St. Patrick’s Day with a writer
Happy St. Patrick’s Day!
Four times throughout the year, a photo is uploaded into the group for a fun event called the Short Story Thread. This collaborative thread uses 6-7 rules, all of which include reading comments to stay updated with the story and to only comment three sentences at a time. In the end, we ended up with a great 1,574-word short story, which I pieced together and for which did some light copy editing. I wanted to keep this as raw as possible, so it’s edited to reflect those who wrote it.
I will gladly share the story with you tonight, and I’ll provide the photo they used at the end of the story. Enjoy!
The Gold Coin
by members of Authors’ Tale
Sarah Barnes, Terra Beilman, Cayce Berryman, Crystal Burton, Sherry Elaine Eubank, Matthew T Fields, Alejandro Franzuela, Michelle King, Karen Pollack
Now don’t ye be lookin’ at me with those eyes, asking me for a coin. It’s not a coin ye be seekin’ but it’s the Gold Coin every leprechaun be after. Not what y’think; the Gold Coin be a woman, a woman indeed. Her hair be made o’spun gold, an’ her eyes greener than the Emerald Isle. With more magic than all leprechaun-kind put together, she be the most sought-after creature. But, she only appears once a year. I spent many a day chasin’ after the lass meself, an’ ye wouldn’t believe it, but I caught the lucky Coin in me younger years. I hear tale now she hasn’t aged a day. An’ worth far more than the pretty penny I gots in me pocket, if ye care to hear the tale, tho’ I haven’t seen ‘er again in me time. But I warn ye now: she be a curse, livin’ and breathin’. Any a man who keep hold a her fer too long will know nothin’ but sufferin’. The fact that I’m alive ta tell ye, is a miracle.
I met the girl outside the pub, tho’ she di’n’t go inside. I thought perhaps the brew finally got ta me, but they saw her, too. We all wanted ‘er. But no one wanted ‘er more than yers truly. But, I couldn’t talk to her in the state that I was in. I had to come up with a plan. The fellas agreed to a little wager, a drinkin’ game o’sorts, and I had it all planned out. A quick slip into their glasses would tip the scales in me favor, and I’d have colored water…well…close enough to water. Sure enough, I grew sober as they passed out; it was foolproof, I tell ye! As fer talkin’ to the Gold Coin, that be the real tricky part. See, I knew that playin’ to her looks and vanity wouldn’t a worked, as most lads and lasses tried. That was ‘er game, and she be an old player.
I had to come up with something that she never expected or come across in all ‘er time she had been around. I leaned over, gave her me best drunken smile, and laid me head down on her lap. She di’n’t know nothin’ about me game, so when she tried to protest I hugged her legs in a vice grip grumbling like ye do when you can’t deal with wakin’ for the day.
She started to sing, she did. A mournful tune as I ne’er heard before. And I reached for some o’that green brew. ‘Fore I knew what had happened, I had downed two glasses. Where they came from, I didn’t ask. I neither knew nor cared, for me mind was truly distracted by her sultry voice. Her heart poured out in song! In a trance I was, as ye can imagine. Nary the green brew did matter, but the lassie be now me only love. My eyes closed as me mind drifted in the song, then I awoke and the tricky lass had left. My win was not a win, ye see, but I couldn’t let ‘er go. I had the night to look and all the night to win ‘er heart.
In ‘er place a small bag was placed in me arms. I pulled the strings to open the satchel. I turned it out and a necklace, bauble, and a small folded note fell out. It only drew me curiosity, the wee things. I read the note first.
To my little tricky man in green, I may have been a little rude while you slept. When you find yourself a mirror you’ll know why. My one night to play this game and I chose you.
I stuffed the trinkets back into the satchel and went in search of a looking glass. As I walked through the tavern to the bathroom, the snickers o’those I passed caught me attention. I had a feelin’ I di’n’t really want ta know what that vixen ‘ad done. I wondered why I chose the pub to be lookin’, but when I saw the wee glass with me reflection, I knew at least she did. But when I lifted it, I still only saw me dirty face. Then, a gold coin caught me eye on the spot behind it and I knew I’d have quite a few more to find if I wanted to find the sweet Gold Coin fer meself.
