The slip of paper burned in her pocket.
It had been a record-breaking jackpot. There had been only one winner. It was her. She had double, triple, quadruple-checked the numbers just to make sure. It was real. It had really happened. After years of being teased by her friends for throwing away a sliver of every paycheck, she had won a fortune.
She’d decided to wait until the next morning to claim her winnings, just in case it all turned out to be a dream, and had gone to sleep imagining all the wonderful things she might do with the money. Take her best friends on a trip around the world. Buy a beautiful home with all the luxuries she wanted. Donate to her favorite charities. Sponsor some struggling students.
Then she awoke the next morning to find the world had self-destructed.
Now she was running through a rapidly decaying city under attack as her worst nightmares came true, searching for the friends she knew had to be out there somewhere, ready to fight for the survival of humanity, with a lottery ticket in her pocket that was suddenly as worthless as the paper it was printed on. Before long it would crumble to nothing, just like the government that would have paid her a fortune, just like her fantasies and dreams. It was a relic of an old world that would not survive this war.
Still, somehow, she could not bring herself to throw it away.