It wasn’t the first time I’d visited Matlock Bath, the quaint Victorian Spa town in Derbyshire. But I’d never noticed this particular fountain, with its magical, out-of-time feel. I sat on a park bench and took in the atmosphere.
I’d lost track of how long I’d been sitting there, when a strange thought came to me. Throw a silver coin in to the fountain. And make a wish!
I wanted Time to stand still and preserve this perfect moment. My gleaming 2014 coin dropped into the clear water without a splash. I watched it float slowly down to the bottom of the pool. It joined a selection of other coins already in there.
One of the coins looked pretty old and worn. I knelt down and fished out a large Penny. It showed the profiled head of King George V and was dated 1914.
As I gripped the coin, the sun clouded over and the temperature dropped to an icy chill. A thick mist descended. When it cleared, the fountain appeared the same, but the park looked somehow…different.
A young couple strolled towards me, arm-in-arm. A soldier in a First World War uniform and a lady with a parasol! They could have been attending one of the local Historical Themed weekends that seem so popular now. But something told me they weren’t. As if confirmation was needed, where the park’s War Memorial had stood, there was now just neatly trimmed grass.
I looked down at my 1914 Penny, now looking shiny and new!
The young couple were eyeing me strangely, as if I was the odd one out. Of course! Here, or rather Now, I was. My jeans, and Beatles t-shirt had quickly got me noticed.
Without thinking, I dropped the coin back into the fountain. The water seemed to reach out and pull it back in. Fishing out my original silver coin, I soon felt relief as the thick mist swallowed me up.
Sunshine returned, and I was back. The young couple had gone. I wondered if the Soldier’s name was on the War Memorial. I hoped not.
Sitting down on the bench again, I tried to collect my thoughts. Had I just wasted a golden opportunity? I needed to go back. This was the opportunity of a lifetime – or many lifetimes.
I don’t know how long I Iooked for the coin that I had just dropped into the water. Or did that happen a century ago? Either way, it wasn’t to be found. And there were no more old coins in that fountain! I had literally thrown it all away.
But then I had an idea…
I ran through the park towards home and changed into my grey work suit. OK, styles change, but hopefully a suit won’t stand out too much. Then I called into the Antiques shop, the one that sells handfuls of old, battered pennies that no one uses these days. Well, I had a use for them! I collected an equal supply of 2014 coins from the bank. Mustn’t forget those.
I sat on the park bench and arranged them in date order. Quite a few years were missing, but I had about twenty years between 1901-1953 covered. Where to start?
After scattering a number of 2014 coins around, inside the fountain, I selected an old coin, and put the rest back into my pockets.
I carefully dropped the battered old coin into the water and impatiently waited for a few minutes for the fountain to work its magic. I took out the coin and gripped it tightly. The mist fell…
I took this photo recently, and edited it with Photo Toaster. This story was written for Pixel Prose Challenge, hosted by Amanda Lakey, at
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