There was a guy called Harry. He would walk to work everyday. He had been doing so for about 8 years. Infact, it was 8 years today that he had made the same walk to work. It was a short walk that took about 15-20 minutes depending on how busy the streets were and how lucky he got with the traffic lights. Everyday Harry would see the same people. The same people walking to the same places at the same times. The same people standing outside the same buildings, just minding their own business.
One day Harry left a little earlier than usual. Not much earlier, maybe just a couple of minutes earlier. He didn't leave earlier on purpose though. He only realized it was earlier because the shapes around him were different. Maybe they were different people, or maybe they were the same people but they were at different distances compared to his normal journey. This made him look around more than normal. He liked it. He liked that things were slightly different, it felt fresh. That’s when he noticed it. An alleyway he had never noticed before.
He must have been walking past it everyday for 8 years. He tried to look it up on google, but it wasn’t there. If it was he couldn’t make it out. It just looked like a load of buildings bunched up. A couple of days passed and each time he walked down that road he would glance down the alleyway. It looked long, but it was very narrow so it was hard to tell where it ended. He initially assumed it was just a parking space for one of the adjoining buildings, but it looked too narrow to fit even a small car in. He looked at google maps again but this time he tried to picture an alleyway. He squinted his eyes while imagining it. Assuming it was an alleyway that lead somewhere, where could it lead to? He figured if it did have an exit he could use it as a different route to work, he had been making the same journey for 8 years and he would love to mix it up a bit, get a different bit of scenery, see different people. So he decided tomorrow would be the day he would try the alleyway.
The day had come. Harry left the house 20 minutes early this time, just incase the alley took him in a circle or he had to backtrack on himself. He started off his walk as normal. He felt different. Instead of staring down at his feet he was looking up, looking around. He wondered what he might find down the alley, maybe he would get to walk past a tree rather then just more grey buildings. But maybe it would just lead to a puddle of piss and a dead end. Either way he was about to find out. He turned down the alley, it was long and narrow but looked like it would open up at the end. There was a van parked at the end of the alley. Did the van somehow manage to turn down the narrow pathway? No, there was no way that would fit. That meant there had to be an exit the other side. And he was right. At the end was another narrow walkway, but this one was on a proper street, with a nice cobbled road. And in the distance he could see a turning that would lead to his office. This was perfect, he had discovered another route to work. A much quieter, more quaint route to work. And then… Something magical happened. He looked down. There was a quid on the floor. This morning couldn’t get any better. He couldn’t believe his fucking luck.
He had a quick look around just to make sure no one had walked past and dropped it. Nope, there was no one apart from himself walking. There were a few people nearby but they were just hanging around outside some of the buildings, minding their own business. He leant down to pick it up but was quickly stopped by a voice. “Wouldn’t do that mate. I wouldn’t wanna be the one to do that. Just leave it. Just leave it”. Harry
immediately reacted with an apology “Oh sorry”. Harry assumed the man had dropped it or something. He carried on down the street but the rest of his walk was a bit of a downer. Anyway the good news was this route got him to work 5 minutes quicker. 8 years he had been taking a longer route. He didn’t want to think about the amount of wasted time that would add up to. Luckily he was a lazy fucker and couldn't be bothered to do the maths.
Throughout the day, that slightly awkward encounter Harry had earlier kept bothering him. He wanted to take that same route tomorrow as it was quicker, quieter and just generally more pleasant. So Harry decided he wouldn’t let it bother him. He didn’t do anything wrong so why should he let it bother him? But then maybe he should have picked it up and gave it to the bloke? Oh well. Tomorrow is a new day. Harry’s alarm went off at the normal time. 7:20am. But then he remembered the alleyway. It got him to work 5 minutes quicker. So he hit the snooze button. But he forgot how long the snooze button actually snoozes for so he spent the next 5 minutes worries about that. Harry was mentally preparing for his journey. He planned to give a little nod and smile to the people he saw. Seeing as he might walk past them everyday now it made sense to make friendly with the locals. Harry felt good. This small change to his routine would make a big difference. He took the turning down the alley, he wondered if some of the people who took his normal route would notice and start doing the same. Just as he thought that, something caught his eye. It was the pound coin from yesterday. Still in the same spot. The same people were standing around outside just chatting amongst themselves again. No one was paying attention to it, to the pound coin. But as he stopped walking and stared at the coin. The man from yesterday looked at Harry. He raised his eyebrows to Harry as if to say, “Just leave it”.
The next few days he took that same route, this time noticing but ignoring the pound coin on the floor. It hadn’t moved, not even an inch. He started getting a few smiles and pleasant nods from the locals he would see. It was a great start to his morning. But as things started to settle,as the days passed, as he got use to the new journey to work. The coin started to pop into his head, it has started to bother him. “Why had no one picked it?” up Harry kept thinking to himself. Maybe it had gum on the bottom, so it was stuck and just wouldn’t budge. That could be it, that bloke told him not to pick it up to save Harry from embarrassing himself. Or maybe the man was playing a trick on someone, He was waiting for one of his mates to walk past and try pick it up, but it would be stuck to the ground. That had to be it. It’s a good little joke. Maybe soon he would be pals with him and they could laugh about it together.
The next few days he carried on as normal. Sharing pleasantries with the locals. Until again his mind started to wander. The coin was still there. Surely if it was a prank it would have been over by now. So that was it. Tomorrow he was gonna move the coin. Harry had a plan. He would give it a very slight nudge with his foot as he walked past just to check it wasn’t stuck. If it wasn’t stuck and it moved he could then just bend over and pick it up. And if the bloke questions it. He will just ask what the problem is? If it’s really a problem he will just put it back. No big deal.
Tomorrow came. Today was the day Harry would be a pound richer. He left the house and started walking. He played out his plan in his head but before he knew it there it was. The pound coin. He needed to time his walk perfectly, so that his foot would be in the right position to kick the coin as he walked past. He didn’t want to have to do an awkward little shuffle to get the timing right. Then it would be obvious what he was doing. But his stride was perfect, Harrys foot met the coin like a perfect golf swing. But the coin didn’t move. It didn’t feel totally stuck. He felt something, but it didn’t move. It was almost like a magnet was pulling it down or something. It didn’t feel like it was glued or stuck down. He turned around and went for it. He grabbed the coin and gave it a good pull. He was right. It started to move but it felt like it was being pulled down by a magnet. He pulled out his office keys and managed to slide the edge of one underneath the coin. He used it like a crowbar to pull it away from the floor. He made enough room to get his finger underneath and thumb on top. Harry pulled. Success! He had the coin. It was pristine, gold in colour but made of a mixture of copper, nickel and zinc.
The bloke from before immediately ran over in a panic, screaming “What have you done!?” “You fucking idiot! What have you done!?” The rest of the locals overheard this and the panic began to spread. “You’ve doomed us all!” he heard one woman scream. Off in the distance Harry could hear the terror start to domino. He could hear screams, crying, violence and even laughter. Fires started, smoke billowed in the distance and the sound of smashing glass could be heard everywhere around him. A woman nearby pulled down a passerbys trousers and forced herself on him. What the fuck was happening? Harry asked the man who was staring in disbelief at the floor. “What the fuck is happening?” Harry looked down where the coin previously sat. There was a tiny little black hole. Barely the size of a pinhead. It was the blackest thing Harry had ever seen. Inside it, was everything and nothing. As he looked around, the street suddenly looked more narrow than it did before. His gut sank. Literally, his gut sank. His intenstines spilled out from his anus. Everything around was being pulled towards the hole. Harrys screams of pain started to distort and below into a repeating deep echoing noise. The hole was swallowing everything in existence. Even concepts like time and feelings started to manifest and merge with each other before breaking apart and merging again. An orange liquid bled from the hole. Atleast that was the only way to attempt to describe what was happening. Logic itself had broken and what replaced everything, was nothing. Everything that had been in the past, the future and outside of time itself was an ocean of orange liquid that rested still in a strange open space of metaphysical nothingness.
So next time you see a quid on the floor. Just leave it.
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