstances. Overall, it's a beautifully written and heartfelt story.

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