The Homecoming

Faint wisps of the gray dawn turn the dark horizon into a crisp autumn morning. The light frost, kissed by the yellow rays of the morning sun, begins to melt.

At last, he has reached his destination. They baying hounds that have been in pursuit all night, for the moment seem far away. The damp air stings his throat as he labors for each breath. Leaning on the stained marble wall, he stares sadly at the stately old mansion where he spent his boyhood. It appears so lonely. Then a vision from the past takes form. He can see a couple on the porch. Pretty, tanned children laugh, play, and ring the home with joy.

The wound in his side begins burning like fire. He hears the lady calling from the shadows of the porch. “Charles, come on home now baby.” A pain-wracked face peers over the wall. “I’m coming mama,” the hunted man cries as he stumbles up the grassy knoll.

The hounds are close. Volleys of shots sting the air. The convict falls, lying motionless at the foot of the porch. “Hey Clem, did you see that?” the tall, ruddy-faced deputy asked. “First one I’ve ever seen in these parts,” the sheriff answered. They spoke of the white dove that fluttered from the eves of the mansion, down over the crumpled body that lay in the yard.