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Short Story 06.12.20

Updated: Sep 19, 2023

Story Prompt Word Ticket

Heather watched the fire work. It licked the sides of the corrugated steel building, hungrily looking for something to consume. She held on to her spoonful of stars. They were her ticket to freedom. Three stars, three wishes.

The fire finally caught hold of the wooden pallets stacked carelessly by the dumpster. The flames whooshed and crackled. Heather turned her back on the fire before it could reach the dumpster. She made it two blocks over when she heard the explosion. That idiot Bob must’ve dumped paint thinner in the trash again. He’d been warned a thousand times. Now he would probably be blamed for the fire. Too bad if an innocent man took the fall for her arson. Bob wasn’t that innocent anyways. Heather laughed maniacally and a passing stranger gave her a wide berth. She stared him straight in the eyes and he nearly tripped over a crack in the sidewalk.

Three blocks later, Heather turned down a side street. She knew the Wheel of Fortune was around here somewhere. The dirty alley had her cringing but she caught the faint outline of a doorway. A spinning disc sat above it. She walked through puddles that she did not want to know the origin of. Finally she stood before the carefully concealed door. The disc spun and spun and spun. It stopped on an image of a griffin and Heather held her breath. The door hissed and opened outwards.

The smell of stale beer wafted out. Heather grabbed the edge of the door and pulled it open wide. She stepped inside and blinked at the bright lights. It was the brightest lit bar she had ever been in. Every surface gleamed in shades of green and gold. Tropical plants seemed to grow from the very walls. It was lush and overwhelming. Light emanated from nowhere and everywhere all at once. She wished she had her sunglasses. Half of the patrons were wearing oversized stunner shades. Heather wondered if it was because of the light or if they were hiding something behind the dark shades. A group of frat boys sat in a booth laughing. Their matching polos were embroidered with the words, Band of Outsiders. Heather steered away from their corner of the room and headed to the bar.

After sitting down at a sleek green stool, she discovered that the stale beer smell was coming from the bartender. He could barely see over the bar. There were several step stools strategically placed so he could pour from the various taps. Heather watched as he got splashed by a local IPA and the mystery smell was solved. The short man didn’t seem to mind. He used a bar towel to wipe himself dry and then stood in front of Heather. “What’ll it be love?”

Heather smiled. “I’ll take a Cosmo.”

The barkeep laughed. “You got it doll face.”

A moment later a pink martini was placed in front of her. Heather took a single star from her pocket and dropped it in the glass. The cosmo bubbled twice and Heather downed the entire thing before the third bubble could surface. The alcohol went straight to her head and she held her breath for the count of four. The first words out of her mouth were: “I wish to be a rising star.”

She sneezed and spit sparkles all over the bar. The barkeep just shrugged and wiped them up with the same dirty bar rag. “Got yourself some wishes I see?”

Heather smiled widely. “Yup. Watch out world, here I come.”

The prompts for this short story:

  1. Wheel of Fortune

  2. The Innocent Man

  3. Rising Star

  4. Band of Outsiders

  5. Spoonful of Stars

  6. Fireworks

  7. Corrugated

Copyright 2020 Klaudia Grady

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