Trail Of Dimes
When he saw the first dime lying on the ground, he reached down and picked it up without even thinking about it. Then he noticed another one about four feet away, so he walked over and picked that one up, too. That’s when he first realized that there was a trail of dimes, leading across the parking lot. His first thought was that someone had a hole in their pocket and the dimes were falling to the ground without them knowing it. But he realized that they were spaced equally apart, about four feet, and admitted to himself that someone had deliberately placed them there.
He knelt on the ground and tried to see where they were leading him, but couldn’t see far enough to tell. He cautiously began picking them up again, looking around the whole time to see if anyone was watching. When he got to the end of the parking lot, the trail of dimes headed off into the nearby woods. As he thought about whether or not he should keep following the trail, a chill ran through him–why would someone leave a trail of dimes into the woods?
Standing there, feeling the weight of the dimes in his pocket, he tried to think of what could be the motive of this person. It’s possible that some bored rich kids were curious to see how far someone would follow a trail of dimes. If that were the case, they were probably watching him and laughing right now. Well, let them laugh, he had at least four dollars of their money in his pocket, and if he kept going he would probably end up with enough to buy that new radio he wanted over at Rigby’s department store.
He’d been delivering papers and babysitting on weekends for two months now, and combined with his weekly allowance of twenty-five cents, he had only been able to save four dollars and seventy-five cents. In fifteen minutes he already had almost doubled his savings! He decided that he would keep following the trail of dimes until he had collected another two dollars; then he would be able to buy the radio.
Walking into the woods, it was more difficult to see the trail of dimes, but since the dimes were equally spaced apart, he knew right where to look for them. With all of his attention focused on finding the dimes, and keeping count of them as he picked them up, he didn’t notice the movement in the bushes off to the side of the trail. “Seven, eight, nine,” he counted aloud now, it was reassuring to hear his voice, and he told himself that he wasn’t afraid, it was just easier to keep track that way. He was familiar with the woods; he had been playing there for the past three years, since he was old enough that his mother let him play outside of the yard. He knew that around the next bend was the creek, and he could already hear it since it was moving quickly now because of the recent rains. He figured that by the time he reached it he would have more than enough to buy the radio, so he would stop there.
Just before he reached the water, he heard a noise. “Hello?” he said as he looked towards the bushes ahead. “Who’s there?”
Not hearing anything else, he reached down for the next dime, but it wasn’t there. Looking around him, he saw that the trail of dimes was heading off away from the creek and into the bushes where he thought he’d heard the noise. “Well,” he said, “I’ve already got enough to buy the radio, so I’ll pick up this last dime and quit.” As he reached down to pick up the final dime and head home, he heard the noise again. Looking into the bushes he saw a pair of eyes staring at him. His first instinct was to run, but when he tried, he found that he couldn’t move–he couldn’t even turn his head.
As the eyes moved out of the bushes, he started to see more clearly. He realized that he was looking at a small, machine-like creature; it looked just like the Pepsi machine at the drugstore. It was moving slowly, as if on wheels, and it kept moving toward him until it was only a few feet away. He could hear a whirring noise coming from it, and as its eyes looked up and down his body, he had the strange sensation inside his head. He felt something reviewing his memories, like when his dad would set up the screen and they would watch the movies he had taken on his camera. After a few minutes, the feeling stopped and the machine slowly turned and moved away from him.
As he watched it disappear into the woods, he noticed something that puzzled him for the rest of his life. At quiet times, especially as he lay in bed, unable to fall asleep, he would think about it and try to make sense out of it. But he couldn’t come up with a reasonable explanation of why, as it slowly moved away from him, coming out of the bottom of the creature, who he would later refer to as ‘Debbie Dime,’ one by one, about every four feet, he could plainly see it leaving a trail of dimes.
I hope you had as much fun reading this as I did writing it.
What do you think ‘Debbie Dime’ was? Why was she leaving a trail of dimes? I hope you noticed the picture at the top of the web page. It’s an old 1950s Pepsi machine with eyes, staring at you from the woods! You can almost see the dimes lying on the ground around it.