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Short Stories

Lottery

A dream, she thought, if I pinch myself, I’ll wake up. But she didn’t want to wake up. She needed this world where she just won three million dollars!

The faceless security men, dressed all in black, burst out of their trucks. Two of them grabbed her arms. She squirmed and wrenched but their grips only burned against her arms. Two more emptied her pockets. Another tickled her side to get to her journal. She giggled and dropped it open in a puddle; it swelled as the pages drank the water.

The casino was far away, but the owner walked under the overpass with a withered parchment and pen. He chewed on his cheek and his mustache, wiry thin, looked like a second frown on his face.

“My dear, my dear,” he said, “sign on the dotted line, for your six million dollars.” His smile shifted his whole face upwards, as if his eyes reached down and pulled his cheeks up themselves.

Five minutes ago, the jackpot sirens blared as she exited the casino. The guards had stopped her and debated on whether to call the owner or not, until one of them said, “Oh what the hell.”

Her windpipe tightened. She didn’t even know what to spend eight million dollars on. She’d never had more than three grand in her account. The pen in her hand pulled itself to the contract. Ten million, she thought as her throat burned for air.

A guard fist-pumped the air.

“Cheers,” another said.

One of them tapped her shoulder and said, “Who do you thank?”

“Th-thank you,” she barely managed.

The men danced and the boss rolled his parchment. She dropped to her knees. “Eleven million,” she thought, “what am I going to spend twenty million on?”

Her name bled below the line. Penelope Singer. She couldn’t breathe.

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