“I can’t believe I won!” the man said looking at his lottery ticket.
“Bullshit Frank. Let me see that,” a co-worker said as he tried to snatch the lottery ticket from Frank.
Frank stepped back involuntarily as his friend tried to snatch the ticket. Instinctively Frank pulled the $500 million dollar lottery ticket to his heart. In the back of his mind, he knew he looked like Smeagol from Lord of the Rings but he felt protectant over the ticket.
Looking back at the ticket, he thought about the night before when a stranger approached him at the bar. Frank had just received the news that the melanoma that had intruded his skin turned terminal. The doctors gave him only a few short months to live.
Frank had been going through Chemotherapy and radiation for years. They had thought it was under control until the week prior he started feeling worse than the usual chemo-sickness he encountered. When they did a PET scan they found that it had reached stage 4 and was moving quickly into the unknown status of cancer.
Frank had always lived alone. His wife of 12 years left him while he was at work leaving behind divorce papers and a note stating that she was young enough to have children, and she wanted one so badly that she she would go elsewhere to get it. She didn’t want to defile the marriage and asked for his signature to set her free to be happy.
He signed it with tears in her eyes. He had always told her he would support her in anything that would make her happy. She left everything but her clothes in the house, and Frank was reminded of her in every room. He quickly sold every piece of furniture, ripped out the carpets, repainted and put down hardwood in hopes his mind wouldn’t focus on the, now non-existant, reminders.
The stranger that approached him the night before slid a lottery ticket toward Frank, who had just downed his 5th mug of beer. The bartender had already heard about Frank’s sad news and knew the man only had a few months ahead of him. Frank looked at the lottery ticket and picked it up. The stranger smiled at Frank with his too white teeth and patted him on the back.
“That, my friend, is tomorrow’s winning lottery ticket. If you agree to my terms it is yours to have.” the stranger said in a deep yet soothing voice.
Frank looked back at the blurring stranger and laughed. “There’s no way to tell if that’s the winning lottery ticket but what the hell. I’ll listen to your terms.”
The stranger laughed melodically. “You have me there friend. Let’s do this. If you agree to my terms and take the ticket and you DON’T win, I’ll give you $1 million dollars in cash. I have a contract right here that is already signed by me along with all of my contact information.”
The stranger pulled out a single sheet of paper with the written agreement. The typed paper was blurry and Frank couldn’t make out any of the details. He looked up at the bartender for an answer but he just shrugged.
“Deal!” Frank said as he searched himself for a pen.
The stranger held out a weird looking pen. Once Frank touched it, the contract filled out his signature, contact information, and any other details it asked for, as if it were magic.
“The deal is done, let it not be undone,” the stranger said before he put his pen back in his inside jacket pocket and left. The contract was sitting infront of Frank along with the ticket.
Frank walked to his new supervisor, who had proven to be a backstabbing asshole, and flung his badge at him yelling, “I QUIT”
The man opened his mouth in shock as Frank walked out of the factory and into his old beat up Ford truck. Frank felt so excited that he knew he wouldn’t be able to sleep. Instead of going home, he drove the 150 miles to the lottery headquarters to be able to cash in his winning ticket. As he pulled into the parking space, the sun was just reaching over the horizon. He had never been as excited as now that he worked a shift where he could see the sunrise.
As Frank waited for the employees to start coming in, he drifted off to sleep. What seemed like a few seconds later, someone tapped on his window. With groggy eyes he looked at the stranger from the night before.
Frank excitedly rolled down his window to talk to the stranger.
“You were right! The ticket was a winner! $500 million dollars!”
The stranger nodded while smiling. “Now, for the repayment. I need your soul.”
The stranger unlocked the door and pulled Frank out of the truck. Frank let go of the winning ticket to fight off the stranger. Frank tried to kick the man between the legs but the stranger just smiled, “You have to be alive to feel pain Frank.”
The smile the stranger wore turned into a menacing grin. The ground opened up beneath them as Frank and the stranger fell into hell. Frank’s last view was the ground filling back in and his last thoughts were of the contract he didn’t read.