Confession

Every day it was the same routine. Cliff rose early, went to the church and confessed his sins to Pastor Carter. The confession was always the same, as was Carter's answer; the pastor had long ago forgiven Cliff's sins.

Generally few people besides Cliff visited the church, so it was very quiet. Cliff would sit silently in a pew, and reflect on his past. Often, Carter sat with him, and the two men had many long talks about Cliff's past. Despite all this, Cliff still came to the church every day, seeking forgiveness.

Fall came, and the residents of Mineral Town began to prepare for the Winter. Everyone bustled around gathering wood, harvesting crops, cutting animal fodder...everyone except Cliff, who followed his same routine. Church, confess, reflect, eat, sleep.

One crisp day, Jack came to Cliff with some news.

"Duke and Manna need help harvesting the grapes," he said, "and you were saying you needed money."

"Thanks for telling me, Jack," Cliff said, with one of his rare smiles. "I'll be glad to help."

Harvesting the grapes was difficult work. Jack had grown used to it in his short time running his farm, but months of doing little but sitting quietly had left Cliff soft. Still, he enjoyed the work, taking satisfaction in each basket filled. He enjoyed talking and joking with Duke, Manna and Jack as he worked.

Soon, too soon, the grapes were harvested and Duke was counting Jack's pay. Manna smiled at Cliff, and motioned for him to come closer.

"Cliff, would you like to stay on? We need help making the wine...the harvest was much larger than normal. We should probably thank the Harvest Goddess for this bountiful harvest. What do you say. Cliff?" Manna said.

"Um...you should absolutely thank the Goddess," Cliff replied, feeling a bit dazed by Manna's flow of talking.

"No, silly, I meant the job! Will you help us?" Manna giggled as she spoke.

"I-I'd love to!"

The next day, Cliff went to the pond by the Hot Spring. Along the way he had collected some of the Magic Blue flowers that grew everywhere in this season, and he tossed the flower in the pond. The flower made a dull splash, and an instant later a beautiful woman rose from the water.

The Harvest Goddess.

"Hello, Cliff," she said with a smile. "Thank you for making an offering."

"You know my name?"

"Of course. You come to my church so often...Cliff, I know about your past. Carter has forgiven your sins. I have forgiven your sins. Don't you think it's time you forgive yourself?"

Cliff stared at his feet for a long time. Finally, he looked the goddess in the eyes.

"Is it really okay?"

Smiling the Harvest Goddess nodded. Then she leaned forward and kissed Cliff on the forehead.'

"By the way, I really liked that last offering," she said with a wink.

Cliff nodded, smiling broadly as he watched the Harvest Goddess sink back into her pond. Then he ran to the church.

He had a confession to make.

Author's Notes:

The end! It's a one-shot!

Constructive criticism encouraged!