The lovely lassie chose me to play this game. Clutching the satchel of treasure close to my heart, I was about to leave in search of more coins, when I glanced back into the glass and beheld me face again.
My hair was cut too short, and white tears traced down my face. What hair was taken, she had glued to my beard. But, worst off all, both hair and beard were white. Me red locks now looked like patches of snow left in the spring. I couldn’t believe me eyes. She had a game to play, alright, but I knew then that it wouldn’t be just a game of charm, but a game of luck, besides, if I wanted to keep me wits.
She was one of the fairy folk, a mischievous lot who like to play these type of games. True, I’m part of the fairy world, too, and like to play me own games, but not as maliciously as the flying lass. With hair o’white and a beard to match, I knew where I’d be off to next. If I wanted me red returned, I’d need a bowl of berry-juice to color the strands again. The only berry bushes ’round were on the edge o’the forest, just out o’town.
I tucked the coin into the pocket o’me waistcoat, grabbed my green top hat from the table, and headed out the door. Once I had me hair back ta normal, I’d go lookin’ for another clue. The tear stains would be easy enough to wipe away ‘fore I fixed the color of me hair, or so my naive self thought. Even to this day, I still bear those tear marks of white, as badge of encounter with the Gold Coin.
The bushes came quickly by, and me eyes wouldn’t adjust to the dark. The moon covered the bushes and mine only memory of the fruit was that of the color. I knew there’d be red or there’d be black. Taking a guess, I reached out me arm and pulled at a handful of berries. The bushes laughed at me, they did! The sweet chuckle matched the lucky lass I sought after, so I quickly released the berries I’d grabbed and tried again at another bush.
I chuckled as I felt the familiar warmth of her soft skin. She grabbed my hand, letting out a playful laugh before leaping out of the bush and spreading her delicate fairy wings. A shower of gold coins rained down on me as I clung to her and we flew through the air. As we traversed over the trees, me lovely lassie wickedly sang that mournful song again, an’ me heart pounded excitedly in me chest.
As I began to relax in her arms, her eyes began to turn blood red. That didn’t alarm me. What did was the song she were a singin’ was making me numb and limp, like I had no fight left in me bones. Just when I was about to let fate take its course, a sudden shriek from behind her broke the Gold Coin’s song, somehow slapping me awake as if with a hand. I realized we ha’n’t been flying at all, since behind her floated a pale-hooded lass, hair hanging like webs and eyes hollow and black. A Banshee, a siren of warning that death is near.
The Gold Coin stopped ‘er singin’ to confront the beast. Their voices were like murder, like crows. I ran where I knew I’d be safe, but don’t think I let go of the coins; if anythin’, I knew I had to find the rest of them all in that night to win ‘er for good, an’ I wanted nothin’ more, even still.
The screaming b’tween the two went on and on until me nose bled and me eyes watered, but I kept a gathering the coins, thinkin’ maybe it would end when I found ‘em all. The sun started to peek up above the horizon, the wailing stopped, and the beautiful Coin lost ‘er glow. The light turned from orange to yellow and she vanished like a sneeze on the wind, along with ‘er, the coins that weighed me pockets were gone, along with me heart.
But, every year I find more coins to add to me collection, hoping it’ll be enough to win her heart. Sometimes, she sends a tricky one like you to challenge me for me gold, but I know the game now. I know one o’these days I’ll have enough treasure to lure her here. I’d die happy to just get one more kiss, the pitiful way our night ended all those years ago.
So if y’think I’ll lead ye to me stash, you might want to turn yerself around. I don’t plan on releasing me gold. Get yerself a brew instead because leprechauns know better than to give away the tokens of a woman, especially when they’ve once had the token of ‘er heart.
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