Claim Your Winnings

“Hello, and thank you for calling Super-Eight. Please listen to the following selections, as the options have recently changed.”

When the power had gone out in the building, Jordan had sprinted back upstairs. John locked the door and slid a chair under the door knob, because that’s what they did in the movies.

“What’s going on?” he hissed at Macy.

“Shh!” she said, putting her hand over her ear, listening to the options. She also peered out the window, searching for Penelope.

“If you are a winner, please press 828 and follow the instructions. Please understand that the consequences of making a false claim, even at this stage, are serious. Please also understand that once  you report a winning ticket, the process is irreversible.”

“Are you sure you want to do this?” Macy asked John.

He nodded.

She pressed the numbers on the phone. 8-2-8. Immediately a voice spoke to her.

“Who is this?” it asked urgently.

“Uh, actually, there are two of us. We both won.” She gave them her name and, after asking John, gave them his name as well.

“Where are you?”

Macy told them the name of the streets at the intersection outside the apartment building.

“Someone will pick you up in approximately eight minutes driving a gray van. Do not speak to the driver. Do not speak to one another. The driver will only allow two people to enter the van. Do not try to bring anyone else with you.”


* * * * *

“I don’t see anyone in the hall,” muttered John, opening the door an inch and peeking out. “We can either go out the front entrance, or we can try the alley.”

Macy shook her head. “I don’t like either option.”

“Yeah, well neither do I. But now we’re down to five minutes. What do you think?”

Silence. The rain picked up, thudding against the glass like a thousand tapping fingers. Macy stared at the hundreds of miniature rivers racing down the windows. She wondered if they still waited out there for her.

“Let’s do the alley. It will only take us 30 seconds to get out that way. We wait another few minutes, then make a dash for it.”

John nodded.

The next three minutes passed in the form of years. The power in the building was still out, so she stared at the minutes as they changed on her cell phone. Soon John eased over to the door that led out into the alley way. Macy followed him.

“Ready?” he asked.

Just then the power in the building came on.

“C’mon, c’mon,” Macy hissed. “Let’s go!”

They pushed open the door and plunged into the alley, immediately soaked by the rain. A voice, not far behind them, shouted.

“Hey, there they go!”

As if on cue, a gray van slid up and parked along the sidewalk, its headlights bright, its windshield wipers flopping back and forth. John opened the door and jumped in. Macy followed close behind, but just before she closed the door, she heard someone shout her name.

“Macy!” She looked up the street. It was Penelope.

“Don’t go! Don’t do it! Those people, the ones who’ve been trying to talk to you, they’re good people! If you go in that van, you’re dead! Those other people want to help you!”

“I have to go,” Macy shouted. “I’m sorry!”

Penelope shouted one last thing before Macy closed the door and the van pulled away.

“What did she shout, there at the end?” John Dran asked her in a whisper.

“I don’t know,” Macy said. “I couldn’t hear her.”

The van driver shouted in a gruff voice.

“This is your one and only warning. No talking!”

But Macy had heard Penelope. She had shouted, “Don’t trust John Dran!”

Suddenly the van slammed on its brakes, the side door opened, and someone came flying in.

* * * * *

The question this week is, who else enters the van?

1 – A woman who was also a lottery winner

2 – A man pretending to be a lottery winner

3 – A child, clutching a lottery ticket

To catch up on the story and read it from the beginning, click HERE (you’ll need to come back to this page to vote)

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