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Thread: Mystery of the Rare Gold Coin

  1. #1
    Registered User DRayVan's Avatar
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    Jun 2018

    Mystery of the Rare Gold Coin

    Silently making his way to the top of the stairs, Willy Perkins, a first-time cat-burglar, gripped the door knob with trembling hands. He bypassed the house-alarm system without tripping it, and now, the grand prize awaited him behind the library’s door. Sir Archibald Wainwright was a collector of rare coins. If the rumors were true, a small fortune was ripe for the picking to anyone bold enough to breach Wainwright’s defenses. Willy was up to the task.

    Born William Albert Perkins on January 31, 1994, Willy had several run-ins with the law for petty crimes during his youth. He committed his first assault at sixteen, but tonight was his chance to move into big-time crime: Breaking and Entering, Grand Theft.

    Willy slowly turned the doorknob, heard the tumbler click, and the bolt retract. Pushing on the door so not to cause the hinges to creak, he opened it far enough to slip in. At the far end of the room was a lighted case with a gold coin set on a black background. Willy moved closer for a better look. The coin looked old, worn, inscribed with writing he didn’t understand, and laying on a bed of silk so deep purple it was almost black. Encasing the coin was a seamless glass cover, embedded in dense wood – maybe ebony – with a brass locking mechanism. Four lights – one angled from behind, two angled from either side, and one angled from the top – illuminated the two-inch diameter coin.

    Willy examined the enclosure and locking mechanism for means of gaining entry. He checked for hidden alarms but found none. He tried picking up the enclosure, but it was securely attached to a base, which was attached to the floor. If this was the prize, he would have to open the case to claim it.

    The hands on his watch showed 12:13. Willy figured he had about two hours to accomplish the job and get out safely. First, he needed to think. Was entry as simple as picking the lock? Could there be a hidden alarm? What about other coins and forget this one?

    The last thought was the easiest to tackle. Sir Archibald collection wasn’t as extensive as Willy heard, in fact, after searching through display cases and drawers, he found a mere handful of coins. So his attention returned to the display case and the prized rare coin.

    Willy laid out his lock-picking tools on the rug by the display case. He chose a tension tool and a pick, inserted them in the lock, and gave them a turn. Nothing. They slipped by a smooth barreled interlock without engaging the key pins. Inserting a drag-rake, he moved it in and out trying to catch the key pins but failed.

    Beads of sweat ran down his temples. He loosened his collar for another go at the lock. Choosing a smaller pick, Willy rotated the tool full circle the length of the barrel but couldn’t feel a key pin or the depression where the key pins protruded through the plug. It was the oddest lock he had ever encountered. He check his watch. An hour and ten minutes passed without success. He sat next to his tool to think. Fifty minutes to go. What to try next? What if this is a fake lock? I can’t pick it, because it isn’t a lock.

    With his heart thumping and hands shaking, Willy lifted the glass enclosure off the coin’s base. His eyes sparkled. He won the prize! Reaching so carefully, he picked up the coin to examine it closer. It was heavy – pure gold, most likely – and quite old, but where did it come from? He turned it over. The backside had the same unknown writing as the front and an engraving of a man standing in a light beam or the sun, Willy couldn’t tell which, but he was certain it was priceless and would bring a pretty sum.

    While he packed up his tools, Willy put the coin back in its display case. He was kneeling when he noticed a light getting brighter and brighter behind him. Hurriedly, he put the tools in his coat pocket and turned toward the light. It was brighter by the moment and emanating from the rare coin. What the bloody hell is this? Before Willy could react, the light focused to a beam and struck him full force, head to foot. He raised his hand to block its intensity and protect his eyes but to no avail. Its beams sliced through skin and bone like a hot knife through warm butter. Willy tried to scream, but he couldn’t make a sound. The light changed colors, rapidly pulsating through violet to red. It turned bright white, and he could see the bones of his hand and forearm.

    The room seemed to expand as everything was growing larger, but Willy realized the floor, walls, and display case were receding from him; he was shrinking. Suspended in mid-air, the beam had shrunk him to about three inches. As quickly as the beam appeared, it vanished, and he fell to the carpeting.


