Day 49 – Dream On in Sixty Seconds

Curly Wurly of the Day goes to: Andrew Graham, who also stars in this one.

I literally started this at 23:15 and when I finished it I literally had a second to edit it – and thus the last line isn’t what I wanted it to be.

 

Word Count: 1445

 

A light breeze whistled through the rusty strings of his acoustic guitar as it perched by the side of the worn out and tired looking building. Rain pattered down pathetically from the sad sky above and the moon peaked through the tiny gaps in the clouds, a glimmer of light in a night time of haunting darkness.

The city streets were littered with the dregs of society; the misfits and the beggars, the drunkards and the night larks of the twenty-four hour pubs. Within four short hours these dark streets and back alleys would become populated with the suits of the inner city, the go-lucky shoppers with too much credit than sense. Commuters would gaze gloomily from the foggy windows of the buses that would be swerving by soon enough. But for now they were all sleeping in their cosy credit bought beds within their mortgaged houses on their neat suburban estates.

Quite what they would be dreaming of Andrew did not know. Every night he would gaze up towards where he thought the stars might be and strive to hope but for the chance of what they already have. Andrew lived on the street. There was no pension plan, no direct debits and no driveway to park his four wheel drive. For him there was only a musty old raggedly sleeping bag and a few rags that he could call his own. He had no home; he was the urban nomad and the only berries worth foraging were from the purses of passers by.

Andrew poured the coppers out from his plastic cup and pocketed them. His breath was foul and his teeth were rotting. A beard was slowly taking over his chin. This was not the man that he had imagined he would be. He slumped back against the entrance way that he would call home tonight. Rain poured over the trellis above and came down in sheets, splashing to the ground just inches away from his feet.

He was tired, exhausted even, but he could not sleep. The cold was biting and his fingers were freezing. It was November and there was four whole months of worse weather to come, but he could not help but fear falling asleep tonight. Andrew knew of many that did and who never woke again. Instead he rustled inside his sleeping bag in an effort to keep warm.

Andrew had chosen a little street just off one of the main roads in the town. It was quiet enough to sleep at night, but not too quiet. He did not like to be near the other tramps if he could avoid it. He trusted them least out of all the strays that lingered in the night and that was why he was put slightly on edge when he spied the strange silhouetted man standing at the opposite end of the alley. His outline was shimmering in the silver moonlight. As he approached, Andrew tried to act asleep as if he did not even exist at all. There was no one else in the alley that he could have missed – this man was not a criminal here to meet his partner. He was well dressed, a nice coat. Clean shoes. The man continued towards Andrew, his face still shrouded in darkness. Andrew was starting to think that he should make a run for it. The main street was about twenty metres away. There could be a taxi rank or an open kebab shop. But he was frozen to the spot. He felt the man’s laser eyes intensely focussing on him. They were burning a hole in him.

The man stopped just a few inches from the end of Andrew’s sleeping bag and turned on his heel. Now facing Andrew, he descended down towards his head level and learned forward. At last Andrew could see a tiny slice of his face from the fluorescent reflection in the shop window behind him. An amber ring appeared suddenly from the darkness where his mouth would be and a gravelly voice exhaled a thick cloud of smoke, “What do you want, boy?”

Andrew’s voice was stolen from him. He was aware of the type of man this could be.

The man inhaled another puff of his cigar and the ash glowed in the darkness like a lighthouse on the coast of some rocky bay.

“Come, boy, I know you’re not silent. What do you want, what do you wish for?”

“Nothing, sir, nothing at all,” Andrew replied, his tone laced with fear.

“You won’t get anywhere with talk like that. I know what you want, you see. I know you too well.”

“Who are you?”

“Me? That doesn’t matter. What’s a name, anyway, Andrew?”

“How do you know my name?”

The man chuckled, “Name? I know more than that. I know your heart,” he pressed a finger right on Andrew’s chest, “Now close your eyes and tell me – no you don’t even have to tell me – think me your deepest desire…”

Andrew could not help it. He found his mind complying to the man’s suggestion beyond control. As fast as lightening he felt himself being pulled forwards towards the man. There was nothing he could do to stop it. He thought he would fall into the man, but as he expected to slam into the man’s body something quiet different happened.

A bright light slammed to the back of his retina and blinded him temporarily. When he opened his eyes his breath was kidnapped from his lungs. Trees surrounded him. A school lay ahead and hundreds of teenagers swarmed by him. He was there. Though not consciously controlling it he was walking to school. The world then collapsed into an exam hall, a desk, a sheet of paper and a pen. Andrew barely had a chance to acknowledge the writing on the paper before he was standing up in front of a crowd of be-gowned teenagers, a hat upon his head and a glowing couple he recognised as his parents. But the scene was wiped from his eyes and a new one replaced in its wake. He was at university. First year, second, third and finally fourth. Graduation, alcohol, fun times, great friends, partying, sororities, fraternities. Something slammed into the back of his knees and he was thrown off his feet, landing neatly in a comfy desk chair as another scene folded over on top of the previous one. He was at another desk with more paper. But this was no exam hall. He felt a tight tie around his neck, a smart suit wrapped around a body that felt more comfortable in jeans. There was a clock on the wall opposite. He felt a great sense of familiarity about watching it.

The room went black and he was suddenly in a café with a smiling blond. She was dainty, carefree, simple. Andrew seemed to know everything and nothing about her. They were perfect for each other. They wanted the same things, they knew the same people. A ring sparkled on her left hand and as it glittered in his eye he could hear church bells thundering through his ears and when he looked back at her eyes they were both at the altar. Crying galloped over the bells, however, as again the church was replaced with a huge bedroom and a massive cot, a cosy night light and enough toys to swallow a child whole. He felt older, she looked older. The child seemed to morph into a toddler, a young child and a teenager before his very eyes. Two siblings flanked their first child – a girl and another boy. Andrew could feel a sixth sense of a healthy bank balance and a brand new car in the driveway. A slight flash back to the same office flickered through his skull. The teenagers grew into adults and the house that they once filled with their optimistic puberty was now a hollow cage for his wife’s depressed rage. But there were holidays and neighbours to entertain. There was still the supermarket life and the drive thru on Sundays. There was still a hundred channels on the television, but the college fund was gone and the children would have children of their own soon.

Everything went black and Andrew was sucked back into reality. He inhaled the shiveringly cold air and his brain seemed to freeze with the rush of it all. The man was hovering above, puffing his cigar still. It was still dark. It was still the same night.

“What happened?” Andrew asked, gasping for breath.

The man laughed, “Dream on in sixty seconds, my boy, dream on…”

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~ by S.G. Mark on November 25, 2011.

3 Responses to “Day 49 – Dream On in Sixty Seconds”

  1. beautifully descriptive as ever, but pleeeeaaaase tell me how you would have ended the story if you had the time!!

  2. That was excellent.

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