The original paraphernalia for the lottery had been lost long ago, and the black box now resting on the stool had been put into use even before Old Man Warner, the oldest man in town, was born. Mr. Summers spoke frequently to the villagers about making a new box, but no one liked to upset even as much tradition as was represented by the black box. There was a story that the present box had been made with some pieces of the box that had preceded it, the one that had been constructed when the first people settled down to make a village here. Every year, after the lottery, Mr. Summers began talking again about a new box, but every year the subject was allowed to fade off without anything’s being done. The black box grew shabbier each year: by now it was no longer completely black but splintered badly along one side to show the original wood color, and in some places faded or stained.
“Remember,” Mr. Summers said, “take the slips and keep them folded until each person has taken one. Harry, you help little Dave. ” Mr. Graves took the hand of the little boy, who came willingly with him up to the box. “Take a paper out of the box, Davy,” Mr. Summers said. Davy put his hand into the box and laughed. “Take just one paper. ” Mr. Summers said. “Harry, you hold it for him. ” Mr. Graves took the child’s hand and removed the folded paper from the tight fist and held it while little Dave stood next to him and looked up at him wonderingly.
On his deathbed in the hospital, Jason's father asks that his ashes be spread over the top of his wife's grave. Jason, who came to the city with his father at a young age, remembers little of the town or his mother, but he undertakes the charge. It is an idyllic place, but gradually snips of memory return, until he remembers the significance of the fact that most of the tombstones in the town cemetery, including his mothers, bear the same day and month, one death each year. Caught up in the memory of the lottery he saw as a child, and the one he is trapped in today, escape is difficult and retribution is... Written by Bruce Cameron <dumarest@>