During an archaeological dig, Hyria found an unusual coin that she shared of photo of on social media. By doing so, she attracted some unwanted attention, forcing her dog to reveal he can talk.

Snuggled warmly in layers of blankets, Hyria released a happy yawn. Her mother’s friends were gracious enough to provide her with a place to sleep while working on her research project nearby. She couldn’t have asked for a more picturesque location than the countryside house they had outside Naples, Italy. Plus, they were awesome enough to let her bring Ace, her black Labrador Retriever.

Hyria couldn’t bear to be without Ace. He was her “Ace up the sleeve” and always there to protector her. As for their origin story, she found him when he came to her aid when someone tried to mug her. She looked around the tiny, cozy guest room for her precious old boy.

“He must be outside,” Hyria shrugged as she flopped back on the bed.

For the first time in ages, her plans for the day were going to be laid-back. She needed the chill day. Following her mother’s career path, she had received a grant that allowed her to join the archeological dig at Herculaneum. The ancient city was on the western base of Mount Vesuvius, which was destroyed—together with Pompeii, Torre Annunziata, and Stabiae—by the Vesuvius eruption of 79 CE.

She didn’t find much during her excavation–mostly household items–but yesterday, she found a purple coin depicting a muscular man on both sides. Although she knew she shouldn’t, she pocked the relic. In her defense, she believed it was modern due to its mint condition and intricate detail. Still, to be positive, she shared a picture on social media, asking for background information. With the grant depleted, she hoped she would discover some great local food and wine during her free time before going home.

Curious if she had gotten any replies about the coin overnight, she stretched her arm out to her cellphone on the rustic seashell white wooden bedside dresser. Without sitting up, she woke up her phone. On the notification was a comment from her mother on the coin post.

“Delete this photo and call me ASAP!” the message read. 

Before she could swipe open her phone, Ace leaped on her bed, purposely stepped on her stomach, and got in her face.

“Okay, Ace,” Hyria groaned. “What do you want, boy?”

“Sorry, I know this is out of nowhere, and I thought we had more time, but we have to go.”

“Did-did, you just talk?” she stuttered.

“Yes, and we need to get going.”

Ace bit on the blankets and pulled them off Hyria. Hyria tossed on the clothes she had already set out for the day from the night before.

“Have you always been able to talk?” she questioned as she put on her jeans.


“Why, just now?”

“Your father didn’t want me too.”

“Wait,” she paused as she dropped her shirt over herself, “you mean my step-dad?”

“No, your biological father.”

“Henry? But he’s dead.”

“That’s not,” Ace started to correct but then stopped. “We need to get going.”

Hyria tied her shoelaces and stood up. “Lead the way.”

“You know that coin you kept for yourself?”

“I was going to return it,” she immediately defended.

“If you didn’t take it, I would’ve put it on your bag.”


“Now grab it and keep it in your hand. You might need its power.”

Ace ran out the door. Hyria pocked her cellphone and keys and grabbed the coin, which she held onto as requested. She chased Ace down the quiet wooden steps into the living room.

“There’s a lot you’re not telling me.”

“In due time,” Ace whispered as they ran to the front door.

They were alone. Hyria assumed her host family had already left for work or the market. Everyone came and went without much communication, which was kind of annoying but also kind of refreshing compared to her mother’s constant contact. Though now, she was starting to wonder what her mother hadn’t been telling her.

Hyria opened the front door. Ace bolted toward the car parked beside the house while Hyria closed the door behind. Locking the door wasn’t a concern. After all, they were in the middle of the countryside.

She ran to the car while Ace started to bark at the sky. Confused, she looked up as the wind raced around her. Floating down on a flying motorcycle, a humanoid shark-like alien landed between her and her car. Decked in a neon blue suit and wrap-around sunglasses, Hyria felt tiny as the colossal creature stood up and marched toward her. Ace growled, signaling to Hyria this wasn’t a peaceful alien.

“Give me the coin,” the alien calmly demanded.

“Sorry, but it’s not for sale.”

“I’m not here to buy it.”

The alien lunged at Hyria. Ace tried to attack his legs, but the alien kicked him with his black boots, sending Ace flying, hitting the side at the house. Hyria screamed out in rage and punched her attacker in the gut, sending him back several meters down the hill.

“Holy shit,” Hyria cussed. “How did I do that?”

“That’s the power of the coin you possess,” Ace explained as he approached her side, uninjured. “Your father made that coin after losing a bet, but it was lost when Mount Vesuvius erupted nearly two thousand years ago.”

“Wait,” Hyria interrupted. “Who in the hell is my father?”


Hyria soaked in what Ace revealed. “Like… the Greek god?”

“The very one.”

“Anything else important you want to drop on me?”

“Well, we’re out of the canned dog food.”

The Herculaneum Coin - art by Bein Julian at Design Pickle

This week’s short story was inspired by the writing prompt: “You wake up one day to your dog sitting beside your bed. He suddenly speaks and says, ‘Sorry, I know this is out of nowhere and I thought we had more time but we have to go.'”