A Schuyler Falls Story: The Pearl


The black man stood a fair distance from the group of mourners at the gravesite.  His nervous fingers worried the soft hat in his hands. He was dressed in his Sunday best – a worn blue suit, freshly pressed. The occasion demanded it.

It wasn’t every day a man buried his father.

He couldn’t make out the minister’s words, but Moody guessed the content. His old man had been a pillar of the Schuyler Falls Methodist Church. Moody watched the faithful dab their eyes.

People only see what they want to see, he thought.

Not so when it came to Granny Ella, standing ramrod straight at the foot of her son’s grave, eyes fixed on something only she could see.

No fake sentiment there.

She knew too well the stiff-necked nature of the man being buried.

Finally the service ended and Moody watched as Granny Ella and the others departed. He then made his way to where his father’s body rested.

“So, daddy, looks like it’s just you and me. Been awhile, hasn’t it? I gotta few things I need to say.

“You never figured me for much, did you? Since I was a young ‘un, you said I was a disappointment. Never mattered how hard I tried; nothing was ever good enough. How many times you reckon you said I’d never amount to anything?

“Well, it’s a fact that if you don’t expect much from folks, you don’t get much in return. Every bad prophecy you made about me has just about come true.”

Moody ran a hand through his crinkly hair. The feel of it still surprised him. He smiled. “Guess I look a bit different to you now, don’t I? This black skin of mine…”

“Life’s strange, daddy. One night, just when I was feeling the devil in every corner, God gave me a miracle. This old Black man come up to me and he looked deep inside my soul. Said he saw something good there…

“This sounds crazy, but I think he might’ve been an angel. He asked me how much I wanted to come home and start over, how much I wanted to see Granny Ella again. Next thing I know, he was gone.

“But here’s the thing – he gave me his face and his color. I was able to escape the past and come back here. Gave me a new start, he did.

“Funny thing… when he looked inside me, he saw a person of value.  Why couldn’t you?”

Moody sighed, shaking his head for what might have been.

“Daddy, you know anything about pearls? A pearl begins its life as an irritant, lodging itself deep inside an oyster’s soft body. Now, that old oyster, he can’t escape the pain that irritant causes.  To protect himself, he secretes a substance that covers it, layer after layer… until finally, this thing of value, a pearl, is formed, and all the irritation is gone.

“I guess you were my irritant, daddy. All your meanness, your harsh words… I covered ’em over, buried ’em beneath a protective coating. They don’t hurt me anymore.

“I made a pearl out of your meanness. Like that angel told me, I’m a person of value now.

“I wanted you to know that – and to know something else. You were my daddy and you didn’t do right by me… but I forgive you.”

Moody paused, surprised at the unexpected moisture in his eyes.

“Yeah, I forgive you, daddy – ’cause that’s what a person of value does.”

Word Count: 582

Author’s Note: Story written in response to ThainInVain’s weekly fiction prompt (here). This week’s prompt was to take a favorite character from one of our previous stories and write a story about him / her utilizing the word oyster.

The story of Moody was begun in ‘Miracle Night‘ and continued in ‘Second Chances.’

About Kate Loveton

Aspiring novelist. Avid reader of fiction. Reviewer of books. By day, my undercover identity is that of meek, mild-mannered legal assistant, Kate Loveton, working in the confines of a stuffy corporate law office; by night, however, I'm a super hero: Kate Loveton, Aspiring Novelist and Spinner of Tales. My favorite words are 'Once upon a time... ' Won't you join me on my journey as I attempt to turn a hobby into something more?
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42 Responses to A Schuyler Falls Story: The Pearl

  1. Great line and concept — “I made a pearl out of your meanness.”

    I would have an allusion to Steinbeck’s novel, “The Pearl,” because that is my style. Been a while since I read it, you may have one without me knowing.

    • Kate Loveton says:

      I’m glad you liked the line. It seemed to sum up the story for me. I have read a lot of Steinbeck, and I’ve heard of “The Pearl,” but haven’t read it. I am going to check it out on Amazon. Thanks for commenting!

  2. mihrank says:

    As always – such powerful and amazing story!

  3. M. C. Dulac says:

    A great piece, which had me intrigued from the first lines. Now I want to more of Moody’s story!

  4. I missed the beginnings and went back to catch up. Love this story. My heart twisted at every turn and I cried with Grandma Ella, and while I read Moody’s conversation with his Daddy. Is this the end or might there be a continuation?

  5. Helen Espinosa says:

    Kate, this story touched me in so many ways. Well-written and simply beautiful!

  6. Another visit back to Schuyler Falls! ❤

    I am so glad that you decided to continue Moody's story as I had been wondering what might have happened to him after his chance meeting in the last story.

    I always love the concepts you come up with, Kate. Excellent work! ❤

  7. willow1945 says:

    Love this one, Kate. Learning how to love oneself–so important and it brings a richness and sweetness to life. Beautifully written.

    • Kate Loveton says:

      Thanks, Willow. Some of the hardest work some folks will ever do is to learn to love themselves and not accept the labels that others put on them. I’m glad you enjoyed it! 🙂

  8. You know I love rejection, redemption and family dysfunction, Kate! This was really good. Especially the ending.

    My brother’s skin turned black (not kidding), but I’m pretty sure he didn’t get visited by an angel. He’s fascinated with experimental anti-aging cures (mysterious potions shipped in from other countries). I think I’ll pray an angel visits him :).

  9. Glynis Jolly says:

    Wow! That grabbed me and kept me there until the end.

  10. noelleg44 says:

    A perfect Christmas story, Kate, even if not set at that time of year. The Schuyler Falls concept is clever – when’s the book coming out??
    You really touched the heart with this one!

    • Kate Loveton says:

      You flatter me! 😀 😀 One day I hope a book of some sort does come out. It makes me very happy to know the story touched the heart – I was hoping it would. Thanks, dear Noelle.

  11. Pingback: Flash Fiction Challenge – Week 48 Submissions | Thain in Vain

  12. I really enjoyed the Moody story. I went back and read the first one as you wrote it way back in week 17 (wow) and it was great. Love the Schuyler Falls concept! TiV

  13. Excellent concept, superbly executed. Great job.

  14. There’s closure here, Kate, at least closure of sorts and for a while.
    Emotionally charged and moving and a fine effort in so few words.

    Take the best care,


  15. Those 582 words pack a powerful emotional punch.

  16. Stephen Thom says:

    Good work, affecting resolution, I liked the overall tone in this one esp. at the beginning, some nice scene setting. Good moments of localised real dialogue (‘gotta few things-‘/’since I was-‘) and some lovely subtle touches sprinkled around – ‘worried the soft hat’ / ‘standing ramrod straight’ / ‘unexpected moisture’ that are so important to personalising the writing. Nice one 🙂 also i did not know this about oysters and pearls.

    • Kate Loveton says:

      Wow, Stephen – this has to be the best review I’ve ever received! THANK YOU! Um… if I ever write a novel, I want you to do the jacket review! 😀 Seriously, thanks very much – what a boost to my confidence!

  17. W. K. Tucker says:

    I’m happy you continued Moody’s story. I have enjoyed all three–and am looking forward to another installment. 😀

  18. This story brings tears to my eyes…rejection, family dysfunction, redemption. Thank you for sharing.

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