Loose Change- Friday Flash


Wheat_Penny (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


By Melissa L. Webb

I picked a penny off the ground this morning…and it hurt. It felt like someone ran a mini spike through my fingers. I let the coin fall from my hand, gasping in pain. The penny laid there on the ground, sparkling innocently in the morning light.

I glanced down at my hand, convinced I had imagined the whole thing. After all, who gets hurt by a penny?
But, no, I hadn’t imagined anything. My fingers stun and there were dark, miniscule spots on them.

I peered closer at my thumb and index finger. Tiny bits of blood leaked from the spots. I couldn’t tell what had burrowed under my skin like splinters, but whatever it was, was black and ugly.

I poked at my fingers, hoping to squeeze them out like slivers of wood. They didn’t budge an inch and I only managed to make the pain intensify for a moment.

I was running late for work and didn’t have time to dwell on it. I’d leave them alone and let them work their way out on their own.

That was the plan…but plans seldom hold up in real life.

All day they continued to sting. It wasn’t enough pain to think there might be something wrong, but it was enough to keep my mind on them, worrying over it in ways that kept my nerves rubbed raw.

How was it possible for a penny to hurt you? I hadn’t noticed anything stuck to the coin when I picked it up. It was clean and shiny, like it had been freshly minted.

Was it possible that it was some freak mint-made error? Maybe part of the metal had been ragged and splintered into my skin? That might have been the answer. Anything was possible. But it wasn’t something I’d heard of before.

Leave it to me to be the first person cut by a penny.

As the end of my day came, I decided I couldn’t take it any longer. I needed those splinters out. The stinging wouldn’t stop and I was worried that leaving them in might cause tetanus.

When I got home, I made a beeline to the bathroom and started gathering up medical supplies. I was going to get those things out of me, even if I had to cut the damn things out.

I got busy digging into my flesh with a sewing needle, trying to remove whatever it was. As I sank the needle into my skin, the dark mass retreated farther into me.

I couldn’t believe my eyes. What kind of splinter crawls away from you?

I kept trying, at both spots, but the foreign material in me kept sinking deeper, avoiding the sharp tip of the needle.

I snatched up a straight razor and sliced in, determined to remove whatever had stabbed me. Just like before, as I made the small incision, the black specks burrowed deeper.

I was bleeding freely from both fingers when the specks disappeared altogether, vanishing as if they’d never even been there.

They had gone deep inside my body, maybe even traveling up a vein. Those strange, moving, black things were now living in my body.

I knew trying to cut them out was pointless. I didn’t have a clue where they were anymore and there’d be nothing left of me if I did.

And I couldn’t seek medical attention. What doctor would ever believe a story like this?

No, those splinters knew exactly what they were doing.

I can feel their stinging pain in me, moving around from spot to spot. I don’t know if they are merely relocating or actively searching for something.

Whatever they are, they are alive…and they have a purpose.

I can’t tell you if they come from the earth or some place else we haven’t even begun to imagine. All I am certain of is that they are here, and someday soon, I will know all their plans…because I will no longer be me.

I will be something new. Something that can destroy our way of life.

They infected me when I held that penny. That is another certainty. They know humans can’t resist money left for the taking. Whatever these things are, they are very clever. They know enough to make greed our downfall.

So the next time you see money left laying around, I would think twice about picking it up if I were you.

© 2013 Melissa L. Webb


10 thoughts on “Loose Change- Friday Flash

  1. What a chilling story! That totally puts the scuppers on the old saying “See a penny, pick it up, and all day long you’ll have good luck”. Your poor narrator suspects the worst and I think they might be onto something and all they can do now is wait it out. Horrible.

    I wouldn’t say that it’s exactly feeding on human greed – it is only a penny, after all – but we certainly find it hard to resist the lure of free money lying around!

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  3. If they, whatever they are, ever figure out how to infect a $20 bill, we’re all doomed. I know a lot of people who won’t stoop to pick up a penny, but folding money is too sweet a trap.

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