The Lottery Ticket
There was a loud crash in the hallway. Elspeth looked up from her computer. With a groan she stepped out the bedroom door. The front door was open and cold January snow blew in. The little table beside the door had fallen over. Muddy, icy deer tracks dotted the floor beside the pile of unpaid bills. “No way,” she groaned. She checked. No deer inside. Apparently, the poor thing ran off. As she bent to clean the mess, she found a plain envelope. Inside was a lottery ticket and a note. In crude handwriting it said:
An answer to your dreams
Stick this ticket to the door at midnight and become the dream.
She ran to her computer and checked the ticket number. It was a winner. $227 Million. She screamed. She danced. She ran through the house whooping. Eventually, she collapsed on the couch. She looked out the window at the snow blasting by. I’ll buy a house in Maui. And I’ll give $2 Mil to Natalie. She could use it. Her neighbor, a single mother of three, struggled to make ends meet. The proud yet kind woman always refused monetary help from Elspeth.
Then she started wondering about that, “Or,” in the note. It couldn’t hurt. She taped it to the door and stayed up late watching TV.
She sighed when the power went out and the front door suddenly popped open. She passed a clock which read midnight, and braved the icy wind to close the door. The lights popped back on and she headed back for the couch. She stopped in her tracks. He sat calmly on the couch. His antlers swung as he turned his head. He had a short muzzle and pale blue eyes. He raised a cup with tawny furred hands, saying, “Tea?”
When she came to on the couch, he was still there, sipping tea. “I hope I didn’t frighten you.”
Now she was annoyed at the persistent phantasm. “No. Frighten? Pshaw!”
He smirked and rose to open the front door. “Let me show you something.” When he opened it, she could see green hills and forests. Flower blossoms blew in the door on a warm breeze. “Let me show you…the dream.”
Accepting that she was dreaming, she followed him into an untarnished landscape. Once on the other side of the door, he lost his deerish features and became a quite attractive and lean young man wearing only a short leather kilt. “This is how I look in my world,” he explained. He introduced her to his tribe of people living in teepees and living off the land. They hunted with bow and arrow and made knives with flint. They called themselves simply, The People.
He called himself Cerunn, and each midnight, she would spend weeks with him learning to hunt and fish. She would return to her own world to find ten minutes had passed. The next night, they would do it all again, collecting berries beside mountainous vistas, feasting on wonderful and exotic foods with The People at day’s end.
She’d given up believing she walked in a dream. She lived in Cerunn’s world for a week at a time and returned to her world of balancing budgets and cranking clients demanding her painting consignments yesterday. Cerunn’s world became more real for her each time she visited. She asked him, “Why are you showing me all this?”
“In all this world, there is only us,” he said. “We are human, but with only 84 of The People, we need new blood to sustain us. If you stay, you can never return to your world. You would look as I did when you first saw me. Someday, you must choose us or the lottery ticket.”
One day, as she and Cerunn gathered wild potatoes, she saw a magnificent flower just below the edge of a 100-foot cliff.
“I’ll get it!” said Cerunn with typical boyish enthusiasm. He stretched but couldn’t reach it. His hand slipped. She snatched his hand in time and pulled him back. “I don’t want it that much,” she said. She hid a smile, keeping his hand in hers until they returned.
Days later, a glow flowed from the Shaman’s hand. Amazed, she watched Cerunn’s bones knit completely. His eyes opened and she smiled. “Why?” Sheepishly, he held up the flower she’d seen at the cliff.
Eventually, she made her decision.
Her antlers scraped the door as she slid the lottery ticket with a note under Natalie’s door.
The speakeasy is where to go when the muse strikes. This week, the writing prompt is to begin a 750-word story with the sentence, “There was a loud crash in the hallway.” Here’s the prompt for this week for more information: http://www.yeahwrite.me/speakeasy/143-open/