by Toni Kief
Ptolemy V left the mint with the first gold coin struck with his daughter’s likeness. In a very unusual act, he presented the token with blessing to his only daughter. Born to a court of treachery, incest and murder, the coin represented a singular moment of love. She carried it at all times as a reminder of her father and the obligation of her position. Years later the frantic woman rushed to her daughter and in one of her last acts presented the coin and the history. By the end of the day, the mother would be dead by her own hand and the daughter captured and taken to Rome. Holding her head erect with confidence and pride, the girl and her brothers were dragged through the streets in chains. She trusted the power of her blood and the coin sewn into her hem. Years passed and she would return to North Africa, the coin now in the hand of a queen.
Selene stood on the beach with her hand in her pocket; she was comforted by the metal. The eldest daughters carried the secreted coin for centuries. The image has grown light and smooth, as each connected to their maternal history. The likeness of her greatest grandmother eroded into the hand of each daughter. The breath of the sea caressed her face on the rocky coast, and Selene knew she was the last woman of a powerful lineage that had weakened through time. In her greatest act, Selene resolved she would take the power and curse with her, no longer to plague another generation.
Each descendant since the greatest was blessed with wisdom, power and wealth. With the gift came a curse of conspiracy, murder and insanity. The coin graced the hands of a Pharaoh, queens and Sultanas, each part of a lineage they shared with one baby girl. The history of the Macedonian woman ended with Selene as she looked at the shadow of a familiar face on the coin. Each holder could see her own likeness etched into the yellow gold. The last to control the coin, she walked along the shore into the warmth of the Mediterranean. She took the last drop of Cleopatra’s blood to the welcomed peace of oblivion.
It was a peaceful death as the current pulled her body out to sea. Her hand relaxed and generations of pain released to the depths. The golden curse drifted to the bottom of the shifting sea as pirates and whales navigated above.
A young girl in Belize reaches for the shiny disk resting in the sand. She scoops it up and races back to show her brother. He seizes the coin from her small hand and with his touch; it disintegrates back to its natural elements. Little does the sister know he saved her from a different future as she tearfully watches the disk crumble. The water laps along the beach and a shadow remains, releasing a hundred generations in a silent song.