Near 500 words: The return

Meirose, after years away, came home. He packed himself up from the faraway land he had escaped to and came home. He threw on his dark cloak with the black hood and came home. He stepped on the dirt road east and came home. He made his way through the Canyons of Sorrow and came home. He crossed the green valleys and snow-capped mountains and came home. He walked hard roads and hidden paths and came home. He crossed the Bridge of Sorrows and came home. He went through the Gate of Regret and came home.

Down the Aisle of Trees past the Street of Justification, he went. His stride was slow and even, one foot hesitantly stepping before the other.

He came to the house of his father. There were flowers everywhere around the house. Red ones and white and yellow. It was spring when Meirose came home. He made his way through the wooden gate to his father’s house. He had not so much hope but fear that his family might not open their arms for him. He had not been a good son. Here he was at the front door, knocking, knowing he was not about to be forgiven. After all, he had stolen from them.

He had stolen their love. He had stolen their faith. He had stolen their compassion. He had stolen their trust. Now the thief had returned, and he knocked on his father’s door. That large wooden door with his father’s coat of arms embossed into it.

He heard sounds coming from the inside of the house. His hands shook. His heart beat faster. His eyes spread their tears upon his face as he waited. He waited on the sounds. He waited on the footsteps. He waited for someone in his family to answer the door.

Before Meirose stood his brother. Before Meirose stood his younger sibling. Before Meirose stood a man he didn’t recognize. He was tall and handsome, his hair sitting easily on his shoulders. He had his father’s dark eyes and his mother’s nose. And his voice was his own. “May I help you?” the man asked.

“Don’t you recognize me? Don’t you know who I am? Don’t you remember? I am the black sheep returned to beg for a forgiveness that I do not expect.”

Happiness seized the brother. Joy overcame him. Love threw its arms around his brother as he embraced the man who was Meirose.

That night there was dancing and drinking and laughing and hugging and a great feast at the home of the father of Meirose. The old man sat at the great table with wonder on his face. His prayers had been answered. He could now die in peace.

Hamlet: My crown, my own ambition, and my queen

Why, let the stricken deer go weep,
The hart ungallèd play.
For some must watch while some must sleep.
So runs the world away.
Hamlet Act 3 Scene 2.

For Hamlet’s plot till now, see Hamlet So Far.

Act 3 Scene 3. Two men. Mortal enemies. They have scouted each other out. They now know what each plans and plots. First Hamlet. He set a trap for the king. The king fell into it.

Then Claudius. A-prayin’. There Claudius is down on his knees. There Claudius is praying. But the Lord ain’t list’nin’ to no Claudius. No sirree, Jesus done turned His face away from Claudius. ‘Cause Claudius, he is a sinner. Yes sirree. He a sinning man. The $64,000 question is why does Claudius stop to pray. He ain’t a repentin’ man, that is for sure.

Claudius is not a religious man. Never has been.

Maybe Claudius just needs a folk to talk to. It’s like the serial killer. He calls up the cops and dares them to catch him. It’s that ego talking. He just wants somebody to know how smart he is. Maybe that’s Claudius. He just wants somebody to know. Since God already knows, why not have a heart-to-heart with Him.

No theologian this Claudius. He only sees prayer as having two benefits. Prayer’s there to forestall us from sinning and to pardon us once we have. Well, he has already committed the crime. And he’s not asking pardon. That would mean he has to turn himself in. He likes his job too well.

Hamlet stops. He sees Claudius praying. He draws his sword, a sword that is itching for revenge. It’s an eye for an eye kind of thing. In other words, you kill Daddy, I kill you. But there are rules to this sort of thing. I don’t kill you while you’re praying. That would get you off the hook and send you straight to heaven. Hamlet cannot have that. Hamlet cannot have that.

So it’s on to Mom’s.