Pipe Dreams

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Landon was hovering over a six foot deep hole in the ground, tears dripping down his face. His wife clung to his arm like a child as the rain poured from the August sky, joining in their despair. He had just lost his father and his sole sense of guidance. His father was his best friend and without him he felt lost and confused. His mother was in worse shape. He looked over at her and promised to never leave her. Her heart wouldn’t be able to bear it, he thought.



By the time September rolled around, Landon had acquired and began managing the antique shop his dad left him. One beautiful fall morning, Landon decided to walk the few blocks it took to get to the shop. Living in Wilmington, North Carolina all his live, he realized how much he took advantage of the beautiful sights around him. He met his mother at the shop door and held it open for her. Her glimmering, silver hair glided in the light breeze.



Later that afternoon, when the shop traffic had slowed down a bit, Landon inquired that his mother should go home for the evening.
“I don’t want to leave you alone. You’ll need my help if more costumers happen to come in.” She said.
“I think I can handle a few customers, mom. I insist, go home; I’ll lock up tonight.” He replied.



When it came time to close the shop, Landon slipped his warm coat over his shoulders and turned out the lights as he walked out the door. As he locked the door from the outside, he could’ve sworn he saw a shadow creep out of sight. Landon swiftly turned around but realized he was alone. Wary, he turned his attention toward the path home. The setting sun was the only light he had to guide him. I should’ve walked mom home earlier today, Landon said to himself. The eerie aura began to demoralize his courage to walk home alone.



Landon walked the last block up to his little cottage when a bizarre sensation overwhelmingly made his hair stand on end. He immediately shrugged off the feeling and continued on to his house. As Landon approached his porch, his paranoia got the best of him. He rapidly pulled his keys out of his pocket but carelessly dropped them. A man he hadn’t noticed startled him.



The stranger reached down for Landon’s keys and handed them to him. He stared at Landon with an amiable smile but his eyes seemed hollow. When Landon finally caught his breath, he whispered the old man a thank you.
“You shouldn’t venture out alone at such a late hour, especially by your lonesome.” The strange man stated.
Landon was at a loss for words; the man’s eyes seemed to bore into his soul.
“I have something for you”, he continued. “What if I made you a deal?”
Before Landon had time to answer, the old man touched his forehead and Landon collapsed; an unconscious slumber replaced his defensive stance.



Landon woke up with a thundering headache. He reached for his alarm clock but instead found a gold wallet full of yellow hundred dollar bills. He jumped up and looked around. This was not is bedroom nor his house. The bronze woman lying next to him was not his wife. He gazed out at the caramel ocean and the bright, rising sun resting on it. He looked at his arms and realized even he was made out of gold. The dazzling woman woke up and kissed him on the cheek.
“Isn’t it just beautiful?” she whispered.



Landon learned to play along with the illusion that this was reality. Truthfully, he loved being away from his dull life by the coast. He finally remembered the promise he made to his mother. He ran out onto the golden streets looking for the old man who had brought him there. On a blonde park bench was where Landon found the ghoulish geezer. Before Landon said a word the old devil stood up and said,
“It’s too late, you can’t go back now. A heart that’s made of gold can’t really beat at all.”

Landon lurched upright, gasping for air. He looked around and found himself sitting in his own bed. It must've just been a night terror, he prayed more than believed. He dragged himself out of bed and walked toward the kitchen to make breakfast. As he walked by the mirror, Landon didn't notice the chains wrapped around both ankles.





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