Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Forgive Us Our Sins

First published in MicroHorror (2007)

“And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us,” Grace intoned as she sat on the bench outside the courthouse waiting for her bus. The tears were gone. The foreman’s “not guilty” permanently engraved in her mind.

She didn’t understand how they could let him go. His lawyer said he had no reason to commit the crime. Who needed a reason these days? He’d killed her grandson. She knew it, and God knew it.

“For thine is the kingdom…” The squeal of the bus’ brakes interrupted her prayer. She walked to the back, not because she had to, like in the old days, but because she wanted to be alone.

She sat in the last row and took her knitting out of the oversized bag. She heard the sound of nylon-encased legs approaching and smiled at the woman who slid into the window seat of the row across from her. The woman smiled back, but nothing about her face indicated she recognized Grace.

“Say, weren’t you on the jury for that murder case that just ended?”

The woman looked at her, but didn’t answer.

“Sure you were. I remember your hat. Mind if I ask you a question?” Grace said as she slid across the aisle to join the juror.

“I guess it’s okay now that the trial’s over.”

“How did you determine that that young man was innocent of killing my...his friend?”

“Well, the lack of a weapon played a part in our decision, and we didn’t believe much of what the prosecutor said. You know how many people are wrongly convicted every year? Besides, the defendant appeared to be such a nice young man, clean shaven, wearing a cross on a chain. He didn’t look like the kind of person who would stab someone.”

Grace watched stoically as the bus pulled up to her stop. She looked at each of the passengers waiting to get on, wondering which one would find the plump juror with the knitting needle stuck in her chest. Not that Grace cared. She did what she had to do. An eye for an eye, she thought, as she stepped off the bus and began the two-block walk to her apartment.

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