“Penny for Your Thoughts” by Sarah Burg

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Penny stepped out of the elevator onto the top floor of the foggy parking garage. The cold air stung her ears. Her chocolate hair, tied up haphazardly in a bun, offered no warmth. One gloved hand gripped her worn suitcase as she dragged it out of the covered elevator platform. Penny looked out at the rows of cars, then up to the shining moon. “This still isn’t the right floor,” she said, turning back to the elevator. There were four numbers printed on top of it. The number 4 was glowing. “We parked on floor eight.”

“Well, when you find the floor eight button, let me know,” Pixie said.

“We just need to go higher,” Penny said, walking away from elevator. She reached the first row of cars and stopped. The moonlight shone on the tops of the cars and the concrete ground, coating everything in a silver hue. “Somehow.”

“Of course we would manage to park on a floor that doesn’t exist,” Pixie said.

“It’s probably around here somewhere,” Poppy said.

“We can’t see anything from here,” Penny said. She walked down the first row of cars.

“We should just give up and call a taxi,” Pixie said. “If we’re lucky, we’ll get murdered.”

“We still have to drive for an hour to get home,” Penny said. Her heart pounded louder than the rumble of her suitcase. “That puts us going to bed at 4:00 am, which means we will get three hours of sleep and be completely useless tomorrow.”

“I’m sure our boss would understand if we came in late. It wasn’t our fault the plane was delayed,” Poppy said. “We can just take a sick day.”

“And let that bitch get all the credit for our hard work again?” Pixie said. She crossed her arms. “I don’t think so.”

“Can we just focus, girls?” Penny asked. She turned to the right and continued walking. “We have to go higher.”

“Urg! Just thinking about her makes me angry!” Pixie said. She held up a hand and moved it up and down as she talked. “Look at me. I style my hair and wear highlighter. All the guys love me, and I get all the promotions.”

“Don’t make fun of her just because we have a crush on her,” Poppy said, smirking.

Pixie’s face turned red. “We do not have a crush on her!”

“Girls…” Penny said.

Pixie pointed a finger at Poppy. “I hate that stupid bimbo. If I had my way, we would stick a needle in her neck, gift wrap her, and hand-deliver her to those perverts from sanitation.”

“And that’s why we don’t let you have your way,” Penny said, turning the corner. Through the dimly lit fog, she could barely make out something in the distance. “Lights?” she asked, squinting. She walked closer and spotted two signs on the far wall. One sign pointed to the left labeled EXIT. The sign underneath it pointed to a bridge. It was less of a bridge and more of a concrete slab connecting the top of this building to a taller one. Clouds of white fluff poured over the road. The sign read: EXTRA PARKING.

Penny stared at the building. “Go higher…”

Penny took off, her suitcase rumbling behind her. She reached the other side of the bridge and found the elevator.

“Well, I’ll be damned,” Pixie said. There were more numbers on this elevator. Penny stepped in and pressed the eight button. “Great, now we’re getting back at 4:15”

“Will you shut up?” Penny said, watching the number above the door light up as they rose.

“You know you sound really dumb when you say that,” Pixie said.

“I don’t know what you’re talking about,” Penny said. The number 8 lit up and the doors opened. Penny got out immediately and fumbled with her keys.

“Come on, first you’re so lonely that you have to talk to your imaginary friends,” Pixie said. Penny was running now, her eyes scanning over every car. “Then, you’re so pathetic that you tell them to shut up.”

“Shut up,” Penny said. A car beeped. Her car. She ran to it.

“If you really wanted us to shut up, we would,” Poppy said.

Penny reached her car, tears pouring down her face. She opened the door and slid into her seat, shuffling her suitcase into the back.

And she just sat there, alone and without a soul around.

 

Sarah Truly is a content creator, writer, and artist. She has over 50,000 subscribers on YouTube under the name “RubyRed Fire” with her top videos reaching millions of views. She also writes flash fiction and sells commissions. She is currently attending Full Sail University, pursuing a degree in creative writing

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