    Willy took stock of his predicament. Now only three-inches tall, what was he to do? How could he return to his regular height? These and a hundred other questions flooded his mind. He knew he couldn’t remain in the middle of the carpet, so he made his way to the room’s edge and hid behind a chair’s leg, pondering his options, his next move.

    At first, Willy didn’t recognize the sound, a deep-throated squeak, but realized it must be a mouse. With his smaller size, sounds changed, and the high-pitched squeak was now several octaves lower. His heart thumped as he tried to see where the mouse was. In the shadows across the room, the silhouette of a house mouse scurried about, stopping, sniffing, and moving on. It vanished behind a bookcase.

    Almost imperceptible, the muffled sound of padded paws drew closer. Willy’s heart nearly stopped. A cat was prowling about. It crossed the room and sniffed the baseboards where the mouse had been. Following the mouse’s trail, the cat traced its movements until stopped by the bookcase. Crouching and with its tail flicking, the cat extended its paw under the case, probing. Emitting low guttural growls, the cat moved from one end of the case to the other, extending its paw into any opening it could find.

    Soon, it tired of this game and continued exploring the room. Willy was near panic. The cat walked across the carpet, stopped, and sniffed the spot where he fell. The cat growled and looked about. Willy ran and dove under a bookcase, but the cat saw him. In a flash, the cat bounded toward him. Pawing from every angle, the cat was relentless. Claws nipped at his clothing.

    Willy ran from one end of the case to the other, barely avoiding the claws, but the cat wouldn’t give up. Fear and exhaustion were taking their toll. He was perspiring heavily and breathing deeply. Willy took off his coat and flung it against the baseboard. Clunk! My tools. A weapon. He went through his coat pockets and found the screwdriver and small pry bar he used to break in. Not much, but they’ll hav’ta do. Willy held one in each hand and waited. He didn’t have to wait long.

    The cat extended its paw, searching for him, and Willy planted both tools into the flesh between its toes, just avoiding its claws. He ducked and rolled out of the way. The cat meowed and backed away, licking its paw. Hoping this would end the battle, Willy leaned against the baseboard to catch his breath. He was wrong.

    With renewed fever, the cat attacked and snagged Willy’s trousers at waist-level. He fought to free himself, but the other paw closed in around him. The claws penetrated his clothing and sank into his flesh. Willy screamed and cursed, but the cat paid him no mind, drawing him closer to its teeth.

    The first crunch was the cat’s teeth sinking into Willy’s lower back. Almost passing out from the pain, he couldn’t believe what was happening to him. Then he realized his legs didn’t work; he couldn’t move them. The cat carried him through the open door into the hallway. With each step, pain shot up his spine, and he screamed. Pushing its way into a bedroom, the cat carried Willy toward a man sitting in a chair, reading a book in front of a roaring fire.

    The cat dropped Willy at the side of Sir Archibald Wainwright’s chair and meowed. Willy tried to pull himself by his arm, but when he moved, the cat saw him. The second crunch ended his misery; the cat’s teeth punctured his skull.

    The cat rubbed against Sir Archibald Wainwright’s leg and meowed again.

    “I say, Tabby, you’ve caught another, have you? Good, Tabby; have a treat for your efforts.”

    Sir Wainwright scooped up the lifeless body of William Albert Perkins and tossed it in the fire. He petted Tabby while she enjoyed her treat. Purring, she resumed her patrol, and Sir Wainwright flipped the page and kept reading.
    Last edited by DRayVan; 09-29-2018 at 08:17 AM.

  2. #2
    Registered User Steven Hunley's Avatar
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    Sep 2009
    San Diego Calif.
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    Great job. Imaginative, suspenseful, well done.

  3. #3
    Phil Captain Pike's Avatar
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    Jan 2007
    Down East Maine
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    He he he I like cats. Sounds like you may have a little familiarity with locks, and their undoing!
    Even though this story was, beyond belief, you told it well I had to keep reading.

  4. #4
    TheFairyDogMother kiz_paws's Avatar
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    Mar 2007
    The Prairies, Canada
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    Captivating tale, enjoyed it very much.
    Our task must be to free ourselves by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature and its beauty
    ~Albert Einstein

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