James Holden: The Ticket

Tube stationThis post was inspired by the picture to the left, which came from a random image generator at www.writingexercises.co.uk I had a couple of other ideas when I started writing, and may write those up as well.

It was one in the morning, and the end of Christine’s shift. She had been picking litter since six in the evening, descending into the tunnel as dusk’s fading list was giving way to the inky murk that was night, the horizon burnished by the pink sky and orange street lights.

The previous night she had gotten in from her shift at 2am, watching an old film before stumbling into bed alongside her slumbering husband. She had slept in till around midday, her husband having long since left for work, and after getting out of bed headed to the shops and preparing sandwiches to have during her shift before getting on the bus to Southgate tube station.

On nights like this she was pleased to be working in one of the subterranean tube stations, rather than one of the ones that was exposed to the elements. “An over-underground stop,” her friend who worked at the next stop down the line would call them – one that was not protected from the weather by being beneath the road.

As she checked the two platforms one last time to check that all the detritus had been picked up – the free newspapers and empty cans of pop, the chicken boxes and paper coffee cups, she headed to the escalator. It had been turned off for the night, but as she was walking up the escalator she noticed a lottery ticket stuck to one of the advertising panels with a piece of chewing gum. She paused, and then peered in. The ticket was for the mid-week draw that had taken place that very evening – whoever had purchased it had selected the numbers 01, 02, 03, 04, 05 and 06.

Who on earth would pick those numbers? she wondered. They stand no chance of being drawn. But Christine thought that she would check, and pulled the ticket off the advert, leaving the chewing gum on an underwear model’s forehead.

When she got home she turned on the TV, and hit the red button the access the lottery numbers. She checked them off amazed – 01, 02, 03, 04. And then her luck ran out – 37 and finally 41. But she still smiled to herself, and as she climbed into bed beside the slumbering form of her husband, she wondered what she would spend her share of the money on.

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About James Holden

Brought up in Yorkshire, James has washed up on the shores of London. He spends his days working as a political geek. His short stories have previously been read by the Liars League.
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