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Sandra departed the Round the End pub, walking quickly and not paying attention to where she was going. She wound up on a dead-end street.
“Well, this is a fine mess,” she muttered. “At least it’s quiet, though who knows what savage beast could be lurking in the shadows.”
“No more savage than some of those egotistical douchebags in the pub, am I right, Sandy?”
Sandra jumped and looked around. The speaker had a deep voice with an accent that she guessed was American or Canadian.
“Down here, Hon,” the voice said.
Sandra turned to see a red balloon rising from the grate in the street.
“Oh, you’ve got to be kidding me!” she groaned. “Did one of those blighters slip me a roofie? Am I lying on a dirty bed in some creep’s flat being assaulted while dreaming I’m talking to the bloody Stephen King clown?”
“Pennywise, at your service,” the clown acknowledged. “You’re quite awake, Sandra. Remember what Miss Yadira said. Be on the lookout for red.”
“I doubt she meant a red balloon being held by a murderous clown down a storm drain,” Sandra countered.
“Am I a murderous clown, Sandra, or am I your ticket to your beloved world of dream? You’ll never know if you don’t take the chance. Usually, the Universe gives a seeker just one ticket to ride in a lifetime. I’ve got your ticket, my girl. Will you gratify your need for love and fulfillment of the kind you’ve only imagined to this point, or will you reject my offer and return to your dull life caring for those who are on their way out of this miserable mortal coil?”
“I…I’m sorry,” Sandra giggled nervously, taken aback by the ludicrous nature of the situation. “It’s only that…well, bloodthirsty clowns in storm drains don’t exactly conjure visions of love and everlasting happiness.”
“I’m not suggesting that I’m your true love, my dear. I’m suggesting that I’m the one who’s going to take you to him. The choice is yours. Walk away and go back to the life you have. You’ll be safe, but you’ll always know that you passed up your chance at happiness. Or, take the balloon from me and see what happens next.”
A tear slid down Sandra’s cheek as she saw a vision of herself in the future. She was middle-aged, alone in the same dreary flat where she currently resided. Empty booze bottles were strewn about the place. A razor blade and several bottles of pills sat on the coffee table in front of her.
Sandra Vincent closed her eyes, reached out, and took the red balloon.
“We all float down here, my dear,” she heard the clown’s voice as she drifted away forever.
~Cie, Gem, and Rose~
Today's word: Round
Today's word: Gratify
This 455-word segment is part of a longer piece.
I am not an official participant on the Tuesday Tales blog. I occasionally get inspiration from their word of the day. Feel free to visit and read stories by the official participants.
Tidbit Tuesday is my own creation. If you'd like to participate, leave a link to your work in the comments. This is a very lax prompt. Your share can be pretty much anything.
Pennywise the Clown is the creation of Stephen King.