I eventually got around to writing some more of the short story The Coin tonight. I know how the story goes, after all I made it up, but it can be, believe it or not, difficult to put into words sometimes. The first part to this story can be found here, just in case you missed it.
The few people that were around seemed to disappear when he turned onto the street where his apartment building was situated. The quiet, tree-lined avenue was dappled with early evening sunshine filtered through the green canopy and the only sounds were the birds hiding in the trees and his own footsteps falling on the pavement. Except there seemed to be an echo of the click his heels made on the slab surface. At first it wasn’t noticeable, but soon it became clear that a second set of footsteps were falling slightly out of sync with his own. The young man glanced back out of curiosity and was shocked to see a familiar face, one he had recently come to know. It was the face portrayed on the golden coin he held in his now sweating palm.
His first thought was that it couldn’t be the same man, that it was just a strange coincidence, but his racing heart – when did that start beating so fast? – told him that this was no coincidence. The man whose face was pictured on the coin was the same man who appeared to be following him now. Maybe he just wanted the coin back. Perhaps it was some sort of weird gift from a girlfriend or something and held sentimental value to him. The same menacing look etched into the coin was on his face now and that made the young man pick up the pace and then break into a run for the last few yards to the main door of his building.
Entry to the foyer was via a numbered keypad and the young man fumbled at it for a few seconds before getting the combination right, the buzz as the lock disengaged a comforting and welcome sound and he pushed the door open so hard it banged into the wall, bouncing almost shut again before he could get a hold of it and slam it firmly back into place. He looked out the window set in the door panel, expecting to see nothing and to laugh at his own imagination, and saw the big, bald man standing not two feet from the door, taller than he was by a good six inches, much broader than he was and looking a lot meaner.
The young man backed away from the door, hiding the coin behind him, then turned and ran for the stairs. He didn’t know why he was running, it wasn’t like coin man could get in, but he ran anyway, taking the stairs two at a time until he reached the third floor where his small flat was at the end of the hall. He walked briskly to his door, casting glances behind him as he went, managed to get the key into the lock on the second try and entered into his flat where everything was normal and where there were no big, bald, menacing men waiting for him.
He closed the door behind him, leaning back on to it as it latched into place, breathing a huge sigh of relief. He felt the coin in his hand, warm now from his body heat, and he removed his jacket, keeping hold of the coin as he did so, reaching for the coat hook on the back of the door while looking at the gold disc once again. He missed the hook and his jacket fell to the carpeted floor un-noticed as he walked into the kitchen to get a beer from the fridge. Popping the lid off the bottle, he took a big gulp of the cold lager before heading for the living room, bottle in one hand, coin in the other. How has this little piece of metal captivated him so much when, any other day, he would have gladly returned it to the man, no questions asked…
The bottle slipped from his fingers, thudding to the floor, spilling the remainder of its contents onto the carpet, the fingers of his other hand instinctively tightening around the coin. The man in question was sitting in the one armchair in the room, sipping his own beer, watching a muted TV.