The Coin Part 2

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.

I Am Not A Number 2211

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.

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The Coin – Part 1

I want to tell you a story…

Ok, this is somewhat difficult for me for a couple of reasons.  One,  this is quite a personal story.  Not because it’s about me, but rather that I made it up for my wife one night when she asked me to tell her – what she calls – a “Jamie” story.  Second, because I once wrote it as a (long) poem and it wasn’t received very well (I read the poem for the first time in a long time tonight, and, I have to say, it wasn’t as I remembered it!  Sad but true).  That being said, I have, for some time, wanted to write it out properly as a short story and I began doing so some months back.  I started, but I didn’t finish.  Not by a long chalk. 

Anyway, the point of all this rambling is because I have decided to post and introduce the first part of a little tale I called “The Coin” here on my blog in the hope that it will give the kick up the backside I need to finish writing it out.  Any comments – as long as they’re nice and/or helpful – would be greatly appreciated.  If they’re not nice and/or helpful I’ll cry and then delete them.  Probably.

Oh, and here’s the pic to go with this first part…

IMG_8021

The young man walked down the street, happy in his own world, people watching and whistling quietly to himself.  He was tall, around six feet, with light brown hair that looked blond in a certain light, and he moved with a grace that belied his size.  His broad shoulders and chest filled his grey suit jacket, his tie undone now that the working day was over.  His brown eyes scanned the street, following his fellow pedestrians discretely, his mouth tweaking into a smile when he saw something that amused him.

He was always cheerful, though not annoyingly so, and had a way about him that seemed to endear him to others without even having to try.  He had a kind word for everyone he knew, and many that he didn’t, and he never talked badly about anyone behind their back; if he had something to say, he said it to their face and always out of earshot of others.

But he was lonely.

He lived alone in a small flat, in a tower block full of other small flats, filled with other lonely people from all walks of life.  He never let his loneliness bother him though, and he went out with his friends at the weekends, had people round to watch DVDs, all the usual stuff.  He just didn’t have anyone to share the quiet moments with.

Because he lived alone he wasn’t in any particular rush to get back to the flat, so he often walked home instead of catching the bus, perhaps two or three nights a week.  It helped keep him fit without the need for a gym membership and it let him indulge in his favourite pastime of people watching.  As he walked home on this particular night the opportunity to observe his fellow man was sparse, as there were hardly any other people around.  He found his eyes were scanning the pavement more and more and soon his face was turned toward the ground completely.  He glanced at something that caught his immediate attention.

He stopped and bent down to retrieve what turned out to be a golden coin, though it was a strange looking one, something that he had never seen before.  It was about an inch in diameter and perhaps a quarter inch thick with ribbed edging.  He turned it over in his hand, looking for any markings that would determine where the coin had originated from, but there wasn’t any writing on either side.  The stamps that were on it were unusual, however, and they held his interest.  On one side there was a depiction of two hearts that seemed to be seamlessly joined, as if they were actually only one organ and not two.  They were surrounded by what appeared to be a circle made from tulips, which he thought was wonderful as tulips were his favourite flower.  On the other side was the bust of a man with no hair and his huge chest exposed.  He had a menacing look that seemed to say, “You will do my bidding”.  The face made the young man kind of nervous, not in away that frightened him, but more perhaps how he’d feel if he were looking at a mentor of some sort.

Slowly his feet began moving again and soon he was back to his normal pace, though his eyes rarely ventured away from the surface of the coin and so it was quite some time before he noticed that he was being followed.

To be continued…