“What do you mean, you don’t know what’s going on?” John Dran asked Macy. The rain outside stopped for a moment, and, without the band playing in the apartment above, the world seemed eerie and still.
“What do I mean?” Macy looked around, confused. Water was still dripping off of her hair and her clothes were soaked. “The power went out in my building. Someone tried to break in. Then someone else tried to abduct me. I’ve been chased around the city all night. That’s what I mean when I say I have no idea what’s going on.”
John looked surprised, and a little nervous.
“Wow. Chill out. What are you, a convict or something?”
“No! I’m just a, a nothing. I’m nobody.”
“So you have no idea why these people are chasing you, breaking into your house?”
Macy shook her head, then reached into her pocket.
“Before I ran from the last girl she asked me if I had this.” She held out her lottery ticket. “Please, take it. I don’t want it.”
He took the ticket and looked at it. His skin paled. He walked over to the table, slid the bowl of soup to the side and picked up his own ticket.
“You can keep yours,” he said in a flat-line voice. “I’ve got my own.”
Macy looked at John’s lottery ticket
“You played the same numbers I did,” she whispered. Then she looked up at him. “So what are you going to do?”
A knock sounded at the door. Macy and John froze in place, like prey hoping they hadn’t yet been noticed. Both instinctively held their breath. Whoever was in the hallway knocked again. Then a voice shouted.
“Hey, idiot, I know you’re in there. You know who you are, always banging on the ceiling! Get your ass out here!”
Macy glanced at John, who heaved a sigh of relief and went to the door.
“Listen, Jordan, now’s not a good time.”
“Not a good time to get an old fashioned ass-kicking?”
“Listen, man, I’m sorry for banging. I just, I was on the phone with my mom, you know. I couldn’t hear myself think.”
“Open the door,” Jordan said.
“Look, I’m opening the door but I have to keep the chain on, so don’t break my door down.” John latched the chain, then eased open the door, revealing Jordan’s very red face.
“Hey, you’re the guy who changed the number on my lottery card!” Macy said, moving towards the door. A panicked look spread over Jordan’s face.
“I don’t know what you’re talking about lady.”
“No! It was you! I know it was you!”
Just as Macy began walking toward the door, the power in the building shut off. Darkness descended like a blanket. The only light in the room came from the large windows facing the street, glazed with rainwater. Macy crawled to the window and peeked out, her face just over the sill.
She remembered being a little girl, barely able to see through her parent’s row house windows. They had lived on the outer street of the city – the wall rose tall and imposing on the other side of 90th Avenue. Macy had spent many days wondering what was outside the city walls. Who was out there. Now she had a chance to escape, to start over.
A car pulled up along the sidewalk, it’s brake lights glowing red in the darkness. A girl got out.
“Penelope!” hissed Macy.
* * * * *
What happens next? Vote for one of the following in the comments section below:
1) Penelope comes into the building and starts calling for Macy to come out
2) Penelope runs down the alley looking for Macy
3) Jordan runs off. John and Macy call the lottery organization and say they have won.
4) John and Macy escape into the city
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