The Sugar Quill
Author: Rachael DuBois (Professors' Bookshelf)  Story: Fingerprints in Dust  Chapter: Fingerprints in Dust
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The mill had been a promise, and for a while things had been wonderful

The mill had been a promise, and for a while things had been wonderful. Ice cream on Saturdays, a visit to the beach in the summer, a two-wheel bicycle that was almost new. The streets had filled with new families and children for her son to play with. For a while, it didnít matter that he was poor or that she had secrets. Who cared about the past when the future was so bright?

But then the owners had gone bankrupt, and the workers found themselves unemployed. The ice creams stopped abruptly and the streets emptied rapidly. Only those with nowhere else to go remained. The promise was broken, and suddenly the past swallowed them up.

Trapped, the secrets became suffocating. How could she have thought she could keep them from him? It was her fault for not believing he loved her enough. And so she told him.

He didnít leave right away. At first he thought she would contaminate the boy. But it wasnít long before he was satisfied that it was too late, and then they were on their own. She had no place to go and as the streets decayed around them they stayed.

Her house became her world. Her son would be the one to escape, she was sure, and she taught him everything she knew. But he was too hungry and she was too hollow to fill him up and he surpassed her although she did not realize it.

She had already begun to decay, and when he left her too she faded. She liked to look up at the mill that had once been a bright beacon of hope and dwell on what had once been. Who knew the past could be so comfortable when the present was like this? He knew she would not be there when he returned.

And she wasnít. He was angry and alone and although he had potential, his path was nearly determined already. It was easier that way, after all.

It was easier to believe that she had never loved him than to accept she had tried and failed. It was easier to pretend she had not been poor and weak. He was strong. He would become stronger.

She had succumbed to the past and was lost. He decided to live only for the present. The past was dust and there was no future that could not be a lie. He embraced what would give him more now, and it would take something much beyond him before he could envision a future and realize that he could have a place in it.

Even then, after years of service to this future, he found the past pulling on him. It hinted and whispered that this future would never have a place for the likes of him. And, so very much like his mother before him, he gave into the familiarity of the past and killed his chance for a future.

When hope is gone, what is the point of fighting on?

It is just easier this way.

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