The lost dogs…#3

Friends: The following weeks I will be posting some of the chapters of my new short story entitled, The Lost Dogs of Mercy Trap. This is the first of 6-8 stories to be published in 2016. I hope you enjoy. John

The Lost Dogs of Mercy Trap
A short story (Chapter three)
John Preston Smith

It had been two years since Mary had died, since Jimmy had been paralyzed, and since King had disappeared.

It was Sunday and Christmas was one week away.

It had been a difficult time for both Joseph and his son. The ups and downs of hope and despair regarding Jimmy’s paralysis demanded more love and acceptance than Joseph thought he was capable of handling. It had been a life-changing experience for both.

Besides his mother, Jimmy had lost his freedom and his dog. He could no longer play sports, hang with his friends, climb stairs, ride a bike, run, dance, swim…the list was endless. Instead, he was learning to face life while tethered to a wheeled chair.

Joseph was facing a future without the love of his life.
For two years, two dreadfully long and difficult years, Joseph and Jimmy had maintained the best possible relationship.

Joseph decided it was time for he and his son to accept what had happened, embrace it as best they could, and to move forward as Mary would have wanted. It was time to find out how his son would react.

On Monday morning the snows of winter were coming and schools were closed for Christmas. Joseph and Jimmy were having breakfast. “I’d like to place a memorial on the side of the road where your mom died.”

Jimmy studied his plate as if an answer were somewhere in his scrambled eggs. Without looking up, he said. “I don’t understand.”
“I’d like for you and I to put a sign on Gunner Hill close to where the accident occurred.”

Jimmy look at his dad, confused. “Why?”

“For three reasons. One, it tells people who we lost. Many, many people knew your mom. I don’t want them to forget her. Secondly, it might alert folks to the danger of Gunner Hill and maybe they will drive more cautious. Who knows, our sign might save a life.”

Joseph removed a handkerchief from his pocket, blew his nose, and whipped his eyes.

“What’s the third reason, Dad?”

Joseph reached across the table and took his son’s hand. “It’s time, Jimmy.”

“Time?”

“Time for you and I to let your mom go. It’s time for you and I to be thankful that we have each other. And it’s time for you and I to look to the future.”

It took ten seconds…ten of the longest seconds in Joseph’s life. But in the end, Jimmy squeezed his dad’s hand and cried.

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