A Story by Steffi

Another Flash Fiction Attempt....


Walter Spratling was the crowning glory of Casper. And on the day of his funeral, all of the small Wyoming town was there. They bow their heads to share their grief in their shades of charcoal black and slate grey and make sure to shake the hand of the poor windowed Spratling. Carol, a sweet woman, plain from the day she was born. Her delicate hands are covered in black dyed cotton fabric as she bats away the tears with the silk of her handkerchief. ‘She saw it coming’ she says. ‘He acted so strange’ as she bats away more tears. 

Walter Spratling for the majority of his life worked as a welder for the local factory.  His coffee was cold by the time the sun rises and he was boots were laced tight as his aging Lincoln sat warming in the drive way before the morning birds sang their first tunes. As the wrinkles increased and the gray hairs invaded the copper brown he found his retirement with the land. Weeding and plotting his land first, the neighbors next till the block was primped and pristine. Determined to keep at work, he surrounded himself with the soft plush soil and the gentle tangling of the roots between his fingers. Never one to lose the spring in his step or the youngster in his heart, the town loved him. Dirt clung to his fingers, clung to his hands and embedded itself under his nails. From morning till Carol would call him into dinner she would find him with his fingers buried in the land. 

Till one morning, towards the end of his life, the aging Walter Spratling came rushing through the door. Cradling his hands tight to his chest he raced towards the sink and began to scrub the dirt from his hands. ‘It’s like he was possessed! He wouldn’t stop’ Carol says with a fresh set of tears. He scrubbed and scrubbed till the redness of his hands shone from across the room. After a hot cup of coffee, two sugars and a quick splash of cream, he uttered his first words. ‘Dark spots’. Upon his hands the darkened spots from aging covered like patches on his hands.

That’s the last day that anyone saw the waning Mr. Spratling outside of his quaint home. The weeds grew like wildfire as the flowers wilted and vanished. Occasionally he would peak around the yellow tinted curtain as Carol took over the upkeep of the lawn. Always clutching his hands close to his chest petting the dark spots with trembling fingers. 

Not to long after, Walter Spratling didn’t wake before the sun rose and his boots were not laced before the first morning birds sang their songs. The Handlermen’s placed the hydrangeas, the Flatner’s the roses from their bushes, the Burg’s the daisies from their gardens and the azaleas from the Thompson’s. And so on they placed the flowers upon his grave till a garden seemed to sprout from the headstone itself.

© 2010 Steffi

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Added on December 17, 2010
Last Updated on December 17, 2010



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