Search results for 'all that glitters'

Flash Fiction from a Friend of EoW

28 Feb

All That Glitters

by Gabriel Schenk

How had it come to this? William was not sure. The desire for treasure had been more powerful than he had anticipated when he originally ordered the metal-detector, and made plans to use it in nearby fields. He had heard of people finding Roman coins, perhaps even Anglo-Saxon helmets or swords. He had not been so lucky – in fact, he had not found anything, apart from a rusted coke can. That was four hours ago. Now he was doggedly sweeping the side of a hill with his detector, besieged by wind carrying flecks of snow, squinting in moonlight. His hands, and the tips of his feet, were numb from cold.

The detector chirruped with occasional beeps, all too quiet and fleeting to be significant. Over the course of the day he had grown increasingly attached to his machine, and even given it a name: Fletcher, as in Jessica Fletcher from Murder She Wrote. William hoped that Fletcher might ‘investigate’ some buried treasure.

William and Fletcher journeyed up the side of the hill, flanked by regiments of trees, and surrounded by the twisting flow of a motorway. The field could not be ploughed because it was too steep, so any treasure had (potentially) been left for millennia.

‘But they’ve been here already’, muttered William to Fletcher. ‘The hunters have been and left’.

It was true: this land had been scoured by generations of metal detectors. It was unlikely he would find anything tonight. William would not give up without uncovering something, though.

The man and his machine reached the top of the hill, where a barbed fence separated the tree-line from the field. William turned, and Fletcher wailed loudly. The noise was so unexpected that William jumped back, losing his spot and causing the detector to fall silent. Panic flushed through his body. He swept around again, searching for that small area that had triggered the sound.

‘Come on Fletcher’, he whispered huskily. ‘Find it again. Please find it…’

He thought of what he might discover – Viking silver, buried for safety and forgotten? A belt buckle from a medieval peasant? A golden doubloon? Whatever it was, Fletcher had given him his first strong signal of treasure, much louder and clearer than the coke can. At last he would uncover something and prove himself!

This time the electronic wail sounded beautiful and reassuring. It was loud, which meant that the metal object was close to the surface, maybe even above ground.

William slung Fletcher over his back and crouched down. He caressed the grass, feeling from its roots to its tips, so that he would not miss anything, until he felt a cold and hard object. He brought it up and held it in the air, bathing it in moonlight. It looked like –

‘Gold!’

It was a pound coin. The Queen’s face was disfigured by a scratch, and both sides were dotted with flecks of white where the copper alloy had worn off. It would not even cover his bus-faire home – but it was his, and he had found it.

It was his treasure.

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I.3: Aliases and More Coins

31 Jan

Part I: On Coins &c. 
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Yesterday I was back for a brief (3.5-hour) hunt on the permission. There was some beautiful afternoon sunshine, and I managed to turn up coins at the rate of about one per hour. The first showed up in my second hole after only five minutes on site. However, they had all had it and were nearly blank. The other interesting find was a piece of harness kit, stamped with ‘[J] Dewey / Harness Maker / Eynsham’, which pleased me because my friend Gabriel (a friend of the blog) lives in Eynsham Village.

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Can you find the coin in this pic?

Can you find the coin in this pic?

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Here’s a live recovery of one of the coins I found:

Part II: On Aliases

I’ve been thinking about nicknames lately, since most serious treasure hunters have some kind of alias — ‘Coyote Bill’ or something in that vein. For quite awhile I liked ‘Deseret Kid’, because it resonates with home, and it’s the moniker of the protagonist of my novel-in-progress, but ‘Kid’ doesn’t really work with a guy my age. ‘Will o’ the Green’ is another name I liked; it’s the name of the chief outlaw in Sherwood before Robin’s time, and it evokes my love of the forest as well as alludes cannily to my permissions. ‘Will o’ the Wood’ was another thought, as was ‘[….] Will’, with the placename of my permission in the square brackets. I still like the latter idea, but it would announce to the world the location of my permission, which is meant to remain between the landowner and me.

During a text conversation today, quite out of the blue, my detecting buddy started chatting about nicknames. He mentioned that he didn’t have one yet, and I asked him whether they ought to be bestowed or self-selected. I suppose by way of suggesting that they be bestowed, he replied that I should be called ‘Will o’ the Wisp’; I think he was joking, but I immediately liked the name, given that I study English magic and folklore. Later in the day he sent me this image of a Magic card:

WillotheWispIt does sound a bit like ‘Will o’ the Green’. My friend said the nickname was due to the will o’ the wisp’s association with bogs, sinks, and swamps (I think the muddy conditions the day before yesterday made an impression on him). Anyway, perhaps I’ll cultivate the name. I hope it sticks.