January by the Numbers 24: Forgiveness Forbidden (a ficlet)

January by the numbers continues (We’re in February now but hey)

From [personal profile] thebonesofferalletters‘s prompt “Forbidden, forgotten, foreshadowing, forgiving
;” a story? At least a ficlet.

You could call it foreshadowing, but in some way, that suggests forethought. This wasn’t planned. It wasn’t fought-out or thought-out or talked out.

It just… happened. The way sometimes you mean to go south and end up north, or you mean to do the dishes and just… don’t.

Except we’re not talking about a person, a misstep, a sink full of dishes.

We’re talking about the Forgotten.

It started with a forgiving, or, at least, something they called a Forgiving. It was a day declared first by the grass-roots groups, then by the astroturf groups, and then, within three short years, by the Leader of the Nation.

Forgiving Day was supposed to be about amnesty – little amnesties and big amnesties. It was a day for libraries to forgive fines and for courts to reduce back fees and paperwork charges. It was a day, originally, for friends to move past small quarrels. It was a day to let people admit to knowledge of large crimes in return for forgiveness from small crimes.
Then someone got up in arms about what, exactly, should be forgiven.

And once one person had made a stink, then other people started stinking, and soon the whole place just stank.

First, you could only bring back ten books to the library and they couldn’t be more than 10 years overdue.

Then you couldn’t be forgiven a crime with a victim.

Then it was forbidden to forgive angry words.

There were many more steps along the way, of course, but soon the only things that could be forgiven were very minor offenses — jaywalking, perhaps, or swearing in public. And anything that couldn’t be forgiven… was absolutely forbidden.

Soon, Forgiveness day became an empty ceremony, and all of its history forgotten. Since it was forbidden to tell stories of the way things had been…

You could call it foreshadowing, I suppose, that first argument on the Council Steps: whether or not it was acceptable to forgive everything.

But that would suggest premeditation and that, of course, is forbidden.

Want More?

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