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Ripples of consciousness

by Practicer 

Posted: 28 September 2019
Word Count: 806
Summary: The frustration of a physical disability. A story of grief

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Clayton watched the shadowy sparks of twilight trail off the smooth patio pebbles that he would habitually skim across the surface of the still life pond at the bottom of the back of his parents garden.  Claytons attempts at discovering precisely whereabouts the pebbles landed was deeply worrying his Mum. She would secretly watch Clayton , not only gradually ruin her patio, but also watch him search for the missing pebbles. Clayton would stand over the ponds edge, as if he were  starring into an unknown abyss.  His search for the pebbles that he had thrown were futile because all he witnessed in the ponds reflection, was his own image looking back at him in the fading turquoise glow, edging the darkness.  Claytons  silent yearning to retrieve what he had let go off was proving to be unhealthy , as he would dip his fingers into the murky water and pull out weeds and all sorts of mini water beasts. His Mum eventually decided to drain the ponds water and refill the hole with soil to create a flowerbed.
  Clayton went through life suffering a weak left arm due to a stroke he had at birth. Claytons Mum had since passed away, during his mid adulthood.  Clayton believed in Cosmic ordering.  The symbolism of something so small as a pebble, he concluded was some sort of rock of gratitude that he had perhaps unintentionally given to the universe. However, after many years living in depression and despair of not being able to get a job that was suitable with his health condition. Clayton eventually became a sweeper of a hard block floor in a accessory shop.  Clayton was offered the job because initially nobody else applied. All Clayton had to do was sweep the dust, and debris away, before the shop opened to the public each morning. Clayton would often revert to the reverie of contemplating the meaning of life, just like skimming the  pond with the symbolic pebble that grew into the job he now had.
When Clayton was  a child, both his parents were keen gardeners. One night whilst he was getting ready to go to bed. His curtains had been firmly drawn as not to emit the slightest sliver of moonlight.  Suddenly,  a thud, like a propeller whirling and then unfurling caused him to twinge on the surface of his conscious awareness. Fortunately, he was too tired to believe in ghostly bedsheets and fell asleep more or less instantly. On awakening the next morning , once he had opened his curtains, he saw his Dad lift a Dead crow from the flowerbed. The crow must have mistaken the windows reflection for trees. It was only when  Clayton sensed a connection of leaving the pain of his own physical body to a realm of infinite reality that he begged his Dad to give the crow an organised burial. However, during the crows burial, Clayton sensed a an attack of necrophobia, and not necessarily because of the Crows corpse. When Clayton peered down the hole that had been freshly dug up , he witnessed the sparks of the missing pebbles rotating like the patterns of a kaleidoscope  in the trick of the stark morning sunlight.
Whilst Clayton swept the shops floor, he would bottle up the panic attacks that were brought on by his health condition, as well as the fear of sweeping any mortal shells that would jump out and twist his arm even further.
A sales assistant who actually seemed to trust Claytons clinical sweeping work, told him that a customer, who was waiting for the shop to open, had a found a dead sparrow lying just outside the shops front,  upon the pavement. Clayton was then instructed to dispose of the corpse in the nearest bin.  Clayton feared losing his job , if he did not carry out this rather sickening task.
Clayton did not want to pick up the bird with his bare hands. He therefore, found a dustpan and brush to put the once live sparrow into. When Clayton  found the sparrow, he was struck by how peaceful the little thing looked. It was as if the Sparrow passed over with a gentle smile on its face.
Clayton was at the time of his Mums passing,  too upset and traumatised to attend her  funeral. However, now , as he attempted to clear away the fallen sparrow, across the road from the shop, beside a car park, a flowerbed seemed to magically appear. Clayton said a prayer and gently dug a hole with his right hand and then tipped the fallen sparrow into the dark emptiness of the ground, that gradually lit up with a ray of sunshine looping around some treetops.  Clayton could almost step into the peace and quiet of life after life in the ripple of his consciousness.

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Comments by other Members

Bazz at 14:29 on 29 September 2019  Report this post
Hi Robert, welcome to the group :)
This is a very interesting piece of flash, full of meaning, and introspection. You take us through a life, and give us a true connection to Clayton. There's a lot of nuance here, cosmic ordering, grief, the inability to move on from lingering childhood incidents, it's a very thoughful piece.

The first sentence felt a little long, perhaps, and I spotted a couple of Claytons that should be Clayton's. Hope you don't mind a litte feedback like that, we try to be constructively helpful around here.

I look forward to reading more of your work in the future :)

Practicer at 17:28 on 29 September 2019  Report this post
Thank you for the constructive comments.

I am reading other members stories, taking my time.
I am also, slowly, studying punctuation. It is a relief to receive feedback.

Bazz at 20:06 on 29 September 2019  Report this post

Thank you for the constructive comments.

My pleasure. I know how awkward it can be having someone new new read your work for the first time. We run a weekly flash fiction chellenge here (which is entirely optional), feel free to enter that, or post anything that you like :)

V`yonne at 17:06 on 06 October 2019  Report this post
Oh I hate touching anything dead so that resonnated with me. It's an interesting piece and aside from a couple of things you could trim, it's not carrying too much verbosity for a micro-story which is good. It's a real art keeping things short and at the same time nicely rounded. Flash fiction is an interesting discipline. Do join in.

Practicer at 08:58 on 07 October 2019  Report this post
Thank you for your words of encouragement.

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