‘Ladies Lottery Redemption’ by Carey Azzara

Helen Darcy races up the steps. Out of breath she pushes open the double doors to the offices where she and her six co-workers occupy cubicles. She’s late for the third time this month. Worried her boss will fire her after twelve years of service she stops to catch her breath. Mercedes Fallon occupies the cubicle next to her and is usually the first one in the office, but she isn’t sitting at her desk sipping coffee. Helen walks down the row of cubicles. When she reaches the end she turns around and says, “Where the hell is everybody?” She says it a little too loud and puts a hand over her mouth. Her supervisor came out of his office hands on his hips eyes squinting, “Exactly the question I have. You’re late, but you’re the only one here today. That is except for Pamela, but she got a phone call just as she was coming through the doors and left without so much as a how-do-you-do. As Helen’s boss ranted. She felt a tingling as if her blood had been cut off to her limbs. She stumbled to her cubicle and picked up the phone and called Gail. The phone rang several times and then went to voicemail. She tried to reach Pamela and then and then Kay with no success. “What the hell’s going on, did they all vanish?” She had a suspicion, but it was tempered by fear.